Donald Trump election campaign: Big Data in political campaigns

Donald Trump election campaign: Big Data in political campaigns

How the Trump campaign used Big Data in practice

Kushner is said to have been the brains behind Trump’s election technology strategy. However, Trump’s data campaign followed a different strategy than the one which had helped secure Obama’s two victories.

While Obama’s operation focused on identifying swing voters who could go either way, in areas with a likelihood of high voter turnout, Trump’s campaign centred around deciding which of his key political platforms – for example, cutting immigration – would work best with segmented voter groups. Once the analytic system was up and running at the end of summer 2016, the campaign was sending out tailored messages to 100,000 targeted voters every day.

It appears that Trump – or rather Kushner – did something pretty smart here. Trump’s fondness for expressing his opinions plainly to a huge audience over social media meant that reactions to what he said – good or bad (and there were always plenty of both) –could be monitored in real time.

By matching the demographic information of people who reacted well to certain messages on social media to voter information in the Republican Party’s databases, the Trump campaign could work out exactly where to target their message, for the minimum expense.


The technical details

The data analytics provider engaged by Kusher was UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica.


Ideas and insights you can steal

It is clear now that Trump’s campaign, once he realised he had a real shot at the presidency, was far more data-savvy than many people, myself included, had thought. While Trump himself continued to play the part of the techno-sceptic “everyman” in front of his largely blue collar supporters, Big Data was playing a vital role behind the scenes.

What businesses can learn from this is the importance of finding the right people to fill in the gaps in your own organisation’s Big Data capabilities. Either by recruiting new talent or partnering with expert external providers, as Kusher did, any business can reap the benefits of Big Data.

You can read more about how organisations are using Big Data to drive success in Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results.



Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the field of business and technology. He is the author of 18 best-selling books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has 2 million social media followers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

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