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Political Email Marketing: How the Candidates Have Used Email So Far

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The following post was written by John Landsman, Director, Strategy and Analytics at eDataSource and originally posted on the eDataSource blog.

eDataSource is the leading global provider of independent competitive intelligence for email marketing, social media and ecommerce activity, based on real-time monitoring of 1 million active consumer inboxes and nearly 10,000 brands.

The Democratic National Convention

With both 2016 party conventions now history, each side claimed victory and launched road trips. Clinton and running mate Kaine took a honeymoon bus tour of Trump-leaning districts in rustbelt Pennsylvania and Ohio. Trump went to Colorado, vowing “No more Mr. Nice Guy.” Here’s how their email programs looked last week.

It was Hillary’s convention, and she also owned the email channel, as she has all along. During convention week, Clinton deployed 316 email campaigns, achieving an 87% inbox deliverability, and read rates averaging 14.1%. The email cadence was furious. Individuals subscribing to Clinton email could have received as many as six messages on each of Monday and Thursday, five on Wednesday, four on Tuesday and two on Friday.

Many of these emails came from Hillary, but some also came “from” highly visible surrogates; i.e., (in order received) Bill Clinton, Michele Obama, Madeleine Albright, Cory Booker, Tim Kaine and Barack Obama. Most of these messages deployed to relatively large audiences (four of the six to 1.9M or more), and all but Kaine’s drove read rates exceeding 20%.

By comparison, Trump’s email program reflected its usual light volume — and mostly heavy hand. After resting its own domains for spam issues, the campaign reintroduced limited activity to one of those domains last week, with twenty campaigns to small audiences, showing an inbox deliverability of 93% and an average read rate of 21.6%.

These were mostly directed at driving attendance at Trump rallies in specific locations; e.g., “Join Gov. Mike Pence in Lima, OH on Friday” (Inbox = 94%; Read rate = 21.7%); “Join us in Davenport, IA on Thursday” (Inbox = 96%; Read rate = 16.0%). The more widely deployed email campaigns were still being sent through the gopteam.gop domain (see last week’s Nugget), with 23 campaigns showing an inbox deliverability of only 36%, and an average read rate of 12.0%.

Examples:

The Vice Presidential Picks: In addition to their respective convention week email coverage, it’s interesting to examine how the two campaigns used email to support their VP selection announcements.

In announcing the Pence selection, Trump sent a single email on July 15th, (Subj. – “My VP”) to just under 2M people. Its inbox deliverablilty was 26%, and it drove a 12.3% read rate. This message contained a single short paragraph naming Pence as the selection, followed by the Trump mantra, “Together we will make America great again.”

Clinton’s roll-out of the Keane selection began on July 23rd, with a message from Hillary (Subj. “Welcome Tim Keane.”) to 10.1M people, with a 14.6% read rate. The message included glowing detail on Keane’s background and qualities.

Also on July 23rd, similar messages were sent to comparably sized audiences from Barack Obama (15.6% read rate) and Tim Keane himself (22.1% read rate). Joe Biden sent another such message on July 24th (14.5% read rate). These messages achieved an inbox deliverability in the range of 87-94%.

For better or worse, we can look forward to three more months of this amusement. We’ll keep watching.

See the original post on the presidential emails during the Democratic National Convention here.

The Republican National Convention

The good people of Cleveland have said farewell to their horde of Republican visitors, and are beginning the clean-up. We wanted to share what we’ve seen of Presidential campaign email during this past week. As always, it’s interesting . . . and instructive.

Clinton — continuing the intense mailing cadence we’ve seen all along — pushed out 218 email campaigns during the Republican convention week, to an email list that we now project to be almost 21 million people. Campaign email subscribers were receiving at least daily emails from the Campaign (including some from Chelsea), and these produced read rates which averaged 12%, with an inbox deliverability of 88%.

Virtually all of these campaigns noted various alarming statements or developments coming out of Cleveland, and then urgently requested money. Example: On Wednesday, 7/20, the campaign sent an email with the subject line, “What’s happening at the RNC is not normal and not acceptable.” It went to almost nine million people, with an inbox deliverability of almost 91%, and a read rate of almost 12%.

Trump, by comparison, mailed very lightly during its convention week: 35 campaigns, coming variously from Donald himself, as well as offspring Ivanka, Donald, Jr., and Eric. These too were all fundraisers. As we’ve reported, Trump’s email operations have long been problematic. His campaign email list remains underdeveloped — totaling now about 2 million people in two Trump email domains — and the recent spam rates from those domains have been astronomical: 60-80% in some cases. In consequence, the ISP’s may have blocked Trump’s email, because we’ve seen greatly reduced volumes from those domains.

However, Trump has changed email horses, as it were. More recent Trump emails we’re seeing originate from a Republican Party domain (gopteam.gop — estimated list size 2 million), and some even from a Chris Christie domain (chrischristie.com — estimated list size 73,000). Between them they’re producing read rates in the 13-15% range, but spam rates continue to be extremely high (>60%).

Examples: On Thursday evening, 7/21, Trump sent an email to 325,000 people, with the subject line, “I will be your next President.” It had a spam rate of 77%, and a read rate of 8%. On Friday, 7/22, he mailed again, to an audience of one million, with the subject line, “Our time to Make America Great Again.” This message produced a spam rate of nearly 60%, and a read rate of just over 8%.

Cruz? What’s he doing here, you ask? Ted may not be the Republican nominee, but — as his Convention speech suggests — he’s not convinced. His (former) campaign email audience (1.1 million) still receives periodic email from Ted. On Wednesday, 7/20, he sent an email to 345,000 (Subj. “TONIGHT at 8:45 pm CT — don’t miss my speech!”), and then another the next day, post-speech, to 721,000 (Subj. “Our fight goes on”). Inbox deliverability — 88-89%. Read rates: 13-19%.

There’ll be more of this, for sure.

See the original post on the presidential emails during the Republican convention here.

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