Mobile app usage and the 2012 campaign

A study shows that about one in four mobile apps are used exactly once when downloaded.  Aside from downloader disappointment after the first use, it likely also signifies that free apps are easy to forget.

This study is well-timed for any 2012 campaigns that are paying attention.  Several Republican primary challengers will probably join the President in having branded campaign apps, and success or failure of those apps will be measured by raw download figures.  That won’t help anyone get elected, though.

As campaigns begin their planning stages, they would be smart to think about which supporters would download an app and use it multiple times.  This is a group who, in the past, I’ve called the “App Class” – high-level volunteers and grassroots activists, rather than most voters.  Any significant mental and financial resources that go into app building should be allocated trying to figure out how to make these folks more effective.  And instead of determining success based on how many times an app is downloaded, campaigns should look at the metrics that result in votes – in other words, how many phone calls were made through the app, or how many doors were knocked on using voter lists accessed through the app.

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