Mobile Technology Is Extremely Relevant For Voters and Campaigners- The Romney and Obama App Stories

Yes, Romney and Obama have mobile apps for their 2012 election campaigns. It is a sign of the times and firmly establishes the fact that mobile technology is as relevant as TV, press conferences, newspapers, and magazines.

Mobile Technology Is Now Extremely Relevant For Voters

These campaign apps demonstrate the increased prominence and necessity of smartphones and mobile technology in most voters’ lives.

According to Nielsen projections, one in two mobile phone users has a smartphone in America. Data released from Google found that 83 percent of mobile phone owners are registered voters.

The Romney App

Romney’s app, “Mitt’s VP,” is available on iPhones and Android phones. The app lets users share their thoughts on the news via Facebook or Twitter, as well as providing a direct link to the Romney campaign’s donations page.

Users who sign up are asked for their name, email address, phone number, address and zip code. All of this data makes it direct back to Romney's database.

The Romney campaign relies on sophisticated analysis by powerful computers of thousands of commercially available, expensive databases that are lawfully bought and sold behind the scenes by corporations, including details about credit accounts, families and children, voter registrations, charitable contributions, property tax records and survey responses.

Romney's mega-database combines marketing data with what is known in this specialized industry as psychographic information about Americans.

The Romney team market the app as a way for users to be the first to get Romney news through instantaneous alerts.

The Obama App

The Obama's app targets aiding the campaigns’ mobilization and grassroots organization. The Obama app is available for iPhone and Android devices.

Obama's app presents blog posts and ways to donate. Users learn how to sign up as volunteers or canvassers in their area.

The app tracks a user’s location and shows them any Obama events that are coming up in their area. Location data is very useful for their campaign database.

The app also provides hotlines information for voters that are experiencing any voting issues. This information is very important, especially for Omaba's African American and Latino communities. Voter suppression through new voter ID laws in some states is a very real threat to Obama's success.

Obama's campaign employs its own form of data analysis to lure potential supporters, via Facebook and Twitter, and then fine-tune messages for supporters and potential donors.

Mobile Media Marketing Techniques In Action

Social Sharing – Romney’s app lets supporters choose from a number of “With Mitt” templates to upload a photo from their phones and quickly share it on Twitter or Facebook. Both Obama's and Romney's apps rolled out ways for supporters to view upcoming events in their area, finding friends attending events, and view tweets from attendees in real time.   

Hyperlocal Targeting – The Obama campaign's app links a Google map to the neighbourhood that volunteers are working. The map contains blue flags at homes with doors to be knocked on, including scripts for approaching individual voters.

Micro Geo-Targeting – During a concert in Grant Park in Chicago, the Romney team placed display ads on smartphones of those concertgoers and others in the vicinity.

Real-Time Data – Both camps have apps to enable volunteers to report real-time activities and interactions with voters. Vote Builder, the Democratic voter database, ensures that no two volunteers are sent to the same address. If a volunteer wants to canvass an area, he or she can click to download a list of households in the general radius. Phones prompt volunteers to report back their results so that future campaign communications can be targeted.

Engagement – Romney’s campaign team captured valuable information from supporters who downloaded the Romney app. The app promised to inform supporters “first” about the vice president pick. Unfortunately, the news media beat them to it, but the app enabled Romney’s team to push notifications throughout the campaign to supporters’ smartphones.

Simple Mobile Payments – The Obama team developed a new program called “Quick Donate.” Supporters can contribute repeat donations by sending the number of dollars they want to donate via a text message.