Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Mobile media to play pivotal role in 2016 presidential elections

By Dan Hodges

Although it may seem far away, the first presidential primary will be in January 2016. The 2016 elections include the presidential race, the Senate (34 races), gubernatorial (12 races), House (63 races) and the presidential primaries.

The projected political spending in 2016 is estimated at $5.9 billion, up from 2014, which was a record $4.6 billion, according to estimates by Consumers in Motion Group. Digital and mobile spending is typically 10 percent of total spending. We are projecting digital and mobile spending to be in the 14 percent to 18 percent range in 2016.

The growth of smartphones and their increased usage are key factors in the 2016 elections. The ability to reach key voters groups on smartphones will be one of the key factors that will drive digital and mobile spending in 2016.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

1. Market size: Smartphones will become a mass platform in the 2016 presidential elections: Smartphone penetration during the last presidential election was 42 percent in 2012 and is projected to grow to 70 percent by the 2016 presidential election.

2. Engagement: Time spent on mobile phones doubles for the 2016 Presidential Elections: People spent** an average of 1:35 minutes (non-voice) on smartphones during the last presidential elections in 2012. Time spent is expected to more than double to 3 minutes by the 2016 presidential elections.

3. Key voter groups: Smartphone use by key voter groups such as Hispanics, African-Americans and millennial offers candidates a way to target these key voters.

4. Targeting: Pinpoint accuracy in message targeting using the voter file and other databases will help deliver a targeted and potentially impactful message.

5. User experience and user design: According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. The candidate’s digital and mobile site needs to be as engaging as the highest rated five-star app in the app store today.

The 2016 candidates running for president, Senate, governor and the House races should hone their mobile and digital strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time in 2016.

The Obama 2008 campaign was the first to use mobile at scale for the announcement of the selection of Joe Biden for vice president as running mate. The winner in 2016 will be the one who uncovers the power of mobile to persuade.

Dan Hodges is managing director of Consumers in Motion Group, a New York-based strategic consultancy offering business, marketing, and technology services. He is also head of the New York chapter of the Location Based Marketing Association. Reach him at [email protected]