The Era of Mobile
During the past months the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, has released findings of a study on mobile worldwide penetration. The report states that as of December of 2013, the US, along with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, and South Korea had greater than 100 percent wireless penetration. This means these countries have more iPhones, Androids, and tablets than people.
Mobile broadband penetration has risen to 78.2 percent in the OECD area, making more than three wireless subscriptions for every four inhabitants. Mobile broadband subscriptions in the 34-country area is up 12 percent from previous year due to the growing adoption of smartphones. This probably comes as no surprise to most Americans. In January 2014, Pew Research reported that 90 percent of all Americans have a mobile phone (when you consider tablets and other wireless devices, it’s easy to see how quickly we surpass 100 percent). Recently Comscore released new data that shows the smartphone market penetration at 75.8 percent.
The accelerating penetration of mobile devices across demographics (see Pew Research data) is a huge opportunity for civic engagement, as advocates now can use their phones to take social action by voicing support for a candidate or policy in just a few clicks. This year, thousands of families in Connecticut used their smartphones to take action to support several education measures that will have an impact on more than 10,000 students’ lives.
In a similar case, hundreds in New York used Phone2Action tools to advocate with lawmakers and Governor Cuomo on the importance of enacting “CPR in Schools” legislation, to ensure that every student would have the opportunity to complete a CPR training before he or she graduates. According to the American Heart Association, about 400,000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only about 10 percent of them survive, most likely because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.
Organizations like American Heart Association understand the power of mobile. Here are a few tips for making your social advocacy campaigns mobile-ready:
- Ensure your website and communications are fully accessible on smartphones and tablets. Having beautiful, engaging content isn’t enough if it’s not accessible on mobile.
- Use text messaging as part of your engagement strategy to ensure you reach your supporters. Text message open rate is 98 percent compared to 7-20 percent of email.
- Do not stop with emailing your supporters. People today use their mobile devices for much more than emailing, so send your communications in every way possible: email, text messaging, and through social media. Triangulation is important. Make sure your civic engagement platform facilitates this.
- Use multiple strategies to push your message to elected officials. They are not only checking emails and voicemails, but they are often active on social media. In fact, 100 percent of the US Senate and 97 percent of the House are on Twitter.
Lastly, test, test, test. Mobile advocacy is changing the way citizens engage in policy-making. We live in exciting times where mobile technology is changing the way we behave and interact with one another including with our government.