Cambridge Analytica - News

Cambridge Analytica Profile

Cambridge Analytica LLC (CA) is a privately held company that combines data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics. Cambridge Analytica uses data to change audience behavior. Visit our Commercial or Political divisions to see how we can help you.

CA Political will equip you with the data and insights necessary to drive your voters to the polls and win your campaign. We offer a proven combination of predictive analytics, behavioral sciences, and data-driven ad tech.

With up to 5,000 data points on over 230 million American voters, we build your custom target audience, then use this crucial information to engage, persuade, and motivate them to act.

Our team of PhD data scientists, expert researchers, and seasoned political operatives have produced decisive results for campaigns and initiatives throughout the world. In the US, CA Political has successfully worked on projects for all three branches of government and at local, state, and national levels.

Experience an end-to-end campaign service

POLLING
With one of the best track records of accuracy in the industry, we will provide you with in-depth polling to advise informed decision making.

PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
The global leader in predictive analytics, CA Political provides precise insights that will allow you to forecast voter behavior.

TV AND DIGITAL AD PLACEMENT
Through our detailed models, predictive analytics, and sophisticated ad-tech, you can find the most effective locations for ad placement and meaningfully impact your voters.

LIST BUILDING
Accumulate email addresses and an organic following in order to fundraise more efficiently and distribute campaign material.

EVENT PROMOTION, VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT, APP PROMOTION
Rally supporters, promote your campaign events, and increase attendance through our creative and precisely targeted messaging.

REAL-TIME REPORTING
With our up-to-date reports, you will stay informed on the progress of your campaign and assess your voters’ reactions to the campaign in real-time.

PERSUASION
More effectively engage and persuade voters using specially tailored language and visual ad combinations crafted with insights gleaned from behavioral understandings of your electorate.

GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV)
Drive organized and methodical ballot initiatives, targeting the voters who could swing the election in your favor.

Gain the advantage over your opponents by adding our blend of big data analytics and behavioral psychology to your campaign arsenal. Together, with an unmatched understanding of your electorate, we will pinpoint the voters who will turn the tide in your favor, creatively engage with them, and drive them to the ballot box.

MISSION STATEMENT
To deliver Data-Driven Behavioral Change by understanding what motivates the individual and engaging with target audiences in ways that move them to action.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
Cambridge Analytica is committed to being an equal opportunity employer: our employees, consultants and job applicants receive fair treatment and are never singled out based on their gender, age, disability, religion, belief, sexual orientation, marital status, race, or any other similar grounds.

WHO WE WORK WITH
We are a non-partisan organization. Our client network includes governments and NGOs, commercial entities big and small, and political clients across the ideological spectrum.

We find your voters and move them to action.
CA Political has redefined the relationship between data and campaigns. By knowing your electorate better, you can achieve greater influence while lowering overall costs.

“There are no longer any experts except Cambridge Analytica.” – Frank Luntz, Political Pollster

Background and Methods

SCL Group secretly campaigns in elections across the world. This includes operating through a web of shadowy front companies, or by using sub-contractors. In 2018 Chief executive Alexander Nix said the firm could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house” to get dirt on a politician because he found “that works very well”.

Publicly, SCL Group calls itself a “global election management agency”, while Politico reported it was known for involvement “in military disinformation campaigns to social media branding and voter targeting”. SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. Slate writer Sharon Weinberger compared one of SCL’s hypothetical test scenarios to fomenting a coup.

According to the Swiss Das Magazin the methods of data analysis of CA are to a large degree based on the academic work of Michal Kosinski. In 2008, Kosinski had joined the Psychometrics Centre of Cambridge University where he then developed with his colleagues a profiling system using general online data, Facebook-likes, and smartphone data. He showed that with a limited number of “likes” people can be analysed better than friends or relatives can do and that individual psychological targeting is a powerful tool to influence people.

Cambridge Analytica was founded by conservatives Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer. A minimum of 15 million dollars has been invested into the company by Mercer, according to The New York Times. Bannon’s stake in the company was estimated at 1 to 5 million dollars, but he divested his holdings in April of 2017 as required by his role as White House Chief Strategist.

When SCL Elections formed CA in 2013 it hired researchers from Cambridge University, hence the name. CA collects data on voters using sources such as demographics, consumer behaviour, internet activity, and other public and private sources. According to The Guardian, CA is using psychological data derived from millions of Facebook users, largely without users’ permission or knowledge. Another source of information was the “Cruz Crew” mobile app that tracked physical movements and contacts and according to the Associates Press, invaded personal data more than any other app of presidential candidates.

“Today in the United States we have somewhere close to four or five thousand data points on every individual […] So we model the personality of every adult across the United States, some 230 million people.” — Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, October 2016.

The company claims to use “data enhancement and audience segmentation techniques” providing “psychographic analysis” for a “deeper knowledge of the target audience”. The company uses the OCEAN scale of personality traits. Using what it calls “behavioral microtargeting” the company indicates that it can predict “needs” of subjects and how these needs may change over time. Services then can be individually targeted for the benefit of its clients from the political arena, governments, and companies providing “a better and more actionable view of their key audiences.” According to Sasha Issenberg, CA indicates that it can tell things about an individual he might not even know about himself.

CA derives much of its personality data on online surveys which it conducts on an ongoing basis. For each political client, the firm narrows voter segments from 32 different personality styles it attributes to every adult in the United States. The personality data informs the tone of the language used in ad messages or voter contact scripts, while additional data is used to determine voters’ stances on particular issues.

The data gets updated with monthly surveys, asking about political preferences and how people get the information they use to make decisions. It also covers consumer topics about different brands and preferred products, building up an image of how someone shops as much as how they vote.

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