Big Data Eats Everything


No doubt you heard about how the Obama campaign ran circles around Romney in the digital sphere last year. There was another less-sexy, sub-category of the digital advantage, which was that the Obama campaign used data-crunching to get a lot more ads per dollar than the Romney campaign. This was all really cool if you were an Obama supporter. But it was also part of the way Big Data in transforming political advertising and advertising in general. Put another way, how Big Data and new technologies migrate from Silicon Valley to high stakes political campaigns and then out into the broader political messaging world.

So here’s an example of two players from the Obama reelection campaign now teaming up to sell that Big Data mojo to others. My friend Marc Andreesen says ‘software is eating the world.’ But Big Data is too. It’s a partnership between GMMB and Civis Analytics (which is basically the Obama 2012 data team in its post-election incarnation), both of which were embedded parts of the digital messaging part of the Obama campaign.

But here’s the part I want to show you. It’s a tool for efficiently targeting political messages. But even if you’re not running a campaign or an ad buyer it’s a fascinating map of the country. The link is here. It shows the entire country broken up not by political jurisdictions but by media markets and how much it costs to advertise in each – both on television and in digital. But you can also cross reference these prices against concentrations of Hispanic or African-American voters or concentrations of Romney or Obama voters. Revealingly, since this data set is focused on 2014, you can also see how many people are uninsured in a particular media market. I’m pretty sure they have a million other breakdowns of the demography. But this is just a teaser basically to show the power of the tool. In any case, pretty fascinating even with these breakdowns.

Take a look.