Everyone thought he couldn’t come back. But he did. Against all the odds.
Trump turned the election on its head using the power of Facebook’s small data. (If you’re not familiar with the term small data it’s just jargon for the tiny little bits of information Facebook collects every day from billions of people all over the world.)
Here’s a couple of ways Trump’s digital team used Facebook small data to win the election.
Positive messages to people they knew would listen
First, they uploaded their database of followers to Facebook. This became a Facebook audience of Trump supporters with a particular set of characteristics. Then using Facebook’s tools Trump’s team created similar audiences they could market to with pin-point accuracy knowing they were speaking to people who were going to listen.
Negative messages to suppress key players
Trump’s team also knew that Hillary Clinton needed to win overwhelmingly with idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. So, they rolled out a massive digital strategy using targeted Facebook ads to ‘discourage’ these groups from turning out to vote for Hillary. This turned out to be the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, what can we learn from Trump?
Trump’s turnaround gives weight to something we’ve been saying for a long time… Facebook marketing is a serious business marketing tool. Anyone who tells me their market is not on Facebook is just not making sense.
65% of Australians are on Facebook.
And not only are they on Facebook. They are paying attention to Facebook. Every day. Much more than they are paying attention to radio ads, TV ads or billboards.
So not only does Facebook allow business to target their ideal market with pinpoint accuracy, it allows business to target an ideal market who are actually paying attention to the messages. Now that’s a powerful business marketing tool.
Deb Jeffreys is principal at Brilliant Digital. Visit