How Cambridge Analytica deployed its toughest data machinery in the 2013 Kenyan presidential election


Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data-driven political consultancy firm which helped Trump ascend to power and most recently in the BREXIT referendum vote is boasting of the work it did in the 2013 Kenyan presidential election.

Using data to find, understand, and engage with and persuade voters, CA has boasted how it offered a fully end-to-end campaign package for a presidential candidate (Uhuru Kenyatta in cap on the case study) in the 2013 General Elections even as sources close to the presidential campaign team deny arrogantly.

“Ahead of the 2013 Kenyan presidential election, CA designed and implemented the largest political research project ever conducted in East Africa. Sampling and interviewing 47,000 respondents, CA was able to draft an effective campaign strategy based on the electorate’s real needs (jobs) and fears (tribal violence),” the firm posted in a case study on its website.

According to the firm, the the challenge was that the 2013 general election was the first after the infamous 2008 post-election violence and the country had just had a new constitution among other fears.

The firm said it was contracted by a leading Kenyan political party to help shift things around.

“The aim was to provide the party with a comprehensive plan to shape its election strategy,” the firm announced. “We worked with a local research partner to train a diverse team of enumerators to ensure regional variations in language and social customs were respected during data collection.”

Cambridge Analytica then embarked on a nationwide data collection spree over the space of three months and an overall sample of 47,000 was achieved.

The result, CA profiled the Kenyan electorate, including: key national and local political issues, levels of trust in key politicians, voting behaviours/intentions, and preferred information channels. To connect with this audience, CA’s communications and strategy team devised an online social media campaign to generate a hugely active online following.

Though it’s fine for a firm to engage consultants for their political campaigns, CA is infamous across the world for its unorthodox methods on voters, opposition, and trends and use of voter behavior for finding, understanding, and persuading them to vote a certain way.

The firm uses the data from both public and private sources to segment voters into distinct audiences to deliver highly targeted experiences to prospects and sway regions to convince and influence their voting behavior. The firm even uses  psychographic analysis to engage audiences, profile lookalike prospects among others for targeted advertising across desktop, mobile, tablet and connected TV devices through display, video, Facebook, Twitter, native, audio, interactive and search.

“We use full cross device placement to reach your customers wherever they are. We also match our target audiences to TV set-top box data to optimize linear broadcast media buys.
We ably place digital and TV ads to bring your candidates closer to their electorate. The visuals and language in each piece are crafted to engage voters emotionally and impactfully,” says the in-depth audience targeting firm.