Trump is causing a political app boom, data shows

Anyone surprised by this? The growth of politically focused mobile apps has been booming since November, with the top five political apps receiving a combined 300,000 downloads across iOS and Android over the past three months, according to new data from App Annie. This list doesn’t include news media applications, but rather those apps aimed at helping people find their representatives, track their votes, figure out their own political leanings and more.

App Annie says the following apps all saw above 5,000 downloads from November through January: Countable, Voter, We the People, VoteSpotter and Congress. Countable topped the list, accounting for more than 200,000 downloads on its own.

Countable, VoteSpotter and Congress are all focused on helping users find their reps, track their votes and get in touch. We the People is aimed more at political discussion, and Voter was used more heavily prior to the election to help people figure out which politicians best represent their values.


Above: Countable, which saw 200,000 downloads over past three months

To put these new numbers in perspective, during the three months prior to the time frame App Annie analyzed (August-October 2016), this group of apps saw roughly one-third of the downloads they saw from the month of the election through January. The data is proof of the increase in civic engagement since President Trump took office.

Meanwhile, some (non-news) political apps saw less than 5,000 downloads during this same time. This includes Presidential Election & Electoral College Map, Boycott Trump Biz, Voice Political Advocacy, Brigade, One World Politics, iCitizen, Show of Hands and Vote 1 – Political Spectrum.

Notably, that list also includes VoteStand — the crowdsourced voter fraud app that President Trump tweeted about in January. VoteStand’s founder claimed 3 million people voted illegally in November, but hasn’t provided any proof. He certainly couldn’t pull any relevant data from his VoteStand app, as it has only around 10,000 total downloads to date.

Perhaps it’s not surprising the app didn’t grow after the election, given its purpose. But it’s interesting that Trump supporters didn’t even want to look at whatever supposed voter fraud the app had collected, following its presidential shout out.

Of course, politically focused apps are not the only ones being impacted by U.S. users’ increased interest in politics under the new administration. News apps are gaining more users, as well.

In particular, CNN — the media organization Trump famously declared mid-press conference as “fake news” — has benefited from the increased attention. App Annie says from November through January, it gained more than 1.5 million new downloads across iOS and Google Play.

In addition to CNN, The New York Times — which Trump liked to call “failing” — said it has seen subscriptions increase tenfold since Election Day, and now sees around 125 million to 130 million monthly users.

What’s that old adage? Any press is good press? Apparently, that holds true for Trump’s favorite “fake news” sites, too… Well, that and the fact that millions trust their reporting.