The 2016 presidential election is drastically different from previous races when it comes to courting young voters, primarily because of the many popular mobile apps out today that didn’t exist four years ago. And millennials, the most frequent users of such apps, are a demographic that can’t be ignored. According to a recent survey by Adecco Staffing, 71 percent of Gen Y and Gen Z students plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Indeed, per comScore, U.S. consumers ages 18 to 34 individually spend 368 minutes per month on mobile instant messaging apps, 20 percent more time than the 305 minutes the average mobile internet user spends.
Check out the marketing features of each app, ranging from Facebook Messenger to Viber, that could come to life in the race for the White House:
Indeed, Snapchat would be a very good vehicle for getting Gen Y’s attention. Here are a few of the tools available for each party’s nominee:
Sponsored geofilters: These ad units let brands offer Snapchat users cool, themed overlays to the images they share. They were widely used in the primaries, chiefly by Bernie Sanders, who bought Get Out the Vote geofilters in Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and other states. Republican Marco Rubio also used them in his bid to take down Trump. And, they were utilized by Clinton to tackle Trump (see above image), while pro-Trump marketers bought the geofilter seen on the right to mock Clinton during her hearing about her use of a private email server.
2. Pokemon Go Though only a few weeks old, Pokemon Go reportedly has as many as 50 million users now. The app employs a smartphone’s GPS to alert users when they’re “in the game”—or when Pokemon characters appear on their phone in augmented reality. The concept entices players to move around their locale and earn points by catching the characters.
Here are a pair of tools it offers political marketers:
Lure modules: L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City, N.Y., told the New York Post that its sales jumped 75 percent in one weekend when it activated this feature. The lure modules encourage patronage because they place virtual Pokemon characters—via the app’s augmented-reality capabilities—in a location. You can buy a dozen of the characters for as little as $10, per the Post article. So once again, Pokemon Go seems like a no-brainer for drawing crowds to campaign events.
Secondly, Deal said, they should provide “a utility to Pokemon Go players.
3. Facebook Messenger There are 1 billion monthly Messenger users with millions upon millions in the U.S. If the GOP or the Democrats can find a way to use this app, they undoubtedly will.
Dave Cotter is the CEO of ReplyYes, a startup that sells vinyl records and has achieved great, early success with bots. Cotter believes the campaigns need to be clever but transparent if they attempt to make a bot game.
In addition, Cotter said, “Users could ask the bot about guns, gay marriage or Saudi Arabia and receive answers about where the candidate stands on topics.”
Kik points: This is a rewards program that lets users earn points by completing activities on Kik such as watching videos or downloading sticker packs. Users can redeem points for digital goods like smileys. The candidates could create campaigns where users watch videos of ads in return for Kik points.
Branded GIFs: In another custom opportunity, the candidates can create branded, shareable GIFs. Kik charges brands based on the audience reach, though marketers do not need an official account to utilize it.
Promotional stickers: There are free and paid sticker packs, but the candidates will most likely use the gratis version—such as the ones Viber mocked up below—since they’re designed to drive awareness. The paid version is for driving revenue.
Public chats: This is the format HuffPost is employing, allowing marketers to communicate directly with Viber users while building an audience on the platform.
Nelson of Viber said, “Both Hillary and Donald would benefit from something like our public chats feature, specifically because it gives them a more direct way to reach voters on a platform where they already spend their time.”
Here is what it offers political marketers:
Stickers: These are giant emojis that Line offers for texting, and they’ve been key to the app’s popularity. They are easily shareable among Line users, and a packet of stickers only costs a few bucks. With great creative, they could be the digital versions of famous campaign buttons such as “I Like Ike.” The stickers could be sold to supplement donations or be given away for free.