Mobile Shortcodes Key to Presidential Communications

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Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton encourage supporters at their events and visitors to their campaign sites to sign up to receive text messages

“Trump uses a short code – 88022 - that is memorable, Hillary's is harder to remember – 27246 – which spells out HRCGO,” said Cliff Holsenbeck, director of product management, Common Short Code Registry, iconectiv.

Through a strategic partnership with CTIA, iconectiv is the exclusive provider of the Common Short Codes Registry service for the U.S. market.

Trump asks you to text Trump to the shortcode whereas Clinton asks for your phone number and email address in order to begin receiving messages.

“That initial interaction is a little bit different,” Holsenbeck said “But once you've signed up to receive mobile messaging, the interaction is pretty consistent.”

President Obama brought text messaging to the fore in 2012 by featuring the short code on his podium, something Trump specifically has emulated.  In 2012, a Pew Internet report found 5% of registered votes with a smartphone signed up to receive messages from the candidates, a number that has surely increased in 2016.

“The big thing about shortcodes is they're trusted and secure,” Holsenbeck said. “Any short code campaigns that are launched go through a vetting process through the wireless carriers, which weeds out a lot of potential unwanted material.”

He added: there are specific guidelines about messaging needing to be opt-in and restrictions on when you can send texts.

Most importantly, there's no app to download and even those still without smartphones can receive the messages.

Holsenbeck has signed up for messages from both campaigns since August. He said he's only received no more than 6 messages from Clinton and receives at least three a week from Trump, and sometimes one a day leading up to important events.

Why do candidates send text messages? For the high open rates: 99% open rates and 87% open within three minutes, according to Holsenbeck.

Holsenbeck said that both candidates are actively soliciting funding via short-codes, but neither is using mobile-direct giving, you can't text an amount and immediately donate. Instead it diverts to a user a mobile friendly site.

This is likely because running the donations on their own sites gives them even more opportunities to collect data from users.

Holsenbeck said that while the campaigns were using text messaging well, he said his advice is there's always more ways to promote their use of the short codes.

“There's no better way to get your message across than short code,” said Holsenbeck.


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