Mobile May Be Better at Reaching Democrats than Republicans

September 30, 2008

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As the presidential campaigns aim to get out the vote using multichannel marketing like never before, Nielsen Mobile finds that mobile may be a more effective channel for reaching Democrats than Republicans.

Already, much has been said of the Obama campaign’s use of mobile marketing, including a text message to 2.9 million mobile phones announcing Joe Biden as Obama’s VP pick. Moreover, the Obama campaign has a full mobile website containing news, videos and ringtone and wallpaper downloads.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has not been as active in mobile media, but that may make some sense since as of Q2 mobile media was slightly more popular with Democrats than Republicans, Nielsen said:

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  • Overall, 62% of Democrats are data users who use one or more data service on their mobile phone (compared with 55% of Republicans).
  • Democrats are more likely than Republicans to use text messaging (53% compared with 46%).
  • Democrats are more likely to use picture messaging and MMS (27% compared with 21%).
  • Democrats are more likely to use mobile internet, as well (17 % compared with 13%).

Though the differences may not seem great, these variations indicate that advertising across mobile channels tends to be more efficient at reaching Democrats than Republicans.

That’s not to say that conservatives are without a place in mobile media. The right-wing Drudge Report, for example,?attracted a mobile internet audience of 567,000 unique users per month as of July 2008:

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Other political and general news sites are attracting large audiences as the election approaches.

CNN had the most popular general news site on mobile and also the most popular politically focused component as of July 2008. CNN News attracted 4.8 million unique users and CNN Politics attracted 1.2 million unique visitors in July 2008 – up sharply from 364,000 unique visitors a year prior.

Other US mobile-related stats (as of Q2):

  • 43 million US mobile subscribers use mobile internet.
  • 33 million receive text alerts.
  • 32 million use instant messaging.
  • 29 million download wallpapers or screensavers.
  • 4 million mobile subscribers subscribe to and view mobile video, with additional mobile video users accessing video content over mobile websites.

Among mobile video viewers, news channels are consistently among the top channels watched over the phone. Moreover, Nielsen Mobile’s most recent Mobile Video Report estimated that 680,000 mobile video users are interested in seeing more political and government coverage over mobile video, leaving open the opportunity for mobile news video channels to expand their coverage for a welcoming audience.

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