Could mobile decide the next President?

As SMS and social media grabbed all the attention in the 2008 Presidential Election, could the mobile ad hold the key to 2012 Presidential Election? With Romney and Obama both engaging with mobile in these early stages, further mobile utilization is expected as the race for the Presidency hots up nearer to election date in November.

Tore Erickson, CRO of New York based digital ad agency Clash Group, analyzes how shrewd political use of mobile may hold the key to the White House.

President Obama's expert utilization of social media, e-mail and even SMS marketing saw his 2008 campaign praised as one of the most impressive from any Presidential candidate in recent times. But is he keeping up? It would appear that Republican candidate Mitt Romney is tapping into the most modern and upcoming medium of our times – mobile.

Mobile is a huge market, with $1.67bn being spent on mobile advertising in North America last year alone. But the exciting thing for marketers - and politicians - is the reach and versatility of the medium. At Clash Group, we have access to 200million global mobile users, a quarter of the US population access the web regularly on their cell phones and the US has 208 million 3G subscribers. If the numbers aren't impressive enough, it is what can be done with mobile that makes it such a powerful outlet for advertising and marketing. Ask any seasoned advertiser and they will tell you: targeting is key.

Advertising on mobile allows politicians to target their messages in a way we haven't seen before. Whereas in previous elections, candidates tended to restrain from making bold statements that will appeal to their core voters, but perhaps alienate moderates, now mobile advertising allows candidates to specifically identify the voters who they will look to target by a variety of parameters including location, mobile device and mobile web history.

But politicians beware. In the day and age of SOPA, PIPA and The Privacy Act – there is much talk about privacy. So there is still that stumbling block with some consumers that we call the 'creepy factor'. Some mobile users still aren't 100% comfortable with a phone being able to process their location or being able to process interests, browsing history and other demographic information. Put this into the context of a consumer’s mobile being used for electioneering, and that could become damaging for a politician rather than supportive of the campaign. As public awareness builds, so will the acceptance and therefore effectiveness of location-based and mobile ads.

The other political use of mobile is fund-raising. According to Gartner, mobile transactions hit $172b in the first five months of 2012. The cell phone is a ready-made 'point of transaction' and location-based advertising can target users who are most likely to donate to either political campaign.

Essentially we live in a multi-screen age where you can be watching TV, downloading a podcast and tweeting on your phone all at the same time! As the election gets closer and we start to see the televised debates hit the screen, the shrewd political tactician will be sure to integrate all key media, and mobile certainly falls into that category.

At Clash Group we work with clients to integrate the best of digital advertising into a wider, cross-channel ad campaign that can yield seriously powerful results. TV is still the most heavily-invested medium for politicians and Presidential candidates, but thoughtful use of mobile and digital media to complement TV ads can be the difference between a good campaign, and a great one.

For more information please contact:
Leon Emirali, IBA – PR for Clash Group
Tel: 561.228.1253

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