Kate Kaye reports on the role data-driven digital advertising will play in the Virginia gubernatorial election.

The Virginia election is “extremely important since it’s the first competitive statewide since the 2012 elections where commercial audience targeting methods played such a large role. The Presidentials have granted permission to statewide candidates to employ these tactics,” said Peter Pasi, VP of Collective Political, the political wing of Collective, an independent, non-partisan data-driven multi-screen ad company that works with corporate and political clients. Mr. Pasi has handled digital advertising for several Republican campaigns in the past, and is a Virginia resident.

"I think anytime you have an opportunity to carry out a statewide campaign, you’d be smart to learn from that campaign and apply those learnings to the next," added Mr. Pasi.

Campaigns & Elections’ Dave Nyczepir reviews Texas’ decision to allow Texas candidates to allow political donations via SMS in Campaign Insider.

“I think the most interesting use of text-to-donate will be in reaching large numbers of ‘unwired’ potential donors or those who aren’t effectively reachable by phone, mail, or email,” says Peter Pasi, executive VP of eMotive. “These voters—many of whom are African-Americans and Latinos who use their smartphone as their primary device to connect to the web—are also heavy users of SMS.  It presents a unique opportunity for Republicans to generate new donors from—and start building real connections into this community.”

Roll Call’s Abby Livingston reports on Texas’ approval of a proposal to allow Texas candidates and political committees to receive donations via text message.

“Texas is now the third state to approve text donations to statewide political campaigns,” Washington-based GOP digital strategist Peter Pasi said. “I think momentum is building to approve it in more [states] in advance of the 2014 elections. What’s significant is that this request came from a Republican group, thus dispelling the notion that text-to-donate is the exclusive realm of Democrats.”

Politico’s Emily Schultheis explores the role digital advertising will play in the off-year elections in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia.

Some of these states are particularly well-suited to digital advertising on a basic level. Because many of their voters live in expensive media markets that encompass other states, campaigns can avoid spending as much money on expensive TV ads viewed in large numbers by people who won’t even vote. In New Jersey, the two major media markets are New York and Philadelphia; in Virginia, the Washington media market encompasses most of the vote-rich northern part of the state.

GOP consultant Peter Pasi said in the past, campaigns had to bite the bullet and spend big in those media markets anyway. Digital, he said, is a more cost-effective option.

“That had been the paradigm for a long time — it was just the way you do it,” Pasi added. “Now, people have options.”

Both for the state-level campaigns and the mayoral races, mobile will be an even bigger opportunity for campaigns to reach urban voters who otherwise might not be watching much live TV.

“It’s going to come down to, how does Northern Virginia vote and how do you reach some busy, non-TV-watching, tech-savvy people [there]?” Pasi said. “I think the answer there is mobile.”



Politico’s Steve Friess looks at the future of the GOP’s tech infrastructure.

“Obama For America gets the headline, but the VAN did the work behind the scenes on a lot of local races that made the difference,” said Peter Pasi, digital consultant for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. “It’s a culture and an infrastructure that we need.”

“We absolutely need a centralized database to record voter history, online and offline interactions and add in demographic data that we can learn from and social data we can learn from to get a full picture of our customers,” Pasi said.

TechNews Daily’s Katie Gatto reports on Facebook’s use of user-supplied data for marketing purposes.


Peter Pasi, executive vice president at Emotive LLC, an Arlington, Va.-based firm that focuses on digital outreach for political campaigns, says Facebook has quite a bit.

"Facebook is the largest opt-in community of individuals in the world, and boasts unparalleled reach," Pasi said. "In English, that means it’s likely the largest database of people ever built, and contains more personal data than any other source."

"Online marketers look at signals," Pasi said. "Did someone visit a snowboarding vacation site, or put a new snowboarding jacket in their online shopping cart and not buy it? Have they been searching for snowboarding equipment? These are the types of things that signal a marketer that a consumer is interested in, or intent on, making a purchase."

Campaigns and Elections’ Dave Nyczepir looks at five emails from the presidential campaigns and asks five digital experts for their critiques.

Peter Pasi: The EMILY’s List and Democrat emails had compelling subject lines. If you received those in your inbox, you’d want to read them. Unfortunately, the Romney emails had subject lines which are aspirational but didn’t encourage action.

I believe all successful fundraising appeals have four things in common: 1) A statement of a challenge, which can be partially solved by the recipient’s donation; 2) An enemy or “devil” that needs to be defeated; 3) A compelling story which succinctly explains the challenge and the donor’s role in addressing it; 4) A deadline by which a prospective donor must respond.

Politico’s Steve Friess looks at political websites which have not been updated or even created in advance of this year’s and next year’s elections.

The explanation from many of these online derelicts is that there’s no point spending money during off years tending to their nonofficial online personae.

“It just does not make economical sense to have someone continually updating a campaign website while we were not campaigning,” Risch’s son and campaign spokesman, Jason Risch, said in an email. “The Senator does currently have a Facebook page and a few YouTube pages. As in 2008, when the campaign is in full swing, we will have a more extensive media presence, social and traditional.”

Experts say that’s not a good excuse. “It’s a huge missed opportunity,” said Peter Pasi, a Republican online campaign strategist who worked for Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. “It is kind of inexcusable to not have something going on at all times.”   

Bamini Chakraborty of Fox News reports on the GOP’s efforts to modernize their digital infrastructure.

“The Romney spokespeople talked a big game and didn’t play it,” said Peter Pasi, a search specialist who worked on Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. “The Obama people played a big game and didn’t talk about it.”

Politico’s Emily Schultheis writes about the GOP’s efforts to build on the learnings gained from the Romney digital campaign and how it might affect the party’s efforts moving forward.

How to build on those contacts in the next four years and continue to grow the party’s e-mail database is the central question facing the GOP now, said veteran GOP strategist Peter Pasi, a partner at Emotive who did digital work for Rick Santorum’s campaign, among others, and who attended Thursday’s meeting.

“How can we build structures … that can last 10 years and be refined no matter who’s the chairman and who’s in the White House?” he told POLITICO earlier this week, adding that the party needs to build “a digital infrastructure that reflects kind of a movement and a belief, not just [one] campaign.”

“If you were a [Tim] Pawlenty person or a [Ron] Paul person or … some of the best minds were divided among those campaigns,” Pasi said, whereas for Democrats wanting to do digital, working for “Obama’s [campaign] is kind of like going to Oxford. So you’ll want to do that.”