Summary of How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election

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How the Trump Campaign Built an Identity Database and Used Facebook Ads to Win the Election summary
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  • Controversial
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


What factors contributed to Donald Trump’s win of the 2016 US presidential election? No single, simple answer will suffice, but Trump’s cutting-edge digital strategy appears to have played a critical role, and political campaigners and marketers are likely to study and hone the model for years to come. Consumer protection litigator Joel Winston presents a jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes look at the development of this remarkably successful digital operation. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Winston’s eye-opening account to anyone interested in the mechanics of politics and digital advertising.

About the Author

Joel Winston is a consumer protection litigator and former deputy attorney general for the State of New Jersey.



The digital operations division of Donald Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign propelled its strategy and fund-raising. In its early days, Brad Parscale, a marketer with no previous campaign experience, invested about $2 million – his entire budget – in Facebook ads. He began by placing the contact details of known Trump supporters into the Facebook advertising platform and expanded his pool with the “Lookalike Audiences” function, which located users with profiles similar to known supporters. After Trump won the Republican Party nomination, Pascale took charge of growing and scaling the campaign’s digital capabilities. He forged...

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