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Political Email Update

Political Email Update

Somehow it feels like we’re barely past the last major election, when in fact we’re only seven months away from the next one.  For many reasons, whose analysis I leave to common sense and paid commentators, 2018 may be the most hotly contested and emotionally charged Midterm election cycle in recent history.   

And the email shows it.  We’ve investigated recent political email activity on both sides of the aisle, and the results are illuminating. 

For the Democrats

We looked at domains of three entities representing national party:

  • The Democratic National Committee (Democrats.org)
  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC.org)
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC.org)


The table below provides activity and performance data for each.  All three have large overall email audiences; the two larger of those nearly or greater than four times the size of the smallest.  They are all mailing heavily, especially the DCCC, which supports congressional candidates across the nation, in races where the stakes are highest this year.  Inbox performance is problematic*, and read rates are moderate. 

(*) Note: Political email inbox performance is usually sub-optimal, because political email is exempted from CAN-SPAM regulations, with the consequence that many political emailers are lax in observing subscriber opt-in and other email marketing best practices. 

As reflected in their subject lines, mailing themes are — as expected — heavily anti-administration (e.g., “Want to defy Trump?” “President Obama certainly didn’t do it this way.” “Trump  S.C.R.E.W.E.D”), or focused on gun control (“Stand with students.  Demand action on gun violence.” “2,000,000 signatures for gun safety.”).  Without exception, body content includes strong fund-raising calls-to-action.

Domain Projected Panel Reach Campaigns (Last 30 Days) Inbox % Read %
Democrats.org 17.9M 299 77.4% 15.9%
DCCC.org 20.2M 930 62.0% 13.4%
DSCC.org 4.9M 327 69.5% 14.9%

 

For the Republicans

We looked at six domains representing four key entities:

  • Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (Victory.donaldtrump.com/Team.donaldtrump.com)
  • The Republican National Committee (mchq.com/Action.gop.com)
  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC.org)
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCCvictory.com)


Per the table below, and as a whole, these domains show smaller audiences than their rivals’, and have been deploying far fewer period campaigns.  Inbox performance is mixed:  the first three do better than the Democrats’ domains, while the last three are very weak.  One of them drives only 24% of its emails to its audience’s inboxes.  With the exception of that domain, all the others are driving very respectable read rates, much higher than their rivals’. 

Trump’s email subject lines are themed consistently with his Tweets; e.g., immigration; the Russia investigation (“No Collusion!”); the Wall.  Others announce local visits (e.g.,“President Trump in PA Saturday.”)  Many messages are from Trump surrogates (e.g., Pence).  Body content fund raising is pervasive, usually positioned as initiating or renewing the recipient’s “membership” (e.g., “Membership Status:  Not Renewed.”).  The Trump “campaign” also sends a weekly Newsletter to an audience of almost one million, noting the President’s recent activities and accomplishments, trashing the Democrats, and — yes — asking for (more) money. 

Domain Projected Panel Reach Campaigns (Last 30 Days) Inbox % Read %
Victory.donaldtrump.com 6.8M 69 76.8% 26.4%
Team.donaldtrump.com 3.9M 26 77.9% 19.3%
Campaigns.mchq.com 5.0M 36 76.8% 27.8%
Action.gop.com 2.4M 53 24.4% 6.2%
NRSC.org 2.7M 122 45.1% 22.2%
NRCCvictory.com 2.2M 83 59.2% 20.3%

 

While extensive, this activity is only the tip of the iceberg, compared to emailing by state and local party organizations, and from specific candidates.   We’ll be updating our investigation over the next few months, right through Election Day, and will report on what we find.

In the meantime, stand-by for our upcoming look at Easter.  Happy Spring!