There has been an uproar in the world of media, politics, technology, and marketing about the use of Facebook by Trump to achieve the presidency of the United States. With many questions, news, speculation and false news. In this article, we will explain what methods are available to the average marketer on Facebook  and ways to reach and convince customers and then the advanced methods used by the company «Cambridge Analytica» in the Trump’s campaign. It is a method used in many media campaigns but is known to experts in the digital marketing world. This method is part of the digital marketing scholarship curriculum for students of the Information Technology Institute of the Ministry of Communications.

Let’s first identify the sources from which Facebook gets user data:

  • User-generated data, including demographic information, such as age, gender, marital status, employment, education, etc.
  • Geographic data, many sites and electronic applications collect data on the geographical presence of the user to be at the end then information about the movements, travel and visits of the user.
  • Engagement data, each like, share, comment, or action is logged to infer information about user behavior and interests.
  • Data from the integration of other data sources. Facebook has partnerships with companies and organizations such as Acxiom, Experian and Epsilon, under which it gets a huge amount of data such as wealth, real estate and car owned by the user, and through the mobile number or e-mail can link that data to a specific user.
  • Data integration with websites and applications, there is a mutually beneficial relationship between websites, applications and Facebook, whereby the website or application gets:
    • Demographic and geographic information and statistics about the visitors of the site or the app and its users, as well as their interests, behavior and many other information, and the feature was announced to be suspended from Facebook while writing this article.
    • The second advantage that Facebook gives to apps and sites is the ability to assign specific ads to a specific category of site visitors or visitors who have or did not engage in a specific interaction on said site or application.

On the other hand, Facebook gets data from users of sites and applications from interactions, purchases and purchasing ability.

Facebook’s marketing power is reflected in a set of tools that Facebook puts in the hands of the average marketer and the average person. This includes the Audience Insight tool, which relies entirely on Facebook’s data and the information it derives from it, making it a user-centric market research and marketing center from which makes it possible to study the current and potential customers as well as obtain statistics on demographic and geographic information, interests, behavior and parties to which they belong.

For example, this tool can give demographic and geographic statistics and favorite sites about Australian immigrants in Egypt who are interested in dominoes pizza aged 20 to 22, and who run Facebook pages.

The same statistics can be obtained, for example, for those who belong to the Republican Party in America and are interested in the American auto industry at the age of 40 years in Michigan, for example.

Customize a marketing message for a specific segment of customers:Micro Targetting

Facebook enables the marketer to customize his marketing message for each target audience to maximize impact and increase persuasion.

For example, a marketer for a men’s watch store can send a message to women ages 25 to 35,when their husband’s birthday’s in a month. Those interested in the original watches and residents of Kafr Abdou area and at the same time fans of the actress Mona Zaki and the advertising message can use actor Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki, and add another message to fans of Ahmed Ezz and so on.

The marketer of a mobile application can also offer discounts by sending a message on Messenger to everyone who installed the application,and who the birthday of their close friends is within a week and are interested in flowers. The message contains a discount on the purchase of flowers gifts from their favorite flower shop only to those who buy through the Internet.

Another example, a nursery marketer can create an informative message to mothers with children under 3 years of age. the once who nteracted with the pages of the Qur’an and are located in a specific area in Maadi, and then send them a message highlighting the characteristics of the nursery in regards to the memorization of the Qur’an.

This approach is strongly highlighted in e-commerce.For example, a discount coupon can be allocated to those who have placed a product in the shopping cart and have not purchased it, Or whoever bought a product is offered a complementary product. The methods of personalization the advertising and media message to a specific audience never end depending on their interest, behavior, the technology they use, the type of property they occupy and the political parties to which they belong. Or the sports club they support, the wealth they have, the number of children, their age, the happy occasions they await or their friends. This allocation varies from country to country and from advertising funded to a regular publication.

Customize a marketing message depending on the psychological aspect of the target audience

In the previous part of the article we talked about the marketing capacity of Facebook, inherent in the amount of data it collects about users, part of which allowed marketers to use it in market and marketing research. Or allowed them to target a very specific segment with a media or advertising message to maximize the power of their marketing campaign. But this lacks a lot, this method is based on the available data, the marketer can not target the audience, for example, according to the psychological analysis of the characters of the target audience, such as targeting the aspiring or depressed or open to creative ideas or according to the influence of the person and theirspecific influence on Facebook.

