Last week, SMS connect analyzed the ins and outs of election partisanship, and how text massage marketing can play a role in winning people over. This week, we’re back to analyze what this divisiveness means in mobile devices, and most importantly, how text message marketing for political campaigns can help your campaign in this unique moment in history.
Partisanship in Politics
It’s no secret that, in 2018, we live in an age of divisiveness in America– an age of picking sides, an age with little grey area. News organizations like NPR argue that this point in American history is the most severely partisan we’ve ever seen, partially due to the Trump election, and partially due to mobile devices and social media.
People primarily vote in allegiance to party; in the 2016 presidential election, many average voters opened fire at third-party voters for not picking a major party candidate. What happens in America as an international superpower not only affects its own citizens, but the global economy and political environment as well. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 sparked a collectively ferocious reaction from world leaders, deepening and widening the partisan fracture on a global scale.
Taking a step back though, it’s always been like this. Whether it’s attack ads, political conferences, media endorsements, you name it, each piece of the puzzle has been perfectly cut to create a partisan system. People are bound to divide, if not because of human nature, then because of the old “divide and conquer” tactic. Division is inevitable.
With the addition of mobile devices and social media, people are more divided than ever when it comes to politics. According to American press Institute,
“[Voters from different parties] are equally likely to pay for news, to get news from social media, to seek it out actively rather than passively, and to get news multiple times a day, according to two recent studies by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.”
While people might be consuming media at the same rate, that doesn’t mean they’re consuming the same type of media. People no longer read from the same one paper or watch the same one television new segment. The growth of online platforms creates a vast array of media to consume. The freedom of the internet gives everyone the chance to both consume and publish news tailored to their own narrative and political bias.
Partisanship in Consumption
In order to further analyze how devices contribute to political partisanship, we need to understand that consumerism plays a huge role.
Even in instances of consumerism, we find partisanship. Are you more of a Pepsi lover, or a Coca-Cola fan? Do you sing along to The Beatles, or The Rolling Stones? Do you swear by Subarus, or do you pledge allegiance to a different car manufacturer? One of the most prominent consumer dichotomies of modern day surrounds mobile devices. The cell phone norm means picking between two types of phone: an Android or an iPhone. With laptops, the big debate concerns PCs (personal computers, usually Microsoft) or Macs (created by Apple).
In a capitalistic society, consumerism is closely tied to a citizen’s sense of self. In Buildfire’s mobile app blog, the writer details certain personality traits and habits as they relate to iPhone or Android users. iPhone users tend to be more extroverted and on-trend; they’ll look at push notifications quicker and would consider themselves to be “leaders.” Android users on the other hand, are considered to be more honest and humble, are concerned more about personal functionality rather than multi-platform consistency, and more often than not consider themselves to be followers rather than leaders.
All in all, it’s a self-feeding cycle. People buy products, and even vote for candidates that they feel not only align with their personal beliefs, but inform and validate their decisions and sense of self.
What Does This Mean For Elections?
This voter consumption and self-association of different types of devices will mean that you have to use this information as a means of appealing to potential voters. Remember when we discussed collecting data in our text message marketing for political campaigns blog?
“During the opt in process, be sure to collect information from the voter such as name, zip code, email, demographics, and any other appropriate information relevant to your campaign. By gathering this information right away, your campaign will be able to use the data to its advantage by creating more focused marketing strategy. Learning more about your base will give you the opportunity to personally assess their needs. In the long run, you’ll be able to represent them in the best way possible.”
The types of devices that people use, whether it’s a Mac or PC, or an iPhone or an Android, matters. Next time you advertise using political campaign text messages, collect data about their media usage.
Osxdaily creates a helpful graphic for phone user profiles, which will help your marketing strategy greatly. Here’s a list of a few key points that can relate to your political campaign. Check out the full graphic in their article about phone user profiles.
- Android users are 10% more likely to be men, while iPhone users are 18% more likely to be women.
- Android users skew ages 18-35, while iPhone users are 29% more likely to be above the age of 35.
- Android users are 20% more likely to be conservative, while iPhone users are 17% more likely to be liberal.
- iPhone users are 67% more likely to have an annual household income of $200,000 or more, while Android users are 24% more likely to have an annual household income between $50,000 and $100,000.
- Android users are 29% more likely to prefer saving money, while iPhone users are 26% more likely to spend.
- iPhone users are 11% more likely to say that they have a strong verbal aptitude, while Android users are 18% more likely to have an equal mathematical and verbal aptitude.
- Android users are slightly more likely to briefly listen to a telemarketer’s pitch, while iPhone users are slightly more likely to immediately hang up.
- People with Windows-based op systems tend to be not as well-traveled suburbanite women who are politically in the middle of the road. People who use other, non-mainstream operating systems like Blackberry or palm tend to be well-traveled, liberal city-dwellers.
All of this data will be extremely useful when it comes to that first text message. If you’re reaching out to an iPhone user, it might be smart to appeal to the crowd that is more likely to be liberal, or appeal to the issues of their socioeconomic status. If you’re reaching out to an android user, perhaps appeal more to their strong sense or integrity and logic. All in all, phone type, since it links so heavily to consumerism and identity, can help you figure out how to appeal to said voter.
Even though you’re reaching out to potential voters via mobile phone, consider their laptop computer usage as well. Another consumer divide is between Macintosh or PC (Windows) computer systems. Column Five has another helpful article regarding the usage and demographics of laptop brands, and here are a few key points that could apply to your text message campaign.
- 52% of laptop owners use PC computers, while 25% use Mac and 23% use other brands.
- PC users are 22% more likely to be ages 35-49, while Mac users are 22% more likely to be 18-34.
- 36% of PC people are liberal, while 52% of Mac people are liberal.
- 54% of PC people have a 4-year college degree, compared to 67% of Mac users.
- PC people are 26% more likely to say they prefer to fit in, while Mac people are 13% more likely to say they prefer to be perceived as unique or different.
- 42% of PC people prefer The New York Times over USA Today, compared to 69% of Mac users for The Times.
In our last blog, we questioned whether or not you can use sms to change a voter’s mind. The ultimate conclusion was, well, maybe.
“In conclusion, changing a voter’s mind is a toss up. Sometimes, you can’t change minds; but also, maybe you shouldn’t look at it that way. The main goal is to create a meaningful dialogue that will plant seeds. No voter is going to admit defeat to you in one conversation. They won’t stop arguing to admit that you’ve convinced them. Plant seeds to the supporter and the undecided voter to become involved in your campaign. You can plant seeds in the dissenter, so that your pathos sticks with them, and one day they’ll give you a vote.”
But altogether, partisanship is inescapable. The best thing that you can do is fully educate yourself on the ins and outs of consumerism, and how it relates to the devices you advertise on, and the type of people that use those devices. Intentionality is your best friend in politics. Being intentional about appealing to people on each side of the political and consumer spectrum is the key to winning an election. You just have to do the research.