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There’s nothing the mainstream media loves better than a “bombshell revelation” involving President Donald Trump. The latest “bombshell” the media has been discussing is a 2500-word memo from top Facebook VP Andrew Bosworth, who wrote that, “Facebook was responsible for getting Trump elected.” And no, he wasn’t talking about Russian bots on Facebook or other nonsense like the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal – instead, he was referring to the fact that the Trump campaign ran an absolutely flawless digital campaign on Facebook in 2016.
How Trump won Facebook
Love Trump or hate Trump, you have to admit that his team’s command of the digital media world is impressive. According to Bosworth, even the folks inside Facebook were impressed: “He ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser.” Let that sink in for a moment – what Bosworth wrote implies that the Trump campaign thought of itself as a traditional advertiser selling a product (“Trump”). The Trump campaign then went about its business of selling the American people this candidate the way it might any other Trump-branded product – and they did it in a way that would put even high-profile advertisers like Nike, Taco Bell or Red Bull to shame.
Most notably, says Bosworth, the Trump campaign did not rely on “hoaxes” or “misinformation” to pull this off. That’s just the mainstream media’s spin on the matter to cover up an embarrassing Clinton defeat. The reality is that the Trump digital team understood all the features and facets of Facebook, and maxed out on them 100 percent. As Bosworth notes, the Trump team showed “the right creative to each person.” The message was the same each time (i.e. MAGA), it was only the creative execution that varied. Thus, someone in Texas might be shown an ad featuring a message about illegal immigration; someone in Wisconsin might be shown an ad featuring a message about bringing manufacturing jobs back to America; and a suburban voter in the Northeast might be shown a message about lower taxes and the impact of Trump’s economic policies on overall economic growth.
Can Trump repeat the magic in 2020?
The big question, of course, is whether the same tactics that worked so well for Team Trump in 2016 will work again in 2020. Remember – all the big social media platforms have been working to reduce Trump’s competitive advantage (such as by “muting” or removing voices friendly to Trump), and one has to wonder whether “Keep America Great Again” is going to resonate as much with the broader population as “Make America Great Again” did in 2016.
For Trump, the path to victory in 2020 will surely involve Twitter in addition to Facebook. Trump’s Twitter account is both a bullhorn and megaphone, and an important way for him to get his message out to the people without relying on the mainstream media. It’s even got to a point where rival contenders to Trump are begging Twitter to shut down Trump’s Twitter account. Will Trump outdo himself in 2020? If you buy into Bosworth’s argument about the flawlessness of Trump’s 2016 campaign, then you’d be foolish to underestimate him a second time around in 2020.