Now let’s start with real magic, the method used in the Trump’s campaign. This method depends on:

  • Identifying the characters with the attributes you want to target.
  • Finding a correlation relationship between the characters’ qualities and available data from them on Facebook.
  • If that relationship is found, Facebook can be used for advanced targeting.

This approach will become clear from three experiments.

The first experiment was carried out by Dr. David Stloel-Deputy Director of the Center for Psychometrics at the University of Cambridge-with the research team. It is the oldest and most important center in psychometrics in the world. David created a small app called MyPersonality that works as a Facebook app to collect information that users volunteer to provide. This application contains various questions related to psychological measurement and is a set of psychological questions associated with the test «Big Five». This test is a hierarchical gathering of the most prominent personality traits of the human being openness, social, compatibility, disorder (or anxiety), conscience or consciousness. . Each of the five elements is under a different set of personality traits. David thought that this questionnaire would be completed only by university colleagues because it was a very complex and specific questionnaire. Surprisingly, this questionnaire was completed by 6 million people and 4 million of them gave concent to share their personal profile on Facebook with its interactions of liking or sharing. The Cambridge Psychometrics Center has a huge aount of data. He was able to analyze the data to find a relationship between personal characteristics and personal profile on Facebook. It can be deduced from a person’s profile on Facebook if the person is ambitious or an introvert, or extent of his intelligence, religion, affiliation, and his relationship to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs or even if his parents are separated and many other qualities. It has even reached staggering levels. In 2012, through scientific studies, he was able to prove that by examining an average of 68 “likes” on Facebook for a user, one can predict a person’s race (up to 95% accuracy), sexual orientation (88% accuracy), and party affiliation (85%) ..

Another study by the center proved that by studying “ten likes” only on Facebook  we can know the person and asses them better than their colleague. “70 likes” is enough to evaluate a person more accurately than his or her friends. «150 Likes» gives a better evaluation than the person’s parents, and with «300 Likes» know more than couples know about each other. More “likes” sometimes go beyond what one thinks they know about themselves. A large part of the research and its data is available on the internet and another part is available to students if they get in touch with the center.

The second experiment was carried out by the author of this article, Engineer Mohamed Hanafy. The same method was used to determine the degree of influence and reach of people on social networks based on their personal profile and the method is described in a research paper published in 2016 at the conference of ICT in our lives in the Faculty of Commerce, Alexandria University.

The third method is used by Cambridge Analytica through another application called ThisIsYourDigitalLife. This application has been downloaded by 270 thousand users but the application had access to the data of friends, bringing in nearly 50 million users.

Alexander James Ashburner Knicks, chairman of Cambridge Analytica, also revealed at the Concordia Summit the psychological testing capabilities of the electoral process. Cambridge Analytica used it for a year and a half ago, with Senator Ted Cruz, who was the least popular candidate.He stated clearly during the summit that targeting depends on psychological measurements based on the scale of the questionnaire Big Five. Knicks said the campaign used 175,000 different advertising variants on the third day of the presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, to allocate each variety to a specific audience based on psychological targeting.

And so the topics raised last week in the fourth British channel were known in advance and was reported by  the largest media outlets since the victory of Trump, and has nothing to do with leaking information or hacking or Facebook selling these data, I do not know why all the fuss is happening now !!!

On the other hand, Facebook took advantage of the event and began to reduce the powers of advertisers and application developers, for example Custom Audience, which marketers were using to study a specific segment of customers, was withheld. Also the application that is not used by the user for more than two months will be deleted. While reducing the power of apps and their access to user data. That will be a disaster for many projects based on Facebook apps.

Show us all that Facebook is the largest personal database in the world that holds every bit of information about us. From it, a huge amount of information can be deduced about each one of us, and each day Facebook gets more savage and begins to dispense with its partners of application developers.

In the end, there is an inevitable strong strategy that enhances and maximizes the capabilities of digital marketing, including the capabilities of Facebook ,available to us and its use in growth and development are amazing and great. This strategy places an important focus on raising awareness on the frightening side of the information monster and how to exploit information against individuals, communities and nations.