Facebook has gotten an incredible amount of flak from the mainstream media for allowing so-called “fake news” to sway the 2016 election. This, coupled with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian trolls, had led many to believe that President Donald Trump won the election with help from shady Russian who relentlessly promoted him on Facebook.
However, now that the facts are coming to light, the truth is emerging that Trump’s surprising 2016 election win has much more to do with good marketing sense than Russian interference.
First of all, Donald Trump’s campaign spent far more money advertising on Facebook than Hillary Clinton’s campaign did. While Hillary’s team invested $28 million in advertising on Facebook, Donald Trump’s team spent a whopping $44 million on this social media channel alone. Naturally, spending more money on advertising does not guarantee that a campaign’s message will be more effective in generating results; however, there is real evidence that Trump not only spent more money, but also spent his money more effectively than the Clinton campaign.
Because Donald Trump’s Facebook ads were provocative by nature, they generated far more social media buzz than Clinton’s advertisements. As numerous people liked and shared every single one of his ads, the total cost per Facebook mention was far lower than what the Clinton campaign was paying for. Furthermore, Donald Trump’s campaign focused his advertising dollars on swing states where the cost of Facebook advertising is lower than in large, urban areas.
There are also a plethora of other stats indicating that Donald Trump’s team not only spent more money on the Facebook campaign, but also more time to ensure that they got it right. The Trump campaign ran nearly six million different versions of ads during the presidential campaign. While the ads ran, his team immediately tested audience response to see which ads were the most effective in reaching their target audience. The Clinton campaign, on the other hand, ran only 66,000 ads during this same time period. More importantly, Donald Trump’s Facebook campaign was built on tried and proven marketing principles.
As any successful marketer knows, the purpose of an advertisement is to not only promote a company’s products and/or services, but also to generate an action such as getting a potential client to sign up for future emails, purchase something and/or tell others about the company. The Trump campaign put this sound principle into practice, as is evidenced by the fact that 84% of all of the Trump campaign’s Facebook ads called on users to take a specific action such as donating money to the campaign. On the other hand, only 56% of Hillary Clinton’s Facebook campaign ads called on users to do something. The primary thrust of her campaign was to try to get people to like her enough to vote for her.
One particularly controversial factor that an internal Facebook white paper took note of was that the Donald Trump campaign was using information tied to third party data files to create Facebook campaigns targeted to people who were neither Republican nor Democrat. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was well aware of the existence of the Facebook tool that enabled the Trump campaign to reach this segment of the population and, due to their hubris in thinking that Hillary was guaranteed to win, only used about 4% of her advertising budget on it.
Naturally, the mainstream news media narrative is still focused on Russia’s arguable involvement in the election. However, as one of Facebook’s own Ad team vice-presidents noted on Twitter, the fact is that ads generated by companies connected to Russia were far more interested in creating a divided, partisan electorate than in promoting any one person for the presidency. While there are many reasons why Donald Trump won the 2016 election to become the forty-fifth President of the United States, Russian involvement in the electoral process was not on of them.
The above stats make it clear that Donald Trump’s campaign invested heavily in running a successful marketing campaign that reached the right target audience, resulting in ultimate success for their candidate and failure for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
~ Liberty Planet