Could it be that mobile apps have officially ‘jumped the shark‘? This week, presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s camp announced the launch of the Romney app, titled “Mitt’s VP App“, which will be the first official distribution channel of choice for the news of Mitt’s vice president running mate selection. The Romney app jumped to the top 15 downloads for free apps on the iTunes store.
President Obama also has a new mobile app for his campaign, but it’s not nearly as popular as Mitt Romney’s app, only breaking the top 150 for free apps. The top app right now is of course NBC’s own Olympics app.
Romney’s app doesn’t appear to do much else beyond announcing the vice presidential nominee, but you can share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook to earn exclusive campaign gear. It’s also a good way for Romney’s team to track supporters via email and phone. Obama’s app has a little bit more functionality, allowing users to get involved with events in their area and it serves as a communication channel for other Obama campaign news.
Four years ago, the Obama campaign used text messaging to announce the vice presidential nominee to supporters, and this year the bar appears to have been raised. Still, we think both campaigns could have been better served through using mobile web technology rather than native app platforms. We’ve talked before about using the right tool for the job, and in this case neither campaign appears to be leveraging the native app technology to its fullest extent. They could have gotten creative with technologies like geofencing around certain areas to help gather supporters to campaign events. Or perhaps near field communication (NFC) to redeem rewards for supporters at strategic rally points. They really could have pushed the envelope this campaign season through the use of mobile technology.
What do you think? Have mobile apps jumped the shark?