Update, Nov. 17, 2016
Hate to say I called it, but from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders, mobile marketing in presidential elections took a decidedly more mature turn this past election cycle. It wasn’t just social media that starred in this election. When it came to raising millions of dollars and motivating voters to go to the polls, this year’s presidential contenders got that it was all about mobile marketing.
And no wonder: The average American spends two and a half hours on their smartphones accessing the internet versus 52 minutes on their computers.
Now, the reality is more complex than that. People use more than one device — mobile peaks in the early morning and night, desktops rule the daytime, and tablets are the most popular in the evening — and they use each device for specific functions — social media and news-sharing on mobile; more detailed review and engagement on desktops and tablets). But the facts are that we are only going to increase our dependence on mobile and decrease our use of desktops as the days march on.
So no wonder every presidential contender this cycle had some sort of mobile strategy, according to this story from Mobile Marketing Watch. Strikingly, they all lagged behind Bernie Sanders, who adopted one early on. He mobilized constituents through text messages from the beginning and throughout his campaign.
Today’s mobile marketing means a lot more than just optimized websites. It means truly using the full spectrum of available tactics: apps, emails, text messages, push notifications, and geotargeting. And both Clinton and Trump’s campaigns used a combination of both.
Maybe your brand isn’t ready to take on the host of possibilities promised by our smartphone-addicted society. But if current trends are any indication, it must prepare for that if it’s going to keep and convert consumers for the long haul. That means a lot more than just optimizing your website. That means taking advantage of every channel available when it comes to connecting with your target consumers.
So John McCain and Lindsey Graham don’t use email. It’s easy to lob a cheap shot mocking these presidential contenders’ past and present lack of digital savvy. But when it comes to raising billions of dollars online, they get that it’s all about mobile optimization.
If You’re Not Responsive, You’re DOA
According to a 2014 survey, at least a third of web traffic came through mobile devices. And what do you do when you pull up a website on your phone — and it’s not optimized? You move on.
So no wonder Lindsey Graham’s 2016 campaign website is a mobile-optimized paradise full of e-book downloads, embedded YouTube videos, and social-sharing buttons. The same kind of mobile-forward digital awareness can be found on the site of every 2016 contender — even Donald Trump’s.
When did presidential candidates begin to outpace many brands in their adoption of digital technologies? The turning point occurred in 2008, when President Barack Obama managed to raise a staggering $500 million online through his mobile-optimized website and robust social-media strategy.
Whether B2B or B2C, it isn’t that the future of digital is mobile — the today of digital is mobile. Successful content-marketing strategies — like successful campaigns — must be geared toward this fundamental shift in digital behavior first and foremost.
Tapping Customer Conversations (Legally)
McCain may disdain email, but he is a Twitter superstar. And every 2016 candidate had a robust program leveraging the power of social media with multiple social-media accounts, giving him or her the ability to reach advocates within seconds.
At the other end of the spectrum, supporters voice their opinions as vociferously as they like. But in the midst of all of this back and forth, potential donors willingly hand over gobs of information through social media — which savvy campaigns jump all over. If supporters check in through apps at campaign events, candidates can see not only who attended, but can also follow up with targeted messages.
Any organization can leverage similar information to connect to select audiences through paid campaigns at a fraction of the cost of traditional media purchases — with even bigger payoffs. Social media allows hypertargeting all of communications. The best platforms allow legally listening to conversations about brands, industries, and competition — and responding.
Imagine being able to directly communicate with every dissatisfied customer of the competition — now that’s possible. Not only that, it’s possible to communicate only with influencers, limiting conversations to those with the power to spread messages the furthest.
Digital platforms and social media have bridged the gap between voters and politicians for several presidential cycles. These mediums can give brands unique, direct access to the consumer, and a level of influence that traditional media advertising will never offer.
Want to learn more about moving your customers through the buying cycle with mobile and social content? Click here.