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Goodstein in TIME – Former Obama Tech Expert: Democrats Need a Competitive Primary

Revolution Messaging founder and former Obama for America External Online Director Scott Goodstein published the following article on

Democrats risk falling behind Republicans on technology

For much of our nation’s history, there have been insiders who aimed to quash competition within political parties. Even today, far too many party elites seem to think uncontested primaries are better. However, competitive primaries force an evolution of organizing models and new technologies that benefits campaigns and the public. The lack of a vibrant primary in 2016 would put Democrats at risk of falling behind Republicans in bringing technology to bear on campaign strategy — and that would be a big loss for both Democrats and the country.

In 2007 and 2008, Barack Obama’s stiffest competition was Hillary Clinton. Competing against Clinton — a household name, a former first lady, and a well-respected senator — as a first-termer with a name like Barack Obama was truly daunting. When you have an uphill battle, you are going to get creative, and that’s what we did. As part of his early campaign team, we had to get a new and different set of voters to the polls. We needed to find younger voters who would be motivated by Obama’s message. And for the first time in a presidential primary, that meant using social media and sending messages directly to voters’ cell phones.

Back then, social media was seen as a fun new fad that kids were playing with — not as an organizing tool. Facebook had been open to non-college students for less than a year, and MySpace was in its prime. With each tool, we were able to target different voting blocks. We used Facebook mostly for reaching college-educated people, college students, and super-local groups. On MySpace we targeted young voters, military families (it was an easy way to communicate between military members overseas and family members back home), Silicon Valley techies, the entertainment industry, and women over 35.

Over the course of the primaries, having multiple digital teams experimenting with new techniques pushed each campaign to become better and evolve more quickly. And, quite frankly, we enjoyed the challenge.

In Iowa, we experimented to see if setting up a statewide MySpace page would return new volunteers. In Nevada, we built rapid-response interactive voice hotlines and text-messaging tools that reinvented the process for dealing with election violations. In South Carolina, we launched two-way text messages on canvasses to see how we could better tether canvassers to their local headquarters. On Super Tuesday, we created separate MySpace and Facebook groups to empower Obama supporters to self-organize, kept in touch with our hard-core base on Twitter, and used the social networking tool Eventful to send surrogates to rallies and build crowds quickly. In the late primaries, we tested new ways to engage young voters by combining offline advertising and point-of-purchase display advertising with text-messaging and toll-free hotlines that provided additional information.

By the time the general election arrived, we were wielding more powerful tools with a known return on investment. We even built our own social media site (MyBO) for supporters and volunteers. All of that work during the primaries put the party in a stronger position for the general election. It also enabled Democratic firms and private-sector partners at social media sites to build more and more robust tools in the years that followed to allow candidates to engage with voters and vice versa. These advancements put Democrats at a serious advantage over the competition — and none of these advances would have been realized if not for a hotly contested primary.

So what will we be missing if the Republicans have a debated primary and the Democrats don’t? Their candidates and campaigns will get better at giving a rehearsed stump speech and answering questions at debates and fish fries. But the lost opportunities would go far beyond that.

There is no question that Republicans are catching up when it comes to putting technology to work on the campaign trail — a competitive Democratic primary would allow us to stay out in front. We can pressure-test the new advances in ad-technology and mobile marketing by experimenting in each state primary with real deadlines and real results. Can hyper-geo-fencing different messages affect turnout on an election day? Can Democratic campaigns better divide their resources between direct-mail universes, walkable precincts and geo-fenced ads in gated-communities that can’t be canvassed? Can connected TV be integrated in a campaign’s field and in fundraising efforts?

While the political results of a candidate who isn’t battle-tested are well known, the lasting effects from failing to evolve our political technology could not only put us at a disadvantage in 2016, but also put Democrats behind for years to come.

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Democratic Consultants

Scott Goodstein shared ten resolutions with Campaigns & Elections magazine. Be sure to check it out as you plan your year ahead.

10 new year’s resolutions for Democratic consultants

It’s soul searching time for Democratic campaign consultants. There are a multitude of lessons to be learned from the past year — lessons that can help us further our dream of social justice, of equality and, sure, of making a few dollars, too.

It’s time for the consultant class to stop using the same tired, old playbook while expecting different outcomes. It’s time for folks to stop pontificating about change and actually start looking inward. To help get next year’s self-improvement started, here’s a list of 10 resolutions.

See more at:

New Statistics: Mobile Ads Surge — Is Your Mobile Strategy Up to Snuff?

Digital advertising has continued to soar in 2014, according to new data released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Most strikingly, mobile ad spending spiked to $5.3 billion in the first half of this year, surpassing banner ads for the first time (by over $1 billion).

This shift comes as 2014 marked the first year in which mobile phones outpaced personal computers as users’ preferred way to access the web.

With marketers across industries recognizing the public’s shift to smartphones and tablets, political campaigns and organizations should be asking themselves if they have the ad campaigns they need in place to reach voters in the final days before November 4th.

