Romney Digital Director: TV May Be Losing Its Campaign Edge

Romney digital director knocks Obama site, reveals some of Romney's secret sauce

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In 2008, Barack Obama became the president "elected by Twitter."

Four years later, his campaign's digital machine is a thing of legend, melding real-time data mining with social networks and raising millions of dollars through online marketing.

On Monday, we got a glimpse into the digital strategy on the opposite side of the fence, when 32-year-old Zac Moffatt, Romney's digital head, spoke at the start of TechPresident's annual Personal Democracy Forum.

In his speech, Moffatt indicated that TV ads may be becoming less important to the campaign than YouTube videos.

He estimated that 30 percent of Romney's target audience are "off-the-grid-ers," meaning they haven't watched live TV other than sports in the last week.

While Romney may have some catching up to do — Obama's YouTube channel has more than double Romney's YouTube subscribers — Romney's recent "Fine?" YouTube video pulled in a healthy 72,000 views.

Moffatt acknowledged the digital advantage President Obama has over Romney. But he also knocked some of the ways the incumbent's campaign was doing things, saying he "falls asleep" scrolling through Obama's mobile campaign site.

(Romney's mobile site requires almost no scrolling at all.)

Moffatt said that he believes mobile could be the "zero moment of truth" in the campaign.

A popular marketing term, the "zero moment of truth" refers to that critical decision moment when a person chooses to either pick up a product and buy it, or move on and purchase another brand.

The digital director also addressed last month's AMERCIA debacle, in which a Romney mobile app misspelled the word "America".

Moffatt called it "frustrating to watch," saying that "Twitter compounds the snark factor."

Zeke Miller, a politics reporter for Buzzfeed, noted that while Moffatt was joined by Chairman of the College Republican National Committee Alex Schriver at the forum, there was no representation by the Obama For America team.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.