Facebook boasts more than 1.39 billion monthly active users worldwide, hence virtually every brand’s pursuit to perfect the use of this incredible tool. Even more impressive is the nearly 5 billion pieces of content are shared on the platform every single day. With all of those people and all of that activity, it goes without saying that marketing opportunity is present and plentiful. Small businesses, major corporations, and every size in between are looking for the best way to propel their company to new heights.
Last week, Facebook announced the roll out of a brand new product that has marketers worldwide licking their lips. It’s called Topic Data and it could truly break the boundaries in consumer information collection and distribution. The fact that Facebook is chock-full of user data is clear, but now marketers will be able to leverage this data and exploit it using things like product insights, demographic profiling, and general user opinion.
Topic Data could give new meaning to an “effective campaign” and we can’t wait to learn more.
What We Know Now
Facebook is a place where opinions run wild. For the average consumer, these opinions are seemingly just personal thoughts and beliefs. For the average marketer, these opinions are valuable pieces of data that clues their company into customer preferences and buying trends that have proven to be instrumental in dictating their next move. A general consensus from your target market on Facebook is a roadmap for internal improvements, a cheat sheet for the customer service department, and a goldmine for the product development team. But up until now, surveying the general consensus was easier said than done.
So, how does it all work? Facebook joined forces with a social-data company called DataSift who will extract information from the social platform and then make it accessible for analytics firms. Once this happens, these analytics firms will be able to analyze the insight from DataSift, wrap it in a pretty box, and sell it to their clientele. Companies seeking this analytical information will pay DataSift for Topic Data and prices will vary dependent upon the volume of requested data. For now, DataSift does not pay Facebook for access to their data, however, we predict this may change quickly.
As companies begin to tap into the vast capabilities of Topic Data, they will find great value in things like:
- Consumer opinion on your product(s)
- Consumer opinion on your brand
- Industry trends, and specific insight into products within that industry
- Consumer opinion within your demographic regarding your product(s), your brand, and the industry
- Consumer complaints about specific product defects
- Consumer suggestions for product improvement
For those companies who were already running ads on Facebook, some of this probably seems like old news, but Topic Data takes this concept to a whole new level. User habits are available to any company with a Facebook ads campaign, but now advertisers are going to have access to that information across the board. Topic Data opens the door to brand research, making the tool a massive development for marketers worldwide.
What We Predict for the Future
Together, Facebook and DataSift will transform the way marketers and companies consume and digest information. The U.S. and the U.K. are the first to reap the benefits of Topic Data and this will directly correlate with better products and better advertisements. Twitter has been supplying this information for quite some time, but the big difference with Facebook’s entrance into the data delivering space is privacy. Topic Data will be aggregating and then anonymizing personal information in order to keep Facebook’s insights private. Brands will get to sink their teeth into all of the calculated results without knowing the contents of the equation.
Marketers eager to tap into Topic Data should be thinking about its value tomorrow, not today. We surmise that Topic Data’s real potential has yet to be seen and that it will be most significant in product development. This type of social intelligence has been kept in a Facebook’s most secure walls, protected and safeguarded from the public. Now that Topic Data has been unleashed, the race begins for marketers to make the most of the newly accessible data.
Some of the most important takeaways from the release of Topic Data are:
- A larger sample size, so greater significance in data
- Demographic insight is aggregated for incredible accuracy
- Information will likely lead to improvements for marketing on every possible channel
- Potential opportunity for new analytics and data interpretation companies to jump into the game
As companies take the information gathered from Topic Data and apply it to their product lines, consumers are going to get almost exactly what they want. When the general consensus on Facebook becomes something like, “I wish Nike’s running shorts had a less elastic waistband”, Nike will likely come out with a line of running shorts with a less elastic waistband. But it goes a step further. Nike will also be able to use Topic Data information to cultivate advertisements that target the exact people who seek these products. The future of product development and marketing is very much here.
Topic Data speaks volumes for the direction that marketing and sales are moving in. As the guesswork in ad campaigns and product releases become more and more obsolete, successful marketing and fruitful sales will become more and more predictable. When talking to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s director of ads product marketing, Matthew Idema, said, “This is in response to interest we’ve been getting from marketers. They’ve been asking us to provide insights to help them generate more effective campaigns on and off of Facebook.” Thanks for listening, Facebook, now it’s time to get to work.