Contact us to learn more about how Revolution Messaging is helping campaigns of all sizes and budgets reach their key voters through the latest advances in technology and data analytics.

Read more in Media Life Magazine’s report:

Tales of Online Ad Scarcity Greatly Exaggerated

Campaigns & Elections

Digital consultants: Online ad scarcity a myth
By Sean J. Miller, 10/17/14

The scarcity of online ad inventory has been greatly exaggerated.

That’s what several digital media strategists told C&E in the wake of a New York Times report that prompted a flurry of interest in the availability of Web video ads down the stretch. Sure, some digital real estate has been staked out, the strategists say, but campaigns still have time and space to get their messages up online.

The Times focused on YouTube pre-roll inventory, which it reported is scarce in certain battlegrounds with less than three weeks to go before the 2014 midterms. Moreover, groups likes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lamented that they couldn’t spend money online in some races even if they wanted to. “We learned last week that you could not buy digital ads in New Hampshire and Alaska,” Scott Reed, a strategist for the business group, told the paper.

That’s not exactly true, according to digital media strategist Keegan Goudiss.

“Scarcity helps make people want things more but it’s a little over blown,” says Goudiss, a partner at the Democratic media firm Revolution Messaging. “There’s so much inventory out there — both video and display — there really isn’t a scarcity.”

YouTube spots in Maine are at a premium and a newspaper banner ad on the Anchorage Daily News will come at an inflated cost, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your message out digitally.

“They would have gotten a better price if they had started earlier on, but there’s a ton of inventory out there that people are going to be bidding on,” Goudiss says. “We just have to bid higher.”

Even if YouTube’s pre-roll is booked in your geotarget, Goudiss recommended buying broadcast networks that have separate online streaming channels. “There’s a lot of video networks they can work with,” he says.

Read more at:

6 Digital Questions You Should Ask This Campaign Season

Just a quick reminder to everyone, our team is here to help you with the best ad targeting technology at a cost substantially lower than what you will pay through others. Here are a few key items your team should consider when it comes to digital advertising:

1. Are you reaching people on the right screens?



Do you have a cross-screen strategy to reach older voters on tablets and desktops as well as drop-off voters on their smart phones during their daily commute? Don’t focus all your efforts on that old TV that sits by itself in the corner of the house… all alone…waiting for someone to stop looking at their phone.

2. Are you building your own retargeting audience?

RevMsg can provide you a free snippet of code to put on your website that will allow you to build a retargeting channel of your supporters.

3. Have you bought digital early to save money?

Learn the lessons from campaigns passed! In 2012, the Romney campaign outspent President Obama on digital advertising in Ohio. The Romney folks were bidding too much money on bad inventory…while the Obama team bought out the best inventory with minimum guarantees at a much lower price point! So buy early for better location, better effectiveness at lower costs!

4. Are you timing your digital ads to impact early voters?

As early voting becomes more universally adopted each election cycle, make sure you are prepared and this key portion of the electorate sees your ads before they vote. We can help your campaign get an edge by voter-file-targeting early voters, drop-off voters and young voters with Smart Cookies before they even request an absentee ballot!

5. Have you cookie matched your membership list and voter file data?



Revolution Messaging is offering our current clients free membership data matches with our Smart Cookie technology. Our team belongs to the national voter file co-op and is honored to make the Democratic voter file available to progressive campaigns. What was enormously sophisticated and expensive a few years ago can now be executed to assist down-ballot races spend their money more effectively and turn out the right voters! For more information about our Smart Cookie technology, click here.

6. Are you using the latest in mobile fencing?




Revolution Messaging pioneered mobile advertising for campaigns last election cycle. Don’t be caught spending your mobile advertising dollars with an agency learning the ropes this election. We offer the latest in hyper-local mobile fencing targeting and device ID matching. Don’t know what that means? Let us show you the strength of our mobile advertising technology first hand!

Next steps to building your unique cross-screen plan:
We are happy to discuss these strategies with you and your campaigns to help you reach your target audience in the most efficient and way possible. African-Americans, Latinos, working-women, and young voters all are early adopters of the full use of their mobile phones, tablets and Smart TV devices, if these are your key targets…let’s talk soon.

To speak with someone about digital advertising, call us at 202-299-9393.

RevMsg vs Ben & Jerry’s – The Full Scoop!

This is a tale of two progressive organizations that had a disagreement, but all ended well as cooler heads prevailed!

It started a long time ago in a Twitter universe far, far away…Ben & Jerry’s promotional truck tweeted they were on their way to visit Washington D.C. to deliver free ice cream to people who tweeted at them!

Despite our friendly requests, Ben & Jerry’s passed us by in favor of delivering free ice cream to the likes of Daniel Snyder and his cohorts outside the District. It was the distinct pain of betrayal, and possibly low blood sugar, which led us to produce and tweet our attack ad to the creators of the original attack ad. (Reference: Ben & Jerry’s battled Pillsbury over distribution rights and created “What’s the Doughboy Afraid Of?” campaign.)

