Obama Used Conversion Rate Optimization to Win

3 min. read | Last updated: June 1st, 2016

Let me start by giving a big ‘Congratulations!’ to Barack Obama and his team for what will likely be the biggest win of their lives. They ran an incredibly disciplined and sophisticated campaign and deserved to win.

A great web marketing campaign

There have already been plenty of articles written about how well Obama’s online marketing campaign was planned and executed. If you haven’t heard, check out here, here, here, here, here and here.

Obama raised an incredible amount of money in $30 and $50 increments and Conversion Rate Optimization played a part in maximizing their fundraising.

Barack Obama Uses Conversion Rate Optimization

If you’ve donated to the Obama campaign, you probably didn’t realize that you were included in a Conversion Rate Optimization test. Obama’s web team used Google Website Optimizer to run multivariate tests on various pages of their site. There are still fragments of code showing that tests were run on the home page and others and there’s one still running today on the Donation page.

The current Donations page test

As of Nov 6, 2008, there is still a test running on Obama’s Donations page at barackobama.com. Although we don’t know the results yet, let’s take a look at what they’re testing.

The red dashed line below shows the placement of the SwapBox on the page (ie. the Website Optimizer section script).

SwapBox Placement

Donation page SwapBox location
Red dash shows SwapBox placement

As far as I can tell, there are four variations being tested. There may be more, but these are the only ones I was able to pull up:

Control: Dual dark-blue t-shirt
One of the variations must have been the original or ‘Control’ page. I don’t know which one was the original so I’ve chosen an arbitrary variation to act as the Control.

Donation offer Control
Offer test Control

Variation A: Single t-shirt

Donation offer Variation A
Offer test Variation A

Variation B: Modified lighter blue

Donation offer Variation B
Offer test Variation B

Variation C: Dual white t-shirts

Donation offer Variation C
Offer test Variation C

Variation D: No offer

Donation offer Variation D
Offer test Variation D

Which offer variation works best?

I don’t know. But I would very much like to find out.

While this is clearly a simple offer test, it appears that there was a lot more testing going on. There are certainly other things on the page I would have tested. As soon as I can find some more info I’ll share it here.

Do you know Joe Rospars, Obama’s online director?

We hope to interview the people responsible for the online marketing plan and learn more about the types of tests they were running. If you can introduce me, please email chris dot goward at widerfunnel.

Edit: We now have information about a home page test that the Obama campaign was running.

Learn more about outsourced Conversion Rate Optimization services to optimize your website:


Chris Goward

Founder & CEO

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