We’ve all seen the stats about the explosion of the mobile web.

There are four billion mobile phones in use globally.  One billion of these are smart phones.  By 2014, more people globally will access the Internet from a mobile device than a desktop computer. 

Depending on who you talk to, mobile is either the next big thing or the big thing right now. 

Given all this, I’ve fully expected the 2012 Presidential candidates to break some ground in their use of mobile.  It is still really, really early -  many candidates haven’t launched version one of their full websites yet and mobile is a technology that lends itself to the ground game.  The cool stuff will come later. 

But taking an early look at the state of things, the situation is pretty bleak, with most candidates not even doing the basics well at this point. 

I analyzed the mobile programs of the fourteen candidates who have either formally announced or launched formal exploratory committees.  Here are the key takeaways:

  • Only three of fifteen candidates (Newt Gingrich, Roy Moore and Barack Obama) have a version of their website that is optimized for mobile.  And frankly the Roy Moore mobile site is so poorly done they would have been better off not doing it (screenshot at the bottom of the page).
  • Only four of fifteen candidates (Gary Johnson, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney) offer ways for users to sign up to receive updates via text message
  • Only one candidate (Barack Obama) has built an official campaign app that is available for the iPhone. 
  • Barack Obama is the only candidate deploying all three of these strategies.  No other candidate is using more than one. 
  • On the Republican side I expected the well funded candidate to have much more robust mobile strategies than the long shots.  This isn’t the case at this point, as none of them are really doing that much at this point.

Below is a full table showing all the relevant data, as of June 20, 2011.

Candidate Mobile Optimized Site Text Message Sign Up Mobile App for iPhone
Michelle Bachmann No Yes No*
Herman Cain No No No
Newt Gingrich Yes No No**
Jon Huntsman No No No
Gary Johnson No Yes No
Fred Karger No No No
Andy Martin No No No
Jimmy McMillan No No No**
Roy Moore Yes No No
Barack Obama Yes Yes Yes
Ron Paul No No No**
Tim Pawlenty No No No
Buddy Roemer No No No
Mitt Romney No Yes No**
Rick Santorum No No No

*Michelle Bachmann has an app for her most recent Congressional race.
**Various candidates had apps created for them by supporters or companies seeking to capitalize on their popularity. 

Like I said, it could be too early to be looking at this stuff.  Great things may be on the horizon. 

But at this point it is hard not be underwhelmed by the strategies being deployed by every candidate, with the notable exception of Barack Obama. 

Note: If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments.  I’ll update the table periodically as new candidates announce and new versions of the sites are launched.

Barack Obama Mobile Site

The Obama mobile site is the best of the bunch, by far. 



Roy Moore Mobile Site

This site is even harder to read and weird looking on the phone itself.



Newt Gingrich Mobile Site

A solid start by the Newt folks.


Update: This post was edited on 6/21/2011 to reflect Jon Huntsman’s entry into the race and on 6/27 to reflect a new version of Michelle Bachman’s website..

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.