Project Alamo´s data-driven marketing campaign won Donald Trump the Presidency
Project Alamo´s architect Ben Parscale was initially just supposed to provide a small marketing strategy on Facebook. But by measuring where they were given back the most money on every dime spent, Project Alamo quickly became the most important weapon in winning the presidential election of 2016.
”Trump’s digital strategist in charge Brad Parscale implemented, with the data provided by Cambridge Analytica, an ingenious reversed marketing strategy that business and parties should learn from in everything from sales funnels to parliamentary elections” – Rikard Lindholm, co-founder Semantiko.com
Donald Trump utilized something I call conversion strategies. A strategy for converting a visitor into a customer, lead or a client. This is done in a digital marketing process Semantiko uses in lead nurturing processes to first identify prospect on an early level in the sales funnel and then by evaluating the target audiences drive them by relevance to convert the prospect to customers.
To understand digital marketing, one first needs to identify the specific objective of the Digital Strategies established.
“All companies that are investing in a digital presence on the Internet can basically be categorized into three core objectives.” – Rikard Lindholm, Co-Founder Semantiko.com
- Create Brand Awareness – “We want to build product awareness and brand recognition.”
- Generate Direct Sales Online – “We want to sell a product or article online.”
- Generating Leads – “We want to look interesting enough so that customers leave their contact information.”
How did the campaign manager intend to win the election for Donald Trump?
The goal of Donald Trump’s online presence was based on firstly generating the maximum number of votes in the election. Secondarily to give Hillary Clinton’s supporters doubt, which would make them refrain from voting altogether. To understand this, we must first look at how semantics generate leads on Facebook.
Can you generate quality leads on Facebook? Yes you can. Here, you can read about how to generate leads on Facebook.
Project Alamo – a strategy of negative, but relevant Hillary articles that were sniped into the Facebook feeds of uncertain voters.
In the spring of 2016, Project Alamo began to analyze immense amounts of collected demographic data, statistics on engagement and click-through rate and matched this with the times of Hillary Clinton / Donald Trump’s good and bad news throughout the campaign. All statistics from months of content-based Facebook Ads were analyzed and evaluated so that target groups would be categorized by the relevance of the post against demographic data from Facebook. Facebook uses a pixel that most digital marketing-based websites in the world use. It saves information about the visitor, much like Google, and matches, for example, the IP number with profiles on Facebook, which are then fed with further information about each user.
The goal of these analyses was to determine which segment of Hillary Clinton’s voters who could be the most susceptible to influence in the presidential election of 2016. Should Project Alamo be able to identify them? They could then optimize towards this segment of the target audience with relevant articles and “subtle” influences to get them to
- Vote for Donald Trump.
- Not vote at all.
How did Brad Parscale create the marketing strategies (lead nurturing processes) for Project Alamo??
By creating a network of content-based sites in for example Macedonia made to look as credible sources with relevant articles. These websites were created in among other countries in Macedonia and worked as the source for articles that were untrue, exaggerated or improved the image of Donald Trump. This was published in a mixture with everything else that was entirely true, in the infinite flow of information during the election campaign. For example http://www.usapoliticstoday.com/ & http://bvanews.com/
According to our calculations, Project Alamo had well above 100 million Americans who visited their websites during the election weeks. Through Facebook’s pixel and Google Analytics you can then categorize visitors according to search trends, visitor engagement (time per posting, number of visits, number of repeat visits) in unique posts, engagement in Facebook ads, involvement in emails (click on links, openings, forwards) and the engagement in the organic flow of Facebook pages. By analyzing this data you could identify different segments and assess which segments of the electorate were hesitant, decided and which party’s candidate they supported.
The engagement of the website’s visitors on a specific page/article was measured and the anonymous person identified via IP numbers. This enabled Project Alamo to re-advertise on Facebook against all those Facebook users who matched against an IP number identified on any of the websites. They are then categorized into target groups on Facebook (custom audience).
Facebook’s Custom Audiences (target groups, advertising groups) may include grouping by visitor’s unique page clicks on the site, the engagement that the visitor had is measured in for example time spent on each page, the number of unique visits to different pages, if they shared the pages on Facebook, commented a page’s link on Facebook or the degree of the Like button used (like / love / wow / laugh / sad/angry button).
Who did Project Alamo optimize the Facebook ads against?
Project Alamo identified three segments of Hillary Clinton’s supporters (voter eligible Democrats) who were hesitant and thus, important to convince for the opponent Hillary Clinton to win. (Bloomberg Business Week, October 27, 2016).
The segments of the eligible voters that were important for Hillary Clinton to convince, which Project Alamo took aim for:
- White young women
- African Americans
- Idealistic white liberals
Brad Parscale (left) was the brains behind Project Alamo and one of the few people who got to attend to Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
The marketing strategy on Facebook was simple, but brilliant.
Donald Trump’s executives in charge of Project Alamo realized that they did not have time to win over everyone who hesitated. They, therefore, focused on option number two. Get them to not vote at all. The strategy:
- Identify each segment’s basis for hesitation against Hillary Clinton.
- Create good relevant content within each subject towards the segments that hesitate. Untrue or inaccurate was unimportant.
- Await bad press against Hillary Clinton.
“That Trump could throw fuel on the fire was an invaluable ability that Brad Parscale created.”
Project Alamo could identify segments of the target groups who were hesitant towards Hillary Clinton, to then categorize them according to their conduct online with information gained from websites and advertise to each hesitant segment with to them relevant articles via Facebook (Custom audiences) at the right times, which was invaluable to Donald Trump for President.
The information about the target audience, combined with being able to identify and evaluate the visitor’s interests and to use behavioral statistics of visitors makes the data much more reliable and useful than the market studies done. All the data obtained by these strategies is user based and based on the audience’s behavior online. All this was put together by a relatively unknown digital strategist named Brad Parscale.