Realizing the error of their ways, Ben & Jerry’s was quick to reconcile, delivering two days later. Little did we know, the incident would not go unnoticed by the local press.

The political world also made note of the spat. Even USA Today got in on the fun.

Word traveled quickly and soon the headquarters in Vermont knew the power of rapid response creativity and mixing social media with online videos!

The tale was told to the good people of Burlington and throughout the Green Mountain state.

Sometimes it takes a little doing to get your hands on some tasty frozen refreshment. The same goes for peace. While the ice cream was sweet, two sides coming together to show DC how to lift a spoon, a cup or a cone to help reconcile differences is even sweeter! To show our gratitude for Ben & Jerry’s coming to the table to work out our differences, we released this positive ad.

Social Media Becomes More Shareable

Soon after Google+ was released back in the fall of 2011, Facebook quickly realized that it needed to evolve in order to keep pace with other increasingly visual social networking platforms. To keep up, Facebook developed and rolled-out Timeline to replace profiles, while making sure images and videos became more prominent in a user’s news feed.

Now Facebook has a new trend to keep up with as more of Facebook’s user base is shifting to mobile. But be assured, Facebook has a response to this too. Facebook launched a new mobile site today, as well as iOS and Android app redesigns, which make images three times larger on your screen! With the rise of social networks, such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, social media is becoming more visual. And it’s your time to take advantage of this.

Now is the time to use more compelling images to motivate and engage your supporters and members on social networks. With Facebook’s new mobile experience (which will hopefully load faster as more phones utilize 4G), people will be extending their browsing time on their cell phone and your message will catch their eye with captivating images and videos as it now takes up their full screen.

Check out before and after pictures of Facebook’s new mobile design here.

The Fight Continues…

Our team here at Revolution Messaging is continuing our fight to end political text message spam and people are paying attention. The Associated Press put out an article by Beth Fouhy helping spread our message to the Federal Communications Commission – they must end this practice now before it becomes even more costly for voters. We are asking everyone to visit to sign our petition and end political text spam today.

But that’s not all we have going on here – our tasty friend Sammy has something to say as well: No matter how tasty, a bribe is still a bribe. Atlantic writer Nancy Scola wrote an article on our talking sandwich video questioning presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan’s motives for handing out free sandwiches during the Wisconsin GOP primary.

What will we come out with next? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Text Spam Comes in All Forms

As citizens are increasingly learning, text message spam comes in all forms and is directed at many targets, from voters to buyers. Political campaigns recently were caught spamming voters and grabbed the attention of the national press. But, how about the more traditional targeting of consumers?

In a period of economic recession, many shoppers are looking for bargains. A new text fraud by Walmart impostors are apparently looking to bank off of such consumers, offering fake $1,000 Walmart gift cards. The text, informing recipients of their supposed gift card, is embedded with a link to a website prompting the entry of personal information.

Such a message is called smishing, similar to phishing, only geared to texts, or SMS,” The Business Journal states.

These tactics attempt to trick consumers into thinking they are submitting their information to a reputable source. Scam Book claims the Walmart Text Spam Group is “false advertising.”

The Walmart scam text has spread rapidly, nationwide. WebProNews writes, “The BBB is fielding complaints all across the U.S. concerning the texts.”

Even one of our own employees received a text message from the Walmart spammers this morning:


Walmart has released a statement, explaining that the texts are not from them. Nonetheless, we all need to be weary of text fraud. The Better Business Bureau says, “smartphones are very convenient but consumers should be careful about using them – When you use a device for everything from banking to personal photo albums, the last thing you want is someone gaining access to the phone.”

Worst of all, unsolicited text message spam is charging citizens in times of economic adversity, the opposite of a promise of $1,000. It will be important to sustain pressure on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to properly regulate the growing problem. Revolution Messaging is working towards this goal – check out for more information.


In Case You Missed It…

Have you joined the Revolution in calling out to the Federal Communications Commission to stop political text spam and end the latest type of voter suppression? In case you missed it, this week three different news outlets covered our petition asking the FCC to clarify its regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits groups from sending text messages to your cell phone without an opt-in or opt-out feature. This regulation applies to all SMS campaigns and the FCC must make this clear and enforce it. Learn more about our efforts and how you can help avoid a costly election for voters with these three great sources:

Vote 4 Me!!: The political consultants who want to send you unsolicited text messages, and the man who is fighting to stop them. By Sasha Issenberg

Slate tells the story of the fight to end political text spam from the beginning when Revolution Messaging founder Scott Goodstein investigated a spam claim from 2009 to today and the current petition filed with the FCC.

Political junk mail you pay for: It’s not exactly free speech when the recipients have to pay for unwanted political text messages, a relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash now. wrote an editorial comparing unsolicited text messages, which costs voters money each time they are sent an unwanted text, to other forms of negative campaign ads, which voters aren’t charged for. The editorial understands the need for immediate action to end this “relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash before it spreads.”

School for scandal National News in Canada interviewed Revolution Messaging Founder Scott Goodstein and Founder of Shaun Dakin on the dangers of using technology for voter suppression activities.