In 2018, the Learn Test Optimize newsletter hit inboxes 47 weeks and included 646 unique links. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking back that the stories from this year’s newsletters.
In this post, we’re counting down the top ten most popular articles (based on unique click-through rates). In these ten stories, you can see several of the key trends in digital politics over the last year, including the emergence of peer-to-peer texting, cutting-edge digital tactics, and political apps.
10. Uploading Voter Files to Facebook: Is It a Good Idea? (Candidate Bootcamp)
“The short answer is, “No.” Uploading voter files to a Facebook custom audience a violation of their Advertising Policies, so don’t do it or risk having your account banned.“
9. Hustle rallies $30M for grassroots texting tool Republicans can’t use (TechCrunch)
“Let’s build this great business for the Democratic party. Let’s let someone else take the Republicans” Lindsay explains. A stealth startup called OpnSesame is doing just that, Lindsay mentions. But he says “we don’t actually see them as competitive. We see them as potential allies that advocate for the power of p2p texting in getting everyone included in our democracy.” Instead, Lindsay sees the potential for Hustle to lose its sense of purpose and drive as it rapidly hires as its biggest threat.
Long-term, Hustle hopes to propel the right side of history by sticking to the left. Lindsay concludes, “You can really just put on your business hat and see this is a good choice.”
8. Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have mastered Instagram Stories (Mashable)
“part of the Beto mystique is that he understood how to use social media as an influencer, and not a politician”
7. A Former Obama Operative Built a New Anti-Republican Attack Machine (Bloomberg)
“Over the past year, backed by mysterious donors, he’s organized what may be the most audacious grass-roots project in the age of Trump. Burton has amassed an army of 16,000 amateur sleuths who, with professional guidance, have spent months ferreting out damaging material on scores of vulnerable Republicans in Congress and state legislatures. “
6. An introduction to the Koch digital media network (OpenSecrets)
“There are almost certainly other Koch network groups that have promoted posts or bought ads on social networks, and there are thousands more ads from Americans for Prosperity alone available to view through the transparency tools (which are publicly available through Facebook, Twitter and Google). On top of that, the tools are seriously limited, so most pre-2018 advertisements are a mystery.”
5. The state of programmatic advertising, in 5 charts (Digiday)
“As spend on marketing analytics rises, so too will companies’ reliance on those insights to make decisions. The number of companies using those analytics to inform business decisions has risen from 30 percent of the time to 42 percent in the past five years, with business-to-consumer marketers using analytics 55 percent of the time.”
4. The GOP’s digital targeting strategy for Arizona special election (Axios)
“They spent only $65,000 on ads reaching an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 voters on the district’s permanent early voter list. Voters on the list saw the ads over 50 times on average over the past month, and more than 18,000 clicked the ads to find their poll location, per Cavalry.”
3. How Vox uses Facebook Groups to build community (Lenfest Institute)
“Both groups eventually became self-sustaining with members sharing and posting regularly, but in the early days it can potentially take some time to build up an audience and a rhythm to the group. So moderators should plan on being active posters early on as the group gets going.”
2. Jeff Johnson: a Case Study (Nativ3.io)
“Digital is the present in political marketing, as it is for big brands and small businesses alike. There is no “future” in digital and inbound marketing principles.
And you need to start if you want to win. It’s not just throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars towards a campaign. It’s building a measurable relationship and asking for “buy in” with every impression you pay for. Jeff Johnson had a winning message. We ensured that voters heard it online, cared about it, and derived actionable next steps from it.”
1. The NRA Has a Secret Weapon to Fight Gun Control: A Powerful App (Bloomberg)
“Democratic technologists say the NRA’s app-based lobbying campaign is the next wave of political organizing and one they’re hoping to emulate…Farber, who worked as a regional director leading a team of field organizers in Michigan for Hillary Clinton in 2016, says it’s noteworthy that an advocacy group such as the NRA is developing organizing tools that Clinton’s presidential camp lacked and using them to influence the legislative process.”