ProPublica has tried to reverse-engineer an Obama fundraising email, different versions of which went to a husband and wife:
Sinker and his wife weren’t the only ones to receive similar but subtly different emails from the Obama campaign. Responding to a call on Twitter from Sinker (and another from us), 190 people from 31 states and Washington, D.C., sent us the messages they received.
A look at those emails shows the campaign sent out at least six distinct versions of the fundraising appeal.
The reasons for the differences remain unclear. (The campaign hasn’t responded to our requests for comment.) It could the campaign testing which phrasing gets the best response. The messages may also be tailored to individual voters based on the campaign’s extensive database of personal information.
Either way, it’s a glimpse into the detailed data work that rarely gets attention but is increasingly central to campaigns.
The cool part? They’ve posted the variants online and tracked the variables among them as best they could, so that we can try to deduce the underlying logic. A fun party game for digital politics nerds, most def.