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Ted Cruz for President raised $2 million in first 3 days of campaign, nearly 10,000 online donations were $99 or less-USA Today

March 27, 2015

3/27/15, “Ted Cruz raises $2 million for White House bid,” USA Today, Fredreka Schouten

Sen. Ted Cruz, the first major Republican candidate to declare his White House candidacy, raised $2 million during the first three days of his presidential campaign — as his team deployed a mix of complex social-media strategy and behavioral analytics to reach and sway potential donors.

Hours before his announcement speech Monday in Lynchburg, Va., Cruz tweeted the news that he was running for president. That day, he had 5.7 million interactions on Facebook. So far, nearly two-thirds of his fundraising haul has flowed in through the Internet, aided behind the scenes by a team of data scientists who closely monitor social media and digital traffic to determine who’s reading their messages, who’s sharing them and who’s clicking through to his website and taking action.

The communication is two-way. Relying on marketing techniques common in the world of commerce, Cruz’s team has tailored its web advertising to reach seven different “psychographic” clusters — groups of people with similar attitudes, personalities and interests. It has crafted 17 different advertising messages to reach those potential donors.

For instance, pro-gun “traditionalists” saw online banner ads with a grandfather and grandson heading out to hunt, while another targeted people concerned about personal safety with an image of a home break-in. Another talked about “bringing … faith in God back to America” to attract religious conservatives. They all directed people to visit www.tedcruz.org….

The Cruz rollout is the latest sign that the world of data analytics is fast taking root in American politics — as candidates race to build out a digital strategy for a contest that will require each party’s nominee to raise at least $1 billion.

Increasingly, political campaigns are “targeting people based on their hopes, dreams, worries, fears and motivation,” said Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center. However, all the data-crunching in the world would not succeed without Cruz also having a message and persona that appeals to some voters, she said.

“If this were all about high-altitude baking techniques, nothing would come of it,” Rutledge said. “He’s managed to tap into the underdog archetype.”…

Building a network of small donors will be crucial for Cruz, a Senate firebrand who has trailed behind other likely GOP contenders, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, in early polling. Small donors can be tapped repeatedly for contributions until they hit the $2,700 maximum contribution for the primary election.

Cruz’s decision to announce first allowed him to dominate political coverage for several days and quickly attract small donors. Nearly 10,000 of Cruz’s online donations came in amounts of $99 or smaller, according to figures released by his campaign.”…chart from USA Today, via Free Rep.

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