Tuesday, August 25, 2015

'Mobile' Electorate Is 2016 Game-Changer

The growth of mobile phone ownership is a definite game-changer for 2016 election campaigns, advises a recent Politico blog post by Dylan Byers. With 64% of Americans owning a smartphone and 68% of smartphone users following breaking news events, campaigns have both unprecedented messaging opportunities and tougher challenges. How different this election will be from 2012 is clear when Byers points out that only four years ago, during the 2012 election primaries, just 35% of Americans owned a smartphone! Per a quote from Chris Lehane, Democratic strategist and Clinton White House alum: "Mobile is going to be the big thing in 2016. It is what any sophisticated campaign will be trying to figure out and then maximize in 2016--and all the campaigns from both parties will be in a race to see who can figure out the tools to best lever the power of mobile." However, mobile clearly will be a double-edged sword in 2016 politics. On the one hand, big data targeting will be even more powerful when applied to mobile ads, donations and campaign organizing. Campaigns can use mobile to deliver quick, direct, highly targeted messages and videos to voters. On the other hand, campaigns and causes also face the risk of live streaming video gaffes, uncontrolled access by "citizen reporters," and more fast and furious partisan attacks. To that point, Byers first cites remarks by former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer that mobile will create greater engagement opportunities with millennials. He then quotes Henry Blodget, editor and CEO of Business Insider, as he warns: "Gaffes will blow up even faster. Partisan rooting will be even quicker and more intense. Anonymous trolls will swarm Twitter and brand any news story that is not highly flattering to their team as 'bias.'" For good or ill, political observers agreed, mobile has fundamentally changed 2016 political strategy. See the complete post: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/04/the-mobile-election-how-smartphones-will-change-the-204855.html

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