Mobile is playing an increasingly central role in educating voters about the 2016 election. A recent survey of 1,500 mobile users conducted by Opera MediaWorks examined how they interact with political news on their devices.
In an election that's generated strong interest in the candidates, positive or negative, it is no surprise one in three respondents say they keep up with political news “all the time.” News apps probably play a significant part in the election-year engagement, offering push notifications for breaking news and giving users immediate access to information.
A further 22% of respondents keep up with political news “often,” with 12% doing so “not so often,” per the survey.
When it comes to learning about the candidates, mobile plays a less important role. Only about 22% of respondents prefer to do research on candidates on their phone. Desktop falls in the same range, with 23% of respondents picking that medium for candidate research.
The ubiquitous preference among mobile users for researching and learning about presidential candidates is watching debates and speeches, most easily accessible on TV, with 55% of respondents finding that method most appealing.
When only asking millennials, however, the preference for researching on mobile nears 50%.
Digital advertising has a surprisingly strong influence on mobile users, with 40% of respondents saying that digital and social media ads have an impact on their opinions about a candidate. If well targeted and effectively messaged, we can assume those ads have mostly positive impacts.
A strong three out of four respondents find value in localized campaigns, touting the effectiveness of geo-fenced and geo-located ads.
Many Americans will be on edge come November 8, and thumbs will surely be in constant swipe-down mode, refreshing the latest numbers.
Opera MediaWorks’ survey found that 64% of respondents said they would check news apps for updates on election night.
Let's just hope that doesn’t result in too many cracked screens later in the evening.