Marketing moves to where consumers convert, so political ads are moving in droves to Facebook.
When I wrote “How Trump Won” in January 2017, the Trump campaign’s digital director credited Facebook as the fundraising powerhouse. Last week, The New York Times’ headline was “How Trump Is Outspending Every 2020 Democrat on Facebook.”
In my city, Philadelphia, the mayor won his primary election last week by using Facebook and Google, and without spending on TV ads. His political supporters — and detractors, like soda companies opposed to his soda tax — did that for him, instead.
Why the Move to Facebook?
The move to Facebook and — in perhaps Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s case, also Google Ads — the strength is in the data.
For Trump in 2016, his digital campaign advisors could target individuals and message them based on their interests. It’s how Trump gained votes in strategic states to win, based on the Electoral College strategy.
Target Marketing writes:
“Facebook proved to be a powerful way for Trump’s team to hone the campaign’s message with the kind of enormous sample sizes you can’t get with traditional polling,” reads the article that goes on to quote Gary Coby, director of advertising at the Republican National Committee, who worked on Trump’s campaign.
“They have an advantage of a platform that has users that are conditioned to click and engage and give you feedback,” Coby tells Wired. “Their platform’s built to inform you about what people like and dislike.”
A Different Use for Google Ads
For Kenney, Billy Penn reported that his campaign placed ads based on keywords related to the mayor’s opponents in the Democratic primary.
On May 10, Billy Penn reports:
Queries for “Alan Butkovitz” or “Anthony Williams” present searchers with links to unflattering articles about both Democrats.
The team appears to have targeted people searching for “Philadelphia election” as well.
Trump and Facebook, 2020
Of the $5 million Trump’s spent on reelection campaign Facebook ads so far in 2019, the Times writes:
“Much of Mr. Trump’s spending on Facebook advertising in recent weeks has gone toward ads that have been seen by older Americans, particularly women 55 and older, according to an analysis by Bully Pulpit.
“Older voters are an important constituency for Mr. Trump, having favored him over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, according to exit polls. Mr. Trump also has reason to want to shore up his standing with women, as white women shifted leftward in the midterm elections.”
Facebook Birthday Wishes
Melania Trump’s birthday was last month and President Donald Trump’s birthday is coming up next month, so the May 21 article in the Times reports many of the campaign efforts are ads aimed at getting Facebook users to sign digital cards for the president and First Lady.
These opt-ins are the beginning of the way for the digital team to collect data and use it across platforms for other direct contact, such as emails or phone calls. The aim is to get such data for up to 60 million Americans, according to Trump’s campaign.
The Times continues:
“Digital list-building efforts like birthday cards are a great way to re-engage supporters, to refresh your email list and to grow a more personal relationship with your existing donor base,” said Michael Duncan, a Republican digital strategist who is a founding partner at Cavalry, a public affairs firm.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: How Trump Won