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Facebook’s firehose of brand data

October 31, 2011

Watch Sheryl Sandeberg’s presentation at this year’s ANA Conference and you come away with the impression that Facebook believes its the leader in a communication revolution that’s transforming consumers from listeners into broadcasters.

Consumer broadcasting manifests itself in the growth of sharing and how people share daily details with each other (“the ones that create the fabric of our lives”).

The real personalization she mentioned on Facebook allows us to reach them directly on a “one-on-one” basis. She states that many brands now have more visitors to their Facebook pages than their own websites and that “pages” are the effective way to build on-going relationships through these.

Sandberg mentions that value comes from building relationships not just with those who “like” you, but also their friends.

Facebook is betting a lot on the idea that when a friend is part of a message you see- the impact is considerable – Nielsen found that people are 68% more likely to recall a message when a friend is part of the message, twice as likely to remember the message and four-times likely to purchase. This translates into Sponsored Story ads performing much better than display advertising.

Sandberg’s conclusion for brands is to think “social out”- “start with people in everything you do” and “make everything the basis of an on-going connection”. However, it would be good to do this with some data that could help you think strategically.

As Facebook’s platform continually evolves, especially with the integration of applications- like Spotify or other “tweaks” that encourage sharing of activities with friends, through these developments it’s creating a giant firehouse of data-there’s now even a data suite to explore video performance on Facebook that go beyond the 67 insights that Facebook currently provides.

To date, most of the data analysis has been based around the real-time performance of advertising and brand pages.

It’s the kind of data that enables the day-to-day optimization of a brand’s Facebook experience.

For brands that are are looking for even deeper data than Facebook provides with its insights package can look at a service like Silentale, who provide detailed data on the individuals who “like” your brand, so you can personally identify those who make the most contributions to your pages.

However, while this is important for reactive management, there’s more there to be played with as Comscore showed us in a recent blog post where they went very macro to look at the relationships between “liked” brands.

What they were working towards is building an “ecosystem” perspective brands and their closeness and connectivity to others. It’s the kind of data that explains the kind of people who “like” your brand, but also the kind of brands that are like you.

The most important thing is this data is dynamic and constantly moving, you can see at a high level where you brand is now and perhaps propose where you would like it to be-for example- who you want to move closer to, or away from?

As Facebook becomes an increasingly important part of brand communication what we suggest is that there’s a need to be looking at both the weeds and the sky- you need to know how to optimize and improve your advertising and social engagement on a daily/weekly basis, but you also need to be looking at a wide range of Facebook data sources to see how your brand’s ecosystem is evolving and developing at a macro level.



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