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What were the key Facebook Ads strategies used for Trump’s election campaign?

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We are living in the era of the Internet when social media advertising is evolving, implementing new technologies, and bringing sweeping changes into our lives. Thus, recently, Facebook’s former mobile ads chief Andrew Bosworth came out with an explanation of the platform’s role in Donald Trump’s 2016 US Presidential Election.

Despite everyone’s expectations, he did not focus on Cambridge Analytica, fake news, Russian interference, etc. Instead he said the following:

“So was Facebook responsible for Donald Trump getting elected? I think the answer is yes, but not for the reasons anyone thinks.[…] He got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period.”

So what actually was so unusual and brilliant about the American president’s Facebook campaign?

According to the recent report published by The Guardian, “over the course of 2019, the Trump campaign spent nearly $20m on more than 218,000 different Facebook ads”.

There were several points worth attention of everyone more or less interested in Facebook ad strategies.

Firstly, the main focus of Trump’s team was circling around collecting audience info.

“The campaign is all about data collection – if we touch you digitally, we want to know who you are and how you think and get you into our databases so that we can model off it and relearn and understand what’s happening.”

The information accumulated allowed Trump’s team to get valuable information about citizens’ names, location markers and email addresses, which then were used for the formation of data banks for future ad targeting.

The strategies used for Facebook advertising created a ‘with us or against us’ type of attitude, which, as a result, helped to spread the campaign’s key messaging.

Apart from that, BuzzFeed style quizzes, as well as competitions to win Trump campaign merchandise were put forward. All of that was designed to gather personal information to expand the campaigns reach.

Therefore, it is now unclear whether the same Facebook ad strategy will be put in place by Trump’s team during the 2020 US Presidential Election or not. And whether Facebook itself will allow things to slip from their control and create a societal disbalance as it happened back in 2016.


    Vishwa Gawra
    B2B Technology Media and Marketing At MartechCube
    Experienced Senior Account Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the online media industry. Skilled in Account Management, Analytical Skills, Customer Success, Market Research, and Leadership.

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