How Mobile Apps Kept Us Engaged on Election Night

4 minute read

Team Localytics

Election night in America is always a frantic time, and as election turned into became election week, this year was even more anxiety-inducing. If you were watching cable news, you would’ve noticed the endless “Election Night: Continued” coverage, and perhaps thoughts of Maricopa County buzzed in your brain deep into the night (and for the days to come).

While much of America was glued to the television, apps were doing their part in the election as well. From news apps to social media, apps provided updates, stifled misinformation, and worked hard to keep us informed – some doing so in innovative ways.

Below are four ways apps creatively kept Americans up to date on election results:

iOS 14 Widgets Help the NBC News App Users to Vote with the Lock Screen

Apple introduced Widgets in iOS 14 to create a more personalized iPhone home screen. NBC News updated their iOS app with a customizable iOS 14 widget that made election news, data, and results easily accessible to its users.

This widget allowed users to make a plan to vote, providing localized details on vote by mail rules, same day voter registration, early voting, and ballot tracking. Other options included national polling averages, latest polls, early voting, election news, and election results.

The Guardian Votes for Quality over Quantity with Push Notifications

The Guardian used push notifications, or rather notification, to their advantage. First, they sent a single notification to its users on election night. Instead of delivering separate messages for each update, The Guardian automatically updated the single alert as results rolled in.

This move was brilliant from the news app. With a single message, they avoided overwhelming their users, as some of the updates may have been a change of only a few dozen votes. But at the same time, the message keeps their users updated with to-the-minute live results on their lock screen.

Social Media Apps Fly the Fact-Checking Flag

It would be unfair to highlight just one social media platform for their election efforts. Many major platforms diligently flagged misinformation, took down videos, and removed fake accounts.

Twitter was rated as one of the best performing by MarketWatch. Twitter flagged much of President Trump’s Twitter account as results started pouring in. To properly inform readers, Twitter opted to use a number of pop-up messages that explained their flags. Facebook and Instagram pushed for election information as well. Instagram launched the 2020 US Election Voter Information Center. On Instagram, posts relevant to the election were positioned in tandem with a link to the info center. Additionally, Instagram paused the “recent” tab from hashtag pages to reduce misinformation spread.

PolitiFact Settles the Debate with Their New Mobile App

To empower users with factual information, PolitiFact launched a new app called Settle It! The app is geared toward ending political debates by arming users with the facts. Ever get into a political fight, you make a claim, and the opposing party says, “There’s no evidence” or “Well, I saw a study that said the opposite”? Settle It! aims to solve that woe.

The PolitiFact main app offers a Truth-O-Meter rating system, tracks campaign promises, and offers analytical stories. The Settle It! app builds on that with a powerful search engine that can fact-check personal debates. The app also includes games like the PolitiFact Challenge and a test-your-knowledge game to guess Truth-O-Meter ratings.

And the Winner Is…Great User Experiences!

Apps across verticals did their part to promote civic engagement and participation throughout the election. By keeping their users informed and stopping misinformation in its tracks, mobile apps ensured their users had ample access to election results and trustworthy information.

Positive mobile experiences like these are what sets apps apart from their competition. Whether that’s the election or something else, mobile apps must keep up with consumer demands and provide the best experiences to their users in new and creative ways.

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