Colin Delany March 28, 2008

How Obama Changed the Dynamics of Online Fundraising

Check out today’s Post for a good look at HOW Barack Obama has raised over $100 million so far this year — spoiler: it wasn’t by accident. Matthew Mosk examines how the campaign has used both Google ads and display ads in online publications ranging from Daily Kos to the Washington Times to bring supporters into the fold:

Obama’s online investment has not come cheap. In January, he spent $768,000 on Web ads, while Clinton spent $171,000 and McCain spent $151,000, campaign finance records show. In February, when Obama spent $2.6 million on ads, Clinton spent $198,000 and McCain spent $111,000.

As Zack Exley notes, the ads are tied to an often-subtle email strategy to build connections with list members over time:

“If you just look at the e-mails and the rhythm — the Obama campaign has not asked for money every time they could have,” Exley said. “They’ve tried to really show people that they’re not just after your money. They’re not treating you like an ATM.”

The result: tens of millions of dollars from small donors, people that the campaign can go back to over and over for money. The takeaways: 1) guess what, the internet can connect a candidate with motivated supporters and donors, 2) if you do it right, you can multiply those rewards with a relatively small investment of time and money. Good tactics matter!

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