Obama Used Mobile Advertising To Target Youth And Voters In Key Battleground States


imageIn the final month leading up to the election, the Obama campaign used mobile advertising to target the youth demographic and voters in key battleground states, according to Quattro Wireless, which helped run the campaign. Called “Vote Early,” the ad campaign was used to encourage voters to cast their ballots early, where polls opened before election day. Banners ran on the operator deck of Boost Mobile, which is known for having a young user base, and included text ads at the bottom of SMS messages sent from ChaCha, the general answer service. Users were given the option of opting-in to those message, by responding “OBAMA” to receive more information on where to vote. Steven Rosenblatt, VP of Quattro’s Ad Sales: “We were brought in by the Obama campaign to come up with a media strategy to get the early vote initiative out in key battleground states…They wanted to go after the youth, which is where Boost came into play, and then they also wanted to reach constituents in key battleground states, and that’s where ChaCha was able to reach people on a one-on-one basis.”

On Democrats Vs. Republicans: Rosenblatt said the Obama campaign members “were pretty savvy…, and they had a pretty good understanding of mobile ad space. We were giving them the right media strategy, but they knew what they are talking about.” He said that they offered the similar services to the McCain camp, but they were not interested. “When you are doing this, you talk to both campaigns, and they chose not to do mobile advertising. I believe they didn’t do it at all.”

On ads served and response rates: Quattro served roughly 2 million-plus impressions over the last month on both Boost and ChaCha. Rosenblatt said average click-thru rates for the entire campaign were 1.1 percent, which “is pretty good. In some states, it got as high as two-plus percent.” The states with the highest click-thru rates were Montana, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada.

If Obama wins, mobile wins: In some respects, if Obama wins, mobile will be considered a more valid medium going forward. Rosenblatt: During this campaign, “the use of online was unprecedented, but four years from now, mobile will be a core component, or a bigger part of any politician’s strategy.”

Photo credit: thanasim25


Jamie Poitra

I heard the same thing Rachael. I think it was an analyst on NPR. The trick is partly what defines Younger voters though. I don't remember the guy talking about that. I'd say I was more interested in this election than previous ones but then I'm older now too. And I guess I'm not indicative anyway since I voted the first year I was able and haven't stopped since.

Cal Morton

As the Clinton's mobile application provider, I looked on with not just a little bit of envy. While his campaign kept to the basics, not really pushing the many of the capabilities of SMS, they got it and used it to gather data consistently – it was a no-brainer to them.While the younger Clinton staffers got mobile, they couldn't get it past the 'old guard' that surrounded Hillary. Cheers


We can learn a lot from how Obama is using mobile marketing to his advantage. He was able to get his message across and was able to reach out to a target demographic with a more personal approach via sms messaging. To top it off, valuable information about the respondents were obtained and recorded for future use. Kudos to Team Obama!


Yes, use of mobile in the presidential campaign benefits as the industry as a whole, however I don't know if the campaign was as productive as it sounds on the surface. I recently heard that there was only a minimal change in the percent of eligible, younger voters turning out for the election (about 2% -I think).

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