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The story behind those pesky political texts you’ve been getting

TEXTS

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — With less than three weeks to go until the Nov. 3 election, political campaigns are taking advantage of text message marketing to try to persuade voters.

Watts Media in Colorado Springs explains the evolution of marketing tactics.

“We went from direct mail to emails and now it’s really text message marketing,” said Taylor Watters, the vice president of Watts Media.

Watters says more people open spam text messages than spam email or mail.

“The open rate on it is about 98% percent,” he said. “Whereas, it’s 20% with email.”

Text message marketing is also inexpensive, Watters says. Those factors combined might be why it seems like people are getting bombarded with political texts suddenly.

Sam Switzer, a resident in Colorado Springs, says he gets political texts for candidates in Colorado and Arizona, where she went to college.

“I get hundreds of them on a weekly basis,” Switzer said. “I get like 10 calls a day and I think they’re super annoying. I don’t think they’re becoming super effective.”

Another Colorado Springs voter, Brandon Bohl, shares the same frustration.

“They suck. They’re annoying,” Bohl said. “I don’t know where they came from. They just started showing up. I’m like, ‘block, block, block.’” 

Watts Media says political campaigns can get your cell phone number a variety of ways, mainly from websites where you enter your personal information voluntarily. In many cases, the fine print permits companies to sell personal data in bulk.

Though text message marketing may be the newest way for campaigns to target voters, UCCS Political Science Professor Josh Dunn doubts the effectiveness.

“There really isn’t a whole lot of evidence that almost any of these things work,” Dunn said. “I think there is evidence that campaigns misallocate a lot of resources.”

Dunn adds that a very small percentage of voters are still undecided just 20 days out from the election.

Watts Media says there’s a good chance you won’t have to worry about annoying political texts in the next election cycle. A new form of marketing will have likely taken over. 

“Everyone starts using it,” said Leah Watters, the president of Watts Media. “And that’s inevitable that it’s going to become not very effective. I think the real question is — the next political season, what’s going to be the new thing then?”

She suggests replying “STOP” to try to opt-out of spam texts. If that doesn’t work, Watters says you can also copy the political text and send it to “7726,” which spells out SPAM.

Colorado Springs / Local News / News / Politics / Video / Your Vote

Lauren Barnas

Comments

4 Comments

  1. Let a person READ about the issue, think on it then decide….we dont need 4 million texts to tell/ ask/inform us of how they think we should vote…frankly IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!!!

    1. Hear! Hear!

      Just more spam, that I have to filter. Bad enough our phone companies won’t stop auto-dialers and illegitimate and illegal phone scams, now we have, “Government Approved SPAM”.

  2. Very nice of our elected officials to exclude political activity from Do Not Call and Do Not Text legislation.

    Worst part for me, in late 2004 I received my current number from Verizon. It took over three years to get creditors for the previous holder of my number, who is a deadbeat, to stop calling. Over the last four years, the DNC offices for Pueblo County, where I have never lived, have been getting my number with her name from vendors, so every day there are multiple messages to Nancy about this candidate or that.
    I am often rude in my response.

  3. I did the no call no text sign up a year ago and I don’t get any unsolicited texts anymore. The stupid calls for my vehicle warranty, or Health insurance…. keep coming through. I have fun sometimes, I own a classic car and so I see how far they will go to “Warranty it”. Get a lot of silence and awkward responses.

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