Cambridge Analytica was contracted to the Trump campaign and provided an entirely new weapon for the election machine. While it also used demographic segments to identify groups of voters, as Clinton’s campaign had, Cambridge Analytica also segmented using psychographics. As definitions of class, education, employment, age and so on, demographics are informational. Psychographics are behavioural – a means to segment by personality.
Imagine for example that you could identify a segment of voters that is high in conscientiousness and neuroticism, and another segment that is high in extroversion but low in openness. Clearly, people in each segment would respond differently to the same political ad. But on Facebook they do not need to see the same ad at all – each will see an individually tailored ad designed to elicit the desired response, whether that is voting for a candidate, not voting for a candidate, or donating funds.
Cambridge Analytica worked hard to develop dozens of ad variations on different political themes such as immigration, the economy and gun rights, all tailored to different personality profiles.
Read the full report here.
(Image via The Conversation/GarryKillian/Shutterstock)