POLITICO Europe Uses Mobile Wallet for Brexit Coverage

With a historic vote looming, POLITICO Europe wanted to ensure users knew the latest on all things Brexit. See how POLITICO Europe made headlines of its own, with its innovative EU Referendum Tracker mobile wallet pass for Apple Wallet, powered by our mobile wallet marketing solution, Urban Airship Reach.

The Client

POLITICO is a political-journalism organization that covers politics and policy in the United States. Its European edition — a joint venture of Axel Springer SE and POLITICO — features similar topics and news regarding the European Union and is regarded as the most-read media outlet by EU policy influencers.

POLITICO Europe does not have its own app yet, but they wanted to reach more readers with timely EU referendum coverage, which made mobile a top priority. They also wanted to leverage this historic vote to acquire new readers and provide a highly innovative way for people to stay up-to-date on the latest polls, key stories and voting results.

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The Strategy

Together with global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi, POLITICO chose to use Urban Airship Reach to power its interactive EU Referendum Tracker for Apple Wallet. The mobile wallet project took less than three weeks to implement, market and deploy, with Digitas LBi creating the middleware to pull in real-time polling and voting results.

By using Urban Airship's mobile wallet marketing solution Reach, POLITICO was able to alert users to important new developments and dynamically update mobile wallet pass content.


The front of the wallet pass featured visuals displaying polling results leading up to the June 23rd vote, and then it switched to graphically display voting results as they came in from the 382 voting districts.

The back of the pass provided summaries and links to POLITICO’s latest news coverage, becoming an important source of traffic for its website, as well as a convenient central repository for quick access to the latest stories.

The Results

The EU Referendum Tracker wallet pass was highly successful in helping POLITICO acquire new users, as nearly three quarters (74%) of registered pass users were new to the organization’s database.

In the single week from launch to the vote, POLITICO surpassed its goal of gaining 10,000 passholders.

In terms of geographic breakdown, the highest volume (34%) were from the United Kingdom, but passholders hailed from 104 countries.

“This is a great way for us to test pushing key moments of a major story to our audience so that they can keep track without having to go look for news,” said Kate Day, POLITICO’s editorial director of growth.

“It was an eye-catching addition to our already robust Brexit coverage and something distinctive that we could offer that others didn’t — continuous updates for those closely following one of the year’s most significant political and policy debates.”

To promote and distribute the pass, POLITICO linked to a landing page in its newsletter, sent emails to existing readers and launched social promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

Direct download links were also available, bypassing registration. Facebook proved to be the most successful social channel for gaining new registrants, with a 4-5% clickthrough rate.

Once the voting results were in, the POLITICO team continued to leverage the mobile wallet pass to share new stories with passholders. Leading up to the vote, the team was sending up to four notifications a day with many more updates made to the pass itself.

Users reacted favorably to this innovative use of mobile wallet, with social reactions ranging from “neat!” to “fascinating!” and “absolutely genius!”

In fact, one week after the vote, 81% of the passes were still installed on users’ phones.

“Everyone on the team thought it was a super-innovative solution for our use case, as we could alert people [via change notifications] to updates around this dedicated event,” said Gabriel Brotman, executive director of strategy, marketing and growth at POLITICO.

“Not only did we meet our goal, we acquired many new users who reacted very positively to our mobile wallet initiative.”

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