Produced by Jason Zagami

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal rocked the content marketing world when it was revealed that they used experimental psychology on 50 Million US Facebook users without consent . 

In this episode we learn exactly what methods were used and why they were so effective. You'll hear it from the masterminds behind Cambridge Analytica's own team Alexander Nix (CEO), Christopher Wylie (Data Scientist) & Dr. Aleksandr Kogan (Behavioral Psychologist).


For years Cambridge Analytica has been targeting, segmenting, and swaying voters from all over the world. In June 2016 the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica. Trump's campaign staff only consisted of 30 people vs the 800+ of the Clinton Campaign. 

Trump's Election Campaign was underfunded and understaffed compared with that of Hillary's team. C.A. offered something no one else could, a digital marketing campaign based on experimental psychology. They sold it as a psychological warfare tool.

Alexander Nix (CEO) and Chris Wylie (Data Scientist) hired Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, a behavioral and cognitive psychologist at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Kogan had created a Facebook app that paid 200,000 users to take a personality test. This app included a terms of service that allowed C.A. access to the test takers facebook data, and that of their friends. Facebook claims that the agreement only allowed the data to be used within the University for research. Not to be shared with for-profit companies. 

That one step increased the data they collected from 200,000 users to 50 Million. Next they used all this data to accurately predict your personality by what you posted, shared and liked on facebook. By some accounts with over 90% accuracy.

Using this data, they had very clear voter personas, which allowed them to create highly targeted content that would appeal to each persona's personality traits. 

Google Noticed

C.A. was so disruptive with this campaign that Google began an independent study to measure it's effectiveness. The results: an 18% lift in search volume, 11% increase in brand favorability,  and an 8% increase in voter intent.

Testing & Optimization

Through the digital campaign C.A. tested and optimized. Shifting resources to where they would be the most effective. Spending less on ads in areas where voter polls had Trump ahead, allowing them to focus their resources on areas where they could sway swing voters. Or focusing on damage control reacting to situations such as the "Hot Mic" episode where Trump was recorded talking to Billy Bush.


While no Digital Campaign can sell a failing product or win an election for a unfavorable candidate, it can make the difference between winning and losing when victory is won by a margin of 50,000 votes. 

 Alexander Nix