The science behind Obama's fundraising emails

An email sent from the Obama campaign on Oct. 22. Subject line: "Hey."

If you somehow got through this past election cycle without being spammed by either of the presidential campaigns looking for money, you're in the overwhelming minority.

Democrats found themselves innundated by emails from Barack Obama and other famous supporters, urging them to give, and providing them a simple, one-click way to part with their money. Here's an example:

Subject: Hey


This is in your hands now.

Chip in $375 or more, and let's go win:




Seems pretty simple, huh? The Obama campaign actually spend thousands of man-hours perfecting their pitch, writes Josh Green in his article "The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign Emails" in Bloomberg Businessweek today. Green details the methods used to craft, test, and continuously reinvent the emails.

The secret ingredient in the recipe for fundraising success for Obama was frequency and the willingness to change when one technique became less effective.

"They basically stopped just short of those Internet ads where you click on the flashing monkey," Green laughs.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Log in to post1 Comment

Hi Kai, I enjoy your show but I think you, the rest of the media and the Republican party still don't understand what happened during the last election. Speaking for myself, and also apparently for millions of other supporters, we did not view the Obama campaign emails as spam; quite the contrary we saw them as invitations to poke Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, Donald Trump and the other millionaire supporters of the Romney campaign in the eye. The Obama campaign and its grass roots organization Organizing for America, supported us, ordinary citizens, in regaining our voices in or governance $3.00 at a time. It does my heart good knowing I helped cause the Republican supporters to spend 100s of millions of dollars for nothing. Well not nothing really, they did support a lot of radio and TV stations. I think they would have been better off just paying a few dollars more in taxes - certainly would have been cheaper for them. One more thing, watch the news - we ain't done yet.

With Generous Support From...