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Trump’s digital campaign director was paid $1,500 to set up his election website. Then he raked in $94 million when Trump won

Brad Parscale started his digital career in bookstores, tapping people on the shoulder while they were browsing the web design section and pitching them his own website creation services.

Then one day in 2011, he was eating an omelette when he received an email from the Trump Organization asking him to pitch for a web design project for one of Donald Trump's real estate projects. Other assignments followed until 2015, when another email arrived.

"It said: 'Donald Trump is thinking about running for president and we need a website in two days,'" Parscale told CBS News' "60 Minutes," which aired Sunday.

"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."

Brad Parscale, who was the Trump campaign's digital director, at Trump Tower in November 2016
The Washington Post | Getty Images
Brad Parscale, who was the Trump campaign's digital director, at Trump Tower in November 2016

Parscale ended up becoming Trump's digital director, the man behind the social media advertising strategy that helped win the election. And that $1,500 project reaped massive rewards: His company ended up being paid $94 million, including the money spent on advertising during Trump's campaign.

The interview also revealed that staff from Facebook, Google and Twitter spent time working at Trump's campaign offices, collaborating with Parscale on reaching potential voters.

"I asked each one of them by email, (I said:) '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 CBS.

"I would ask them to be Republicans and I would talk to them. I wanted people who supported Donald Trump from their companies."

Trump's customized Facebook ads

Parscale created highly targeted Facebook advertising, testing each one to see which would receive the most clicks. "We were making hundreds of thousands of them (ads on Facebook) programmatically. … (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.'"

Trump himself has accused Facebook of being against him, via Twitter. But Parscale claimed that Trump's election campaign used social media tools "better than anyone ever had in history."

"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 CBS.

"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."

Facebook updated its newsroom's "Hard Questions" page on Sunday, saying: "We offered identical support to both the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and had teams assigned to both. Everyone had access to the same tools, which are the same tools that every campaign is offered.

"The campaigns did not get to 'handpick' the people who worked with them from Facebook. And no one from Facebook was assigned full-time to the Trump campaign, or full-time to the Clinton campaign. Both campaigns approached things differently and used different amounts of support."