The Power of Big Data and Psychographics – Cambridge Analytica – Alexander Nicks

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Alexander Nicks chief executive officer Cambridge analytic – it’s my privilege to speak to you today about the power of big data and psychographics in the electoral process. And specifically to talk about the work that we contributed to Senator Cruz’s presidential primary campaign.

It’s easy to forget that only 18 months ago senator Cruz was one of the less popular candidates seeking nomination and certainly one of the more vilified in addition to which he had very low name recognition. Only about 40 percent of the electorate had heard of him as compared to Jeb Bush shop in the mid 80s and he was competing in one of the in one of the most competitive primary fields ever in Republican politics.

Additionally he was seeking to make his voice heard to a largely homogeneous audience. Yet come May 2016 senator Cruz was the only serious contender the only credible threat to the phenomenon Donald Trump. So how did he do this? the Cruz campaign was quick to embrace three technologies, three methodologies that propelled them to success

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The first of these was behavioral science probably the easiest way to explain. This is for example were you lucky enough to to own a private beach and you wanted to stop people from using it. You might put up the sign on
the left here. This is largely informational and seeks to inform attitudes. conversely you could use the communication on the right.

This is behavioral communication and it seeks to probe and altogether much more  powerful. Underlying motivation clearly the threatof being eaten by a shark might prevent you from swimming in their sea. Yet this is complex to do and as a consequence most communication companies today still segment segment their audiences by demographics and Geographics.

But when you pause for just a moment, this is a really ridiculous idea ,the idea that all women should receive the same message because of their gender or all African Americans because of their race or all old people or rich people or young people to get the same message because of their demographics just doesn’t make any sense.

Clearly demographics and Geographics and economics will influence your worldview. But equally important or probably more important a psychographics that is an understanding of your personality because it’s personality that drives behavior and behavior that obviously influences how you vote.

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So how is this possible. Well at Cambridge we’ve rolled out a long-form quantitative instrument to probe the underlying traits and inform personality. This is the cutting edge in Experimental Psychology known as the ocean model. Ocean being an acronym for openness, how open you are to new experiences conscientiousness whether you prefer order and habits and planning in your life extraversion. how social you are agreeable ‘no sweather you put other people’s needs and society and community.

ahead of yourself and finally neuroticism a measurement of how much you tend to worry by having hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Americans undertake this survey. We were able to form a model to predict the personality of every single adult in the United States of America. So how does this impact marketing and communications in elections for a primary ?

The second amendment might be a popular issue amongst the electorate. If you know that the personality of the  people you’re targeting you can nuance your messaging to resonate more effectively with those key audience groups.

So for a highly neurotic and conscientious audience you’re going to need a message that is rational and fair base or motionally based. In this case the threat of a burglary and the insurance policy of a gun is very persuasive conversely for a crow closed an agreeable audience. these are people who care about tradition and habit and family and community. this could be the the grandfather who taught his son to shoot and the father who will in turn teach his  son.

obviously talking about these values is going to be much more effective in communicating your message. The  second leg of the stool data analytics communication is fundamentally changing back. in the days of Mad Men communication was essentially top-down that is its creative lead brilliant minds get together and come up with slogans like beans means Heinz and coca-cola is it. And they push these messages on to the audience. In the hope that they resonate.

Today we don’t need to guess at what creative solution may or may not work. We can use hundreds or thousands of individual data points on our target audiences to understand exactly which messages are going to appeal to which audiences. Way before the creative process starts. so what is big data big data is really the aggregation of as many individual data points that you can possibly get your hands on. Which are then synthesized in one database of record cleaned or high genes. And then used to inform and create insight on your target audience.

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This could include demographic and geographic factors, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and so forth. Or cychographicor attitudinal factors. this is consumer and lifestyle habits what car you drive, what products you purchase in shops, what magazines you read, what golf clubs you belong to, what churches you attend. And of course personality or behavioral data.

This is what we talked about earlier. How you see the world what actually drives you the easiest way to illustrate big.  data in action is through a real-life example. This is a data dashboard that we prepared for the Cruz campaign for the Iowa caucus. It looks intimidating but it’s actually very simple. You have a matrix here on the x-axis partition partisanship value hardcore Republicans, on the right Democrats on the left and the y-axis people’s likelihood to turn  out to go in caucus.

The people at the top highly likely the people at the bottom, not at all. so already this information is quite helpful to a campaign manager. But if we select some segments within this matrix. It becomes even more powerful in this case  we’ve zoned in on a group we’ve called persuasion. These are people who are definitely going to vote to caucus but they need moving from the center a little bit more towards the right in order to support Cruz.

They need a persuasion message and we can look at this group of about 45,000 people and we can see that the mean  personality is very low in neuroticism, quite low in openness and slightly conscientious. We can segment further, we  can look at what issue they care about gun rights. I’ve selected that narrows the field slightly more.

And now we know that we need a message on gun rights. It needs to be a persuasion message and it needs to be nuanced according to the certain personality that we’re interested in. And we can see where these people are on the map. if we wanted to drill down further we could resolve the data to an individual level where we have somewhere close to four or five thousand data points on every adult in the United States.

Finally addressable ad technology ,this is the ability to take all this offline data and to match it to drive communications blanket advertising. Blanket advertising the idea that a hundred million people receive the same piece of Direct Mail, the same television advert. The same digital advert is dead. My children will certainly never everunderstand this concept of mass communication.

Today communication is becoming ever increasingly targeted. it’s being individualized for every single person in this room. So you will no longer be receiving adverts on products and services that you don’t care about. Rather you’ll only receive adverts that not only are on the the products and services or in the case of elections issues that you care about most. But that have been nuanced in order to reflect the way you see the world.

We’re able to match offline data to cookies to drive digital advertising social media banners. And the like we can obviously use this data to  inform Direct Mail purchases. So a husband and a household can receive a piece of mail, but his wife can receive a different piece of mail possibly even on the same issue.

Most exciting of all probably is the fact that we can take this   data and match it to set-top box viewing data that’s television or cable data every time you watch TV. The programs that you’re watching are being recorded and  that information is being sent back to your cable provider and we can match what you watch in a way that we can begin to select programs to advertise in that have the highest density of the target audience that we’re trying to reach.

This not only dramatically reduces the cost of your advertising but of course improves the return on investment. So  what were the results well? Ted Cruz mployed our data our behavioral insights to drive not just his TV and is digital but his field operations, his get-out-the-vote his voter persuasion, his donation fundraising efforts and his resource allocation and all of this meant that he started from a base of less than 5%. And had a very slow and steady but firm  rise to above 35% making him obviously the second most threatening contender in the race now.

Clearly the Cruz campaign is over now but what I can tell you is that of the two candidates left, left in this election one of them is using these technologies and it’s going to be very interesting to see how they impact the next seven weeks thank you.

Mr. Alexander Nix