A Year With The Labour Party

Feb 21, 2014, by Matthew McGregor, Political Director

One of the clients Blue State Digital is proudest to work with is the Labour Party. We’re coming up on a year together. Many of our staff are members or supporters, and as a company with deep progressive roots, it’s a natural fit.

We’re even prouder after the banner week the party’s digital team had. A one-minute video, based on the popular Facebook look-back videos, has now been seen by 630,000 people – four times more than any YouTube video the party has ever produced. It garnered widespread media coverage, and has broken well beyond the Westminster bubble.

The team who made it should feel rightly proud of their work – and there’s more great stuff to come.

But away from the headlines, the hard yards of building a strong digital programme are going on.

One of the big goals the team has is to generate new volunteers to take action offline – to turn off their computers and knock on doors. Labour’s digital campaign asks people to volunteer – and the digital team's engrained culture of constant testing and optimization has been focused on how they are asking. The results: a year of tactical improvements, combined with renewed grassroots energy in the party, have culminated in triple the response rates for volunteer asks.

That’s one small example of hundreds of tweaks, tests and innovations that Labour’s digital team has made in the past few months. Labour’s leadership took the bold decision to invest in a larger digital team early in the election cycle, and they are being rewarded with a larger email list, more volunteer leads, increased online donations, and broader engagement with videos like the one above.

Ultimately, progressive parties have to invest in digital programmes that build and harness the enthusiasm of supporters. Conservative parties, whether it’s the Tories, the Republicans or their allies across the world, will have more money to buy their way to clicks, likes, and process stories about their supposed innovation. But progressive parties win when they do it the hard way: by doing the work to get ordinary people involved.

As we saw with Obama in 2008 and 2012, and as Labour is demonstrating today, a people-powered programme can deliver extraordinary results. We’re proud to be working alongside them in the run up to the election in May 2015.

Matthew McGregor is the Political Director in our New York office.