The 2015 general election is mobile and happening on Twitter

By Gordon Macmillan

The 2015 general election is playing out on mobile phones for millions of voters as the battle enters its final few weeks. Many of those voters, particularly 18-34 year olds, are turning to Twitter on their smartphones, which they see as the best place for breaking news about the election, according to recent research.

Almost a third of 18-34 year old monthly Twitter users discover political news stories or information by scrolling through their social media feeds, according to a study commissioned by Twitter and carried out by (@Promise_CSpace). And they don’t only scroll and discover content in their timelines, they also actively search for it: 24% said they searched social media sites for election information.

Significantly, two-thirds of 18-34 year-old UK users said that Twitter is the best place to get breaking election news.

— Promise Communispace (March, 2015)

The number points to the live and real-time strength that Twitter has as a platform for a rich diversity of political news sources, commentators, political parties and candidates, which can be found on Twitter.

UK Twitter users don’t only think it is the best place to find that news they are also very likely to read it. Almost two-thirds (65%) of 18-34 year-olds said that they were likely to read a political story or click a link when they come across it in their Twitter feed.

When they do click many are likely to be using a mobile device. As we’ve previously reported, 80% of UK users access the platform via their mobile device.

This indicates that a focus on mobile appears to be an absolute must for those looking to target potential voters with information about the election. In 2010, only 28% of the UK population had a smartphone. That figure stood at 62% this time last year, according to communications watchdog Ofcom, with predictions that this could rise to as high as 75% of UK adults by 2015.

The @Promise_CSpace research also found that fewer 18-34 year-old Twitter users intend to vote than all Twitter users (74% versus 83%). That suggests there is an opportunity to influence younger voters accessing Twitter on their smartphones with information about the election.