Whether you stayed up late election night or woke up the next morning to the results of the 2012 elections, there is one thing we can all agree on about this year’s campaign: 2012 was the year of political big data analytics.
Launching a new era of data analytics in politics, President Obama started collecting data mining scientists for his campaigning team after he won his first term in office. This article by TIME showcases an interesting interview with President Obama’s “top secret” data team.
Their job? Compile, consolidate and analyze voter and donor data. The result? Over $1 billion in funds raised and an extremely personalized, voter-centric campaign. Every piece of the campaign from who to call, which volunteers should be calling, what issues should be discussed and more had extensive analysis behind it. One member of the data team said in TIME about the campaign, “assumptions were rarely left in place without numbers to back them up.”
These numbers came from the analysis of Big Data, where behaviors from past voting registration, databases and digital analytics were logged and noted for patterns. The team worked with the data to reveal patterns in how people vote, donate and influence others. Not to mention the data helped direct the allocation of billions of dollars spent on political advertising to decide which ads should be played where and who should be targeted to solicit the best results.
While the Obama side was thought by some to have played the analytics game better than his rivals, he was not alone in recognizing the value of analytics in the elections. Governor Romney also developed a mobile app that his campaign team of former Apple and Google Analytics employees used to collect useful data among other strategies.
One of the struggles with having all this Big Data, which many businesses can relate with, is consolidating. In business, industries like retail and higher education where multiple departments have different views of the customer—getting a single 360 view of constituents is not an easy task. The same goes for political campaigns. Consolidating data across fundraising, field work, online engagement, advertising, and more can be a headache—which is where data analytics played a pivotal role.
Of course, you couldn’t take a look at the data analytics present in the 2012 political campaigns without examining the hype around social media and its influence. Again, social media is one of the tools that businesses have been hard at work to harness and glean insights from to better engage with customers. The politicians used social media in a similar way. Big Data analytics tools help wade through the millions of impressions on social media for the best effects. This election cycle, Twitter created an interactive political engagement map to sort through the level of engagement candidates had with keywords, geographies and demographics—revealing analytics trends that their team may have uncovered.
Big Data and analytics played a big part in this year’s elections. If you are looking to harness big data for your business, let us know and we’ll see what we can do to help your organization win your customer’s vote.
Fun data geek fact: Networks’ call of @BarackObama reelection spiked #Election2012-related Tweets to 327,453 per minute at 11:19p EST