It was late April of 2015 when junior United States Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, called Revolution Messaging, the digital services agency for progressive campaigns. In two short days, Bernie was going to announce that he was running for President of the United States, and he wanted Revolution Messaging to run his entire digital presence.
Leading a digital presidential campaign required connecting an ecosystem of web and mobile platforms, online stores, fundraising mechanisms, and disparate communication channels in order to inspire a political groundswell.
Very quickly, Revolution Messaging needed to configure a data-driven way to follow each visitor’s journey through multiple Bernie domains and subdomains, and understand their path from visit, to endorsement, to donation, to purchasing merchandise and beyond.
“Mixpanel was instrumental in building a data-driven presidential campaign, helping us understand the full journey of web and mobile visitors, as well as refine the campaign’s messages. With Mixpanel, we discovered insights that helped us reach millions of new voters and drive $61 million fundraising dollars from digital ads alone.” -Keegan Goudiss, Partner and Director of Digital Advertising, Revolution Messaging
Revolution Messaging looked to Mixpanel as their premier choice for cross platform analytics on web and mobile in order to understand the hearts, minds, clicks, and donations of American voters.
“Before Mixpanel, there were some missing pieces when it came to analytics. Shopify didn’t have any way to help us monitor web and paid traffic around the store merchandise, and Google Analytics wasn’t able to help us with cross-device attribution,” explained Keegan Goudiss, Partner and Director of Digital Advertising, Revolution Messaging.
“We really needed Mixpanel because they supported our sophisticated digital initiatives with their advanced reporting,” Keegan said. Using Mixpanel, Revolution Messaging built personalized reports to understand how visitors turn into advocates. And as Americans continued to “feel the Bern,” Revolution Messaging turned data-driven insights into action, creating one of the most momentous progressive political campaigns in recent history.
“Mixpanel quickly became an integral part in connecting every web and mobile platform under one analytics solutions."
Testing and iterating campaign messaging
After diving into the data through Segmentation and completing a series of A/B tests, Revolution Messaging learned that making each digital platform less about Bernie, and more about the message and community, drove higher conversions than focusing on the candidate’s qualifications.
The digital team redirected the language and focus of each property, iterating on issue-based messages like, “I don’t believe anybody working 40 hours a week should live in poverty.”
“Based on the data, we also found that messages supporting civil rights, and Bernie as a champion of them throughout his life, resonated with non-white voters,” Keegan continued.
“We were able to provide this data to the polling team, which inevitably changed their entire approach. We also used this intel to prove ways for TV ads and other media to help improve Bernie’s numbers with people of color. This was a big moment on the campaign, helping us win Michigan and other states later.”
Increasing fundraising and driving sales
“Our biggest challenge was figuring out a way to bridge together three different domains and several subdomains. Once we wrapped Mixpanel around every site, we were able to have a more holistic view on what happens when our visitors go from point A to point E or F.
“Thanks to Mixpanel, we were able to see how everything tied together and pointed back to a specific person.”
“From an advertising perspective, Mixpanel Segmentation and Funnels helped us analyze web and paid traffic, along with helping us understand how our store merchandise ads drove more sales, fundraising dollars, and community support, virtual or otherwise,” Keegan said.
Discovering new supporters by analyzing video content
Over the course of the campaign, Revolution Messaging’s embedded video team created more than 550 unique videos. With Mixpanel, Revolution Messaging was able to analyze not only the website traffic, but also get granular on the video content as well.
“We wanted to be able to track how long they watched, at what point did they stop, what they replayed, and not just whether they played the video or not,” Keegan explained. “With Mixpanel, we found that the longer people watched, the more they were impacted by the message, and the more of an advocate for Bernie they became. We were also able to attribute the traffic source of the video, which we couldn’t have done with other out-of-the-box solutions.”
“Segmentation and Funnels helped us analyze how our store merchandise ads drove more sales, fundraising dollars, and community support."
Connecting the full digital journey of Bernie supporters, from first touch, to donation, to bumper sticker purchase and beyond, gave Revolution Messaging the data they needed to understand and engage with voters down to the very last stretch of the primary race.
Thanks to Mixpanel, the full-scale digital service agency created and launched a data-driven presidential race. Armed with crucial insights that informed the campaign, Revolution Messaging and the digital efforts behind Bernie Sanders 2016 raised $218 million online, ultimately driving more than 12 million votes for Bernie Sanders in the primary election.