Last night, I did something 99% of you have probably haven’t.
The two apps vary greatly, other than their one key similarity: both apps try to gamify the campaign process, awarding users points and secret features for completing various campaign-related activities.
Source: Images are my own screenshots.
My comparison of the two apps:
Release Date (Apple)
|July 2016||August 2016|
Release Date (Android)
|September 2016||August 2016|
# of Installs on Android (via GooglePlay)
|10,000 – 50,000||50,000 – 100,000|
|Interface||Immersive and colourful. Set in the middle of a Clinton campaign office to make users feel as if they’re part of the action.||Bare and full of text (especially capitals and exclamation marks). Simple interface to accommodate older users.|
|Important Notes||According to the Clinton campaign, 1/2 of users never donated to the campaign or attended a campaign event – but the app helped them engage in other ways.||The Trump app collects users’ address, age, gender, voter registration info, and contacts. Many have concerns about the app’s data collection techniques.|
|Examples of How to Get App Points
All images in table taken from Wikimedia.
The winner? Hillary 2016.
Who do the apps target? Are they even important?
Basically, current or potential volunteers. The apps mainly target supporters who are already passionate about the candidate. They nudge supporters who don’t want to volunteer their time in a traditional way (e.g. going door-to-door) to help out the campaign in other ways.
They prey on competitive human instincts by creating scoreboards with the “best” supporters, and game-ify the volunteering process by rewarding users with points from activities like sharing candidate quotes or talking to an undecided friend in a battleground state.
And this is exactly what makes them important. The apps themselves don’t reach a large audience (especially since app downloads in general are on the decline), but the activities embedded within them have the potential to:
- Reach a much wider audience and
- Supply campaign teams with much-needed data about both users and their contact lists (check out my blog post on campaigns and big data here!).
Do you think future political campaigns will place a lot of importance on mobile apps?