Setting goals and establishing key performance metrics are needed to win a campaign, although it just one small part of the recipe for success. A campaign is essentially selling an individual rather than an inanimate produce which makes a pure 100% metrics driven campaign impossible.
That said, an influx of information in this age of “big data” is disrupting campaigns from heuristics driven to numbers driven. The lessons from 2008 and 2012 campaign cycles showcase the importance of understanding how to collect, analyze, and apply data properly, which can make or break on the effectiveness of deploying campaign resources.
Some of the most important metrics to a campaign fall into the following categories. Note that these metrics are high-level and suggestions. Metrics will vary according to the size and scope of a campaign.
Not all metrics are created equal.
What you measure is what you care about. Therefore, it is critical to choose metrics that are meaningful and are not superfluous. Otherwise, you will put yourself down a path of wasting resources. OnStartups describes a good metric has having the following qualities
- Comparable – The metric can be used to compare performance across time and user type.
- Understandable – The metric should be easy to understand its impact.
- A ratio or rate – These are easy to compare across time and are generally efficiency oriented.
- Behavior Changing – You know what to do differently based on the performance of the metric. It matters if the metric goes or up or goes down.
Chris Wilson, data lead for Rubio 2016, and Alex Lundry, data lead for Jeb 2016, discussed the impact of data in the 2016 Presidential Primary.
Surprisingly, campaigns often forget the most important goal of them all: votes. It will serve as the foundation for the rest of strategic initiatives and metrics set in place upon the start of your campaign. Without this metric, it will be hard to ask critical questions like, “How much voter fall-off can we anticipate?” or “What is the expected turnout in the upcoming election?”
- Intent to vote percentages
- Approval rating
- Registration rate percentages
- Partisan affiliation percentages
Tracking and managing donors is another key component to running a successful campaign, unless you’re a trillionaire (very unlikely) funding the entire operation. With the rise of social media, it has never been easier to connect to potential and existing donors today. Additionally, rolling up your sleeves and hitting the phones should not be forgotten under any circumstance. Setting clear daily and monthly goals will help keep your campaign on track for success. Be sure not to get caught up in vanity metrics such as pledge donors, as everyone knows nothing confirms success quite like having cash on hand and in the bank.
- Conversion rate for online fundraising
- Conversion rate to signup
- Email conversion rate to action
Like political fundraising, the field can be measured in many different ways. The goal here should be simple: Asses how well your campaign is doing in at the district and precinct level. If you are properly collecting this data, it will enable your team to ask key questions for better insight into how well (or how poorly) your team is performing with boots on the ground. Staffing is underrated yet should be ignored when it comes to being effective in this area, you will need volunteers on the ground spending time with voter contacts. Again, it is critical that you assess your goals throughout the week
- Coverage on voter contact and registration rate
- Contact Rate
- Lead Rate
- Close Rate
One of the easiest ways to understand the power of metrics is measuring performance of paid advertising.