Mobile Advertising Changes Voters’ Attitudes and Behaviors

February 6, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Men | Youth & Gen X

With Super Tuesday not having settled who will be anointed the Republican and Democratic nominees for US President, mobile advertising may be an effective way for candidates to change voter attitudes and voting behavior, according to a report from Limbo.

A January SMS advertising campaign the firm conducted for Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama delivered over one million SMS impressions across the two campaigns, Limbo said.

“The campaigns scored 53% awareness, in line with other SMS programs, but higher than might be expected from traditional forms of media. The overall impact was considerable, with 28% altering their voting intentions,” said Limbo CMO Rob Lawson

Among the key findings:


  • Change in voting intention:
    • 6% of those surveyed after the campaigns said that the advertising had changed their voting intentions significantly.
    • This was highest for men, at 7%; those aged 35+, at 7%; and African Americans, at 9%.
    • An additional 22% said their intentions had been changed a little.
  • Change in perception of the candidate:
    • 14% said that their perceptions of the candidate was now more positive than before seeing the campaign, with 4% saying it was now more negative – a net 10% increase in positive perception.
    • Barack Obama saw the biggest uplift, with a net gain of 16%.


  • As well as changing impressions of the candidates, the campaigns also functioned to drive greater interaction with the candidate across other paid and non-paid media:
    • 37% paid more attention to news coverage about the candidate.
    • 12% became more aware of other marketing for the candidate.
    • 7% visited the candidate’s website, with a further 24% intending to do so in the future.
    • 5% visited the candidate’s mobile internet site, with a further 9% intending to do so in the future

As SMS is a direct medium, and so prone to be considered intrusive, Limbo also asked recipients of the campaign how happy they were to see the candidates advertised through the service:

  • 56% of people said they were happy to have received the ads.
  • 13% said they would have preferred not to see SMS advertising from political candidates.
  • Men were more comfortable than women with the campaigns.
  • The 25-34-year age bracket was the most happy the campaigns.

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