Zac Moffatt, digital director for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, argues that Obama's digital team is running much the same playbook they did in 2008 -- something he believes will give the Republicans an online edge in 2012.
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"Obama's campaign is still running their Facebook campaign like it's 2008," Moffatt tells Mashable when asked about Obama's reputation as the "social candidate." He compares the Democratic campaign to the historical rise and fall of successful technology companies.
"There's a belief among the mainstream that in [digital politics], when someone is good at one iteration, they'll be good at the next," he says. "If that was the case, Google wouldn't be adapting, and Microsoft and Xerox would still be running things."
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"I always feel that hubris of the Obama campaign is they look down on Republicans because they think we don't understand how digital works."
Where specifically does Moffatt think he has Obama's digital team beat? Online advertising.
"I think our online ad team is superior to theirs," he says. "It's where we pride ourselves as a campaign to be cutting edge. I'd love to sit on a panel with the Obama campaign and talk about online advertising. We think it's one of our greatest strengths, and it's great that our strength matches up with one of the greatest financial drivers this year."
Engagement, Moffatt believes, is also a strong point.
"In every metric that I use to define success, you see massive engagement," he says, adding that Romney himself contributes ideas for tweets, but that the campaign uses @MittRomney sparingly because it's "the most popular thing we have branded online, and we need to be very careful about how we incorporate his voice."
Moffatt says he runs his overall digital strategy on six core tenants, which he can't fully reveal until the campaign is over. But he does say that the Romney campaign is "trying to be politics first before digital first" -- that is, they view digital and social as tools for victory on Election Day, and they don't waste resources on any platforms they don't believe would advance them towards that goal.
"I think that we really put an emphasis on being in line with the campaign," says Moffatt, who cites the campaign's first-person live-tweeting of major Republican National Convention speeches from multiple accounts, including @PaulRyanVP and @MittRomney, as an example.
When asked how the Romney decided which platforms to use, Moffatt notes that it was a "much easier decision" this year than back in 2008.
He adds that he views Google's YouTube platform as a social network alongside Google+.
"With others, you should only participate if you'll be able to give authentic engagement, and you're really going to drive [that engagement]," says Moffatt, who has also recently been active on the photo-heavy Instagram and Pinterest. "Instagram we really like ... and it was a challenge to figure out how to get Mitt on Pinterest, but Ann's been really great about it."
The campaign's Pinterest page belongs to Mitt's wife, Ann Romney, who posts material catering to the site's female-centric audience.
Moffatt also brushes off complaints that the "Mitt's VP" app, which alerted supporters to the campaign's vice-presidential pick but also collected user's personal info, was really just a way to get private data from supporters.
"People are so negative about campaigns and sign-ups," he says. "Most people sign up because they want more information about the campaign."
When pressed about what the Romney campaign would do with all that personal data if it wins in November, Moffatt says "it would be a good problem to have."
"We'll find that out," he says. "There's so many different types of data -- email addresses, text messages, online advertising. It will allow Mitt Romney as president to have a platform to talk to the American people."
Ultimately, Moffatt has plenty of respect for the Obama digital squad, but thinks his team of dozens of digital employees is just as good, if not better. He adds he's confident the team will help propel Romney to victory on Election Day.
"I think the Obama team is very talented; I just think we're at parity," he says. "I think they're used to the 2008 model where nobody was matching them. It's a mistake of the Obama campaign to underestimate us. I hope that's starting to change, but I don't really feel that it is. We're going to do what we need to do to win in November."
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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