We all know that if you don’t ask a girl for her number then your chances of getting it (or her) are 0. Still politicians are determined to act like the shy nerd in a John Hughes movie when it comes to contacting their app users. Just ask for my contact info already!!! I would ask for your number, but it’s kinda public knowledge (politicians are so easy).
The vast majority of political apps do not ask for user’s contact information and, as a voter, this feels like a slap in the face. It says that the app is purely one-way and informational instead of interactive and that’s the line of thinking that makes political mobile apps so horrible.
There are three major benefits of getting contact info through apps:
1. It’s a very quick way to greatly expand your supporters
2. It’s super easy to get to know who your potential constituents are
3. It helps contact and keep in touch with interested voters
Some politicians are well aware of the benefits- apps by The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Michele Bachmann’s campaign for Congress have a separate sign-up page for users. These politicians realize they only can gain from asking for user’s contact info, while other apps that don’t ask, like The Democrats or NH Primary 2012, are missing out on the benefits (in voters, supporters, volunteers, donations, etc.). Politicians who are not up for re-election can still use contact info obtained through their apps to keep in touch with their constituents-here’s looking at your app, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
Here are the facts. Over 90% of apps reviewed by Kinvey do NOT ask for user’s contact information. That’s 100% of Democrat apps and 82% of Republican apps that are missing out. Of the 9% of apps that do ask for contact info of their users, 1/3 REQUIRE your contact info or you to create an account to even access the app. Politicians are only familiar with the two extremes then-either ignoring you or demanding your number. So my apologies to UniTEA-I probably will not be using your app to meet up with local Tea Party members, but I was curious as to what was locked inside your app.
Here’s why political apps don’t ask for your contact info – They need to store it in a backend, and Building and Operating a Backend Sucks. The stakes are high in a close, heated election where every vote counts. A rich mobile app could give a campaign just enough of an edge to win a race. To do that, political mobile apps need to get user contact info and store it in a backend, so that campaigns can use that information to learn about their constituents.