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The Science Behind the Obama Campaign E-Mails

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As reported by Joshua Greene on November 29, 2012 in Bloomberg Businessweek, Obama raised a large amount of the $690 million donated online via fundraising e-mails. The success of the fundraising e-mails may be related to the rigorous experimentation and testing by Obama’s in-house team of digital analytics. As reported in the Greene article, the team of analysts did extensive A-B testing on such components of an e-mail as the subject line, the message and the formatting. Their approach to the science of marketing involved testing as many as 18 e-mail drafts, with the most effective subject lines being those with a casual tone that you might actually receive from a friend. Other outcomes of the A-B testing were somewhat counterintuitive: plain-text links vs. pretty ‘Donate’ buttons, ugly yellow highlighting, and mild profanity were the most effective in raising money.

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