Make America Social Again #MASA

I’ve been referring to this tweet from last November so often lately that I thought I might as well just post it here on Copernican Shift. Politics aside — and if you follow me you should have a pretty good idea of my politics — this is an amazing modern marketing story which leverages the targeting capabilities of Facebook to micro-target on a demographic, psychographic, and geographic basis. Jared Kushner built a Social Command Center which is roughly equivalent to what I run at Microsoft, but used it exclusively for post amplification and fundraising (not reactive engagements, which is how we’re oriented).

Kushner built a real-time optimization engine for Facebook dark posts with 100K variants designed to depress Democrat turnout and encourage Republican voting. It’s like John Caples on steroids — instead of a split-run or a 17-way split-run (the peak of Caples split-run operation), this was a 100K-ad split-run. Holy freaking moly … this is what I’ve been talking about for years. I copied this approach to fill the seats for Chick Flick the Musical, with a roughly similar ad matrix, and it worked like a dream.

By June the GOP nomination secured, Kushner took over all data-driven efforts. Within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, he had built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting. Run by Brad Parscale, who had previously built small websites for the Trump Organization, this secret back office would drive every strategic decision during the final months of the campaign. “Our best people were mostly the ones who volunteered for me pro bono,” Kushner says. “People from the business world, people from nontraditional backgrounds.”

Kushner structured the operation with a focus on maximizing the return for every dollar spent. “We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote,” Kushner says. “I asked, How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?” FEC filings through mid-October indicate the Trump campaign spent roughly half as much as the Clinton campaign did.