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Mitt Romney drives app downloads, awareness via iAd campaign

Political candidate Mitt Romney is using a new mobile advertising campaign aimed at getting voters to download the politician?s iPhone application that ultimately increase campaign awareness.

In addition to encouraging app downloads, the ads include mobile video as a way to connect with consumers. The mobile ads are running within Apple?s iAd network inside applications such as The Weather Channel.

?Candidates are realizing that they need to connect with consumers where they already are, and the best way to do that is via mobile. The percentage of the American population that owns a smartphone is rapidly increasing and studies have shown that smartphone owners are more likely to vote than the average American,? said Mike Santoro, president of Walker Sands Communications, Chicago.

Mr. Santoro is not affiliated with Mitt Romey?s campaign. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Mitt Romney?s campaign did not respond to press inquiries.

Vote on mobile
The creative for the iAd scrolls and reads, ?What would Mitt Romney do on day one?? 

When users tap on the ads, they are taken to a mobile landing page where a video automatically plays.

For a political candidate, mobile video can be an especially powerful medium to connect with users because of the emotional connection that politics drives itself on.

Additionally, mobile video can be formatted for users in small packages to tailor specific groups of voters.

The ads then encourage consumers to download the With Mitt app. The landing page lets users download the app from inside the unit, which is effective in keeping users in the ad experience for a longer period of time.

The campaign is also banking on users spreading the word about the app with an email feature that lets consumers share the app to friends and family.

Once users download the The With Mitt app, they can upload a picture of themselves with a campaign message and share it via social media and email. After uploading a picture, users can donate to the campaign.

Political connection
With more politicians using digital as a way to connect to voters, mobile is slated to play an increased role in the 2012 elections.

Mobile advertising has broad implications for political marketers because it can be used to reach either a broad group of consumers or a smaller, targeted group using features such as geolocation. This could be a particularly powerful tool for politicians to target consumers in swing states, for example.

Earlier this year, Mitt Romney used targeted ads in Iowa and New Hampshire geared at getting users to volunteer, connect with social media and educate users on the campaign (see story).

Reportedly, the Mitt Romney ads are the first use of the iAd platform by a national political candidate.

?Politicians have been really smart about micro-targeting their messages to effectively reach their audiences. That?s the biggest step, and I have no doubt they will continue to succeed on mobile platforms,? Mr. Santoro said.

?What?s most important with mobile ads is that you make the conversion path mobile-friendly. If you are asking for a campaign donation or trying to collect email addresses, the site your ad points to better be very easy to use on a mobile device. If it?s not, you?ll have several abandonments of the page and waste a fair amount of money,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York