This week Facebook announced a new insight product called topic data, which Facebook says will “show marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities.”.
Up until now, we’ve had a really limited view on what we can get out of Facebook in terms of data, and it’s been nearly impossible to get the full picture of consumer conversation as so much has been inaccessible. Listening tools like Sysomos and Brandwatch do currently aggregate Facebook data – but only public data from Facebook pages and profiles with open security settings. Which meant Facebook was a bit of a black hole for consumer insight.
But that’s all changing…
As of now, Facebook topic data allows marketers and analysts to find out what people are saying, even from private status updates. Facebook has partnered with DataSift to aggregate and anonymise user data, delivering topic data through its PYLON for Facebook Topic Data product.
What we need to know
- The data is anonymised – you wont be able to see who said what
- To that effect topic data will only be of value for consumer insight and research – not monitoring and responding, or direct targeting of ads
- But we will be able to see demographics (gender, age range, self-declared location) to help us segment and interpret the data intelligently
- At least 100 different users have to match a query for it to get delivered
- It doesn’t include Messenger – private messaging app data still remains a blind spot
- It’s currently unclear just how much we will be able to play with the data – according to Facebook “results delivered to marketers are analyses and interpretations of the information, not actual topic data.”
- It’s currently only available in the US and UK (data limited to these markets too)
What we can do
Now we can finally get our hands on the goldmine that is private Facebook data, but what can we do with it?
Here are three examples off the top of my head of how Facebook topic data can be used to boost social intelligence.
- An automotive brand can use it to see which competitor models potential customers are weighing up against their own when they’re talking about buying a new car
- A hardware retailer can see demographics on the people talking about putting up shelves to help with content planning
- A beauty brand can see what colour eyeshadow is getting people talking this season
It’s still early days, with vendors like Synthesio exploring the possibilities of integrating the DataSift API. I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it – such a huge opportunity to build an even richer picture of today’s consumer.
Image: Andrew Kuznetsov @ Flickr