With only a month left until election day, the 2012 presidential campaign is in full swing. Election spending has already surpassed the billion dollar mark, and it continues to rise as both parties attempt to woo those critical battleground states. And this year, both parties have realized that there’s a new tool available for doing just that: the mobile application.
We’ve written before about how mobile phone adoption is changing the cloud landscape–and this election season, it’s become clear that mobile phone adoption is also having quite an effect on the political landscape. In the same way that social media was an oft-lauded tool in the 2008 election, the 2012 election has been dubbed “The Mobile Election.” Why? Because in 2012:
- 53% of Americans are using smartphones
- Both candidates are spending a hefty chunk of their multi-million dollar advertising budgets on Pandora's mobile application
- Square is being used for campaign fundraising
- Open source Ruby on Rails applications have become tools for online voter registration
(Check out more about mobile apps and the election in our latest infographic here).
A new report from Nielsen states: “Not only is the 2012 smartphone owner downloading more apps, they are increasingly spending more time using them vs. using the mobile web — about 10 percent more than last year.” According to Nielsen, consumers continue to use the same top 5 apps: Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search, and Gmail.
Mobile apps spread well beyond the political sphere and these top five apps. Companies of all sorts in the business, government, and education sectors use mobile apps to reach their communities and customers. At Engine Yard, over 30% of our customers are deploying mobile apps and websites, and these companies are focusing their developers on building great experiences for their customers by taking advantage of the benefits of deploying to the cloud.
Here are a couple of examples:
- [Copious](http://www.copio.us/) built an app for [NW Natural](http://www.nwnatural.com/), the largest independent natural gas utility in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which allows customers to review their energy usage, evaluate higher efficiency options, and get in touch with a contractor to make the changes. This innovative Node.js app provides a unique user experience and is unrivaled in the power industry.
- [PlayMesh](http://www.playmesh.com/) offers popular social games on the iPhone. They've released over 50 Top 25 applications and have over 35 million installs. They focus on quality, innovation, and providing their customers with epic experiences.
The companies above, as well as major brands such as Zappos, Orbitz and LinkedIn, offer mobile apps in order to give their customers the best possible experience, which builds loyalty. They listen to their customers’ feedback and continually iterate to improve their apps with new features and increased performance.
Do you have an innovative mobile app that you use every day? Tell us about it and why it makes your life easier.