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Trump digital director, originally paid $1,500 for Trump website, earned $94 million

He says the campaign used technology "better than anyone in history."
Brad Parscale Trump Campaign 2016 Election
Photo: Getty Images

It was a freelancer's dream.

In 2015, website designer Brad Parscale got an email from the Trump Organization, asking if he could turn around a little project on the fly.

"It said: 'Donald Trump is thinking about running for president and we need a website in two days,'" Parscale told “60 Minutes." "So I wrote back and said, 'Yeah, I'll do it for $1,500,'" he added. "And by the end (of the election campaign) it was $94 million."

How? Parscale, who had done small freelance design projects for Trump's company since 2011, became the campaign's digital director, in charge of creating Facebook ads and other social-media advertising. Soon he was overseeing data collection and much of the campaign's fundraising. In the end, he was paid $94 million, including money spent on ads.

It was recently reported that employees of Facebook were embedded with the Trump campaign as advisers. Parscale worked with them one-on-one, along with representatives from Google and Twitter, to get out the campaign's message using the latest technology.

"I asked each one of them by email, 'I want to know every single secret button, click, technology you have, I want to know everything you would tell Hillary's campaign plus some and I want your people here to teach me how to use it,'" he told "60 Minutes," adding that he requested employees from the social-media companies who supported Donald Trump.

"We were making hundreds of thousands of them (ads on Facebook) programmatically," he told CBS. "[On an] average day [we would make] 50,000 to 60,000 ads … changing language, words, colors, changing things because certain people like a green button better than a blue button, some people like the word 'donate' over 'contribute.'"

According to Parscale, he was the one who influenced the campaign to pull resources out of Virginia, where they were losing, and Ohio, which was solidly in Trump's column, and concentrate on Wisconsin and Michigan, two traditionally Democratic strongholds that narrowly swung to Trump and cinched him the election. "I took every nickel and dime I could out of anywhere else. And I moved it to Michigan and Wisconsin. And I started buying advertising, digital, TV," he said.

It's all ironic considering that in the days leading up to the election, commentators had written off Trump entirely, often mentioning his lack of ground game. But Parscale credits himself with running the best social-media political campaign ever.

"These social platforms were all invented by very liberal people on the West and East Coasts and we figured out how to use it to push conservative values," he told "60 Minutes."

"I don't think they thought that would ever happen. I would say the number one thing people come up to me (and say) is … 'I just never thought Republicans would be the ones to figure out how to use all of this.' And I think we used it better than anyone ever had in history."

 
 
 
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