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Smartphone and tablet users helped Obama win

Matt Hamblen | Nov. 9, 2012
Smartphone and tablet users helped both presidential candidates raise funds and support in 2012, while mobile computing contributed directly to President Barack Obama's edge in Tuesday's presidential election.

A message to text-to-donate $10 to Obama's efforts during a Democratic National Convention speech by Obama adviser Jim Messina caused a sudden 61% jump in Obama contributions, Payvia said.

According to Wedd, mobile giving speeds up how quickly contributions can be made, taking just a few seconds, compared to minutes needed to go online on a desktop and type in credit card information.

Younger voters were more inclined to view political tweets and Facebook updates via mobile devices than to watch TV ads, and to quickly retweet or otherwise spread the message, added Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

"An ability to quickly spread the message, whatever that message was, clearly allowed a viral ability to amplify both negative and positive events and news," Gold said. "Many people also posted when they had voted and probably no one wanted to not be tagged as voting."

Payvia, which faces competition for mobile contribution technology from Boku and Zong (purchased by PayPal), predicts that mobile contributions will take on a bigger role in the next presidential election in 2016.

For Facebook and other social media sites, Wedd said there will likely be a "text-to-donate" button of some kind embedded on mobile sites.

Obama had 31 million Facebook followers at one point in the 2012 campaign, while Romney had 11 million. With that in mind, a donate button on those Facebook pages would have made it easier for supporters to send money to the campaigns, Payvia said.

Wedd also predicted that more apps will appear in 2016 that live-stream campaign events. As for the 2020 election, he wondered, "Will we be able vote on our phones?"


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