The Mobile (Presidential) Election of 2012

mobile-pres-election-blog-imageAs originally posted on The Mobile Retail Blog

It’s hard to imagine that in a little over two weeks, our country will have elected (or re-elected) a new president. What a difference four years makes. For example, just here at the Ketner Group, the team has definitely gone through its share of changes and life-changing moments – we’ve had one new baby, two marriages, two cross-country moves to California and Texas, and have bought seven new cars!

Other things have changed, too, especially on the technology front. Thinking back to the 2008 election, or what is known as “The Social Media” election, Facebook and Twitter were a key factor into President Obama’s election win.  In fact, it was his campaign team who pioneered the use of social media for organizing, fundraising, and communicating his 2008 White House bid. And boy did it work!

Mobile Leaves its Stamp in 2012

Fast forward four years, and the new technology “golden child” is none other than mobile. We all know that mobile technologies (mobile apps, mobile sites, mobile ads, mobile marketing) are becoming the new normal in our daily lives, and both party campaigns as well as third-party groups are using these technologies as another channel to communicate and promote candidates’ platforms and recent activities or to provide bipartisan information to voters. According to the statistics below, the 2012 Presidential election or “The Mobile Election” is well underway:

  • According to a Pew Research Center study examining the intersection of mobile phones and politics, a significant number of the 731 registered voters contacted use their phones to get information on the election and to post or read political messages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The study also found that 35 percent of smartphone users surveyed use their phones to fact check things they hear about candidates.
  • A recent study conducted by Borrell Associates shows that while candidates still primarily utilize traditional media, campaign ads dropped from 61.9 percent to 57.3 percent for TV since the last election. However, other channels received increased funding across the board, demonstrating a shift towards more diverse multichannel marketing – including mobile. This is particularly apparent in online media, which received six times more funding than it did in 2008.
  • In a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Internet radio provider Stitcher, 60 percent of respondents said they’d cast their vote for the next president through a mobile app or text message if they could do so without fear or fraud. The poll also found that 49 percent of mobile device owners ages 18-34 are using more apps to stay up-to-date on election information than they did in 2008.

The Mobile Showdown

Both campaigns have realized the significant effect that mobile can have on reaching voters, and have been going full-speed ahead, no expenses spared, on making sure their guy is the one to cross the finish line first.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has invested in an all-out mobile advertising campaign, which includes mobile video, to encourage voters to download Mr. Romney’s iPhone app and to “ultimately increase campaign awareness.”  The mobile ads run within Apple’s iAd network inside applications such as The Weather Channel. On the other side of the fence, President Obama’s campaign has released a mobile app for canvassing. The new app will allow supporters of Obama to download a list of names in their neighborhood from the campaign’s central database – instead of having to stop by the local campaign headquarters to obtain the information.

It is very apparent that both candidates have only begun to scratch the surface of the power of mobile, perhaps we are all in for a few more (mobile) surprises in these last few weeks of the election! According to Hafez Adel, director of marketing at ReTargeter, “Politicians can use [mobile apps] to create a direct link with their constituents and provide them with news and information without relying on an intermediary. Mobile apps are also tremendously helpful for coordinating the efforts of countless campaign volunteers, particularly with regards to canvassing and fundraising.”

For those of you who are undecided voters, including me, below are some mobile apps that might be helpful as you decide who is going to lead this crazy, beautiful country of ours!