Can the Trump Effect be Recreated?

President Trump is a master of social media with a command of social networks greater than any past presidents or current candidates today.

President Trump is a master of social media.

He has a command of social networks greater than any past presidents or current candidates today. When the President acts online, it quickly impacts action in the real world, driving news cycles, activating supporters, and raising millions of donations.

Many candidates seek to emulate President Trump’s social media strategy, most often attempting to emulate the President on Twitter. However, it is actually the campaign’s targeted Facebook advertising that most candidates should be eyeing.

According to publicly available Facebook data, President Trump and his campaigns are consistently one of the largest spenders on Facebook. In 2016, the difference between where money was being spent was even more pronounced. Hillary Clinton and affiliated groups outspent the Trump campaign nearly 2-1 on TV, and the President still won.

“While the Clinton campaign was living in the past wasting money on outdated advertising strategies, the Trump campaign used data-driven digital advertising to reach voters. Campaigns in 2020 that follow the old-school Clinton model are missing a big opportunity to connect with voters and ultimately making a big mistake.”
– Josh Kivett, Senior National Strategist

One of the reasons President Trump is so successful on Facebook is how the campaign utilizes data to get the strongest ad performance. Public records show that the campaign not only is the largest spender on Facebook but runs the most advertising creative. This is because they are running different messages to different audiences in order to squeeze out any increases in performance.

This sophistication is not only limited to presidential level campaigns. State and local candidates should also embrace data driven digital targeting. The key to online success is delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.

“Knowing those variables starts with good data and matching the correct audience to the goal of your digital campaign.”
– Ashley O’Rourke, Director of Analytics & Audience Insights


Goal: Increase Awareness & Name-ID ahead of the upcoming primary election
Suggested Audience: Frequent GOP Primary Voters

Goal: Grow your Campaign’s activist and donor base through issue-specific petition campaigns on Facebook.  
Suggested Audience(s): Modeled Republican Activists/Donors – Strong Immigration Policy Subset, Modeled Republican Activists/Donors – Strong Pro-Life Subset

Goal: Continuously engage lower-propensity voters in the Republican base to ensure they turnout in the upcoming general election
Suggested Audience: Low-Propensity Strong Trump Supporters

When it comes to emulating the President on social media, look first at the campaign’s advertising strategy. By combining data with digital advertising, campaigns will be more targeted, cost efficient, and persuasive.