As of March 2015, Facebook is introducing topic data, an exciting tool for business trying to understand what matters to their audience.
What Is Topic Data?
It works by showing marketers what audiences are saying about subjects, events, brands and activities. In the past, marketers have been able to look at what their audience shares online to get an idea of what people care about.
Here are some practical examples – Imagine you are a fashion retailer. With topic data you can see exactly the types of clothes your target audience are excited about and stock accordingly. Say you are selling a hair-defrizzing product – with topic data you would be able to check out demographics on the people talking about humidity and its effect on their hair. A powerful tool indeed and one that removes a lot of guesswork.
Customers will also be able to take this a step further and see whether your audience is talking about your product on Facebook, and whether the sentiment is positive or negative.
With Facebook marketing it often seems like you are operating behind a wall that divides you and the real opinions of your audience – topic data should flatten this wall and offer some very real information on what the people that matter to you care about. It may be a little confronting, like overhearing someone talking about you when they aren’t aware you’re listening. Let’s call it character building shall we?
How Can I Use It?
This type of data has been available through third-party apps previously, but Facebook suggests the sample sizes used were far too small to offer any sort of accuracy. With topic data, they’ve grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity to offer insights on all the activity around a topic. They are suggesting this will offer marketers a holistic and actionable view of their audience “for the first time”.
Topic data provides guidance for marketers but can’t be used to target ads directly. Like other insights information on Facebook, the information used for topic data is anonymised and aggregated. Facebook are not disclosing personally identifying information to anyone, including our partners and marketers. And, the results delivered to marketers are analyses and interpretations of the information, not actual topic data.
In order to make topic data a reality, Facebook partnered with DataSift, a trusted leader in the data industry, and is using DataSift’s technology to power the platforms that turn the data into pretty insights and cool pictograph thingies.
Can I Get It?
Short answer is no. It is being rolled out across the UK and US to a limited number of already-existing DataSift customers and once its performance has been evaluated, we’re likely to see it here in Australia. It is highly likely such a useful and potentially powerful tool will cost businesses that choose to use it, but that would be a small price to pay to have such powerful information at your fingertips.
This is news every Facebook marketer should be wildly excited about. The ability to better understand your audiences needs and desires means you know what your audience actually wants before you design an ad campaign. It will lift the veil and remove much of the guesswork from Facebook advertising without compromising the privacy rights of your audience.