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Perspectives | Issue 6

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

The Worldwide Water Cooler

July 15, 2016

The power of ‘Like’: How Facebook’s one billion users can transform your brand.

With 1.09 billion daily active users, Facebook is like a giant water cooler—a go-to place to hear and participate in the interactions around the events, brands and trends that frame our lives.
This would be a veritable goldmine for market and public opinion researchers, except that no one has ever had access to the billions of posts, likes, comments and shares that populate the vast Facebook platform. The best that researchers could do was analyze content posted to a public page or classified specifically by users as ‘public’ posts—and these posts make up a mere five per cent of the content on Facebook.
Since privacy is crucial to Facebook’s business model and maintaining consumer trust, what people are sharing and engaging around on the platform will continue to be hidden from social media monitoring services.
While still respecting users’ personal privacy, Navigator now has full access to anonymous and aggregated Facebook topic data, something that can give companies and organizations a look at what people are interacting around, what ideas and products are trending and how people are reacting to issues and events of the day.
This new capability respects individual privacy by ensuring that no one is identified in the data and that the content is never removed from Facebook.
But such data is a powerful tool for companies and organizations. Following are three ways that Navigator’s capability to analyze this data can apply to what businesses and organizations need:
Reputation management
The ability to analyze Facebook topic data gives companies that need help managing their reputations amid crises an additional item in their toolboxes.
As an example, a company that faced a public protest campaign could up to now analyze the public’s input on Twitter and in blogs, but these sources lack demographic insight and don’t accurately measure the impact. Now, Navigator can build a filter to capture Facebook interactions related to the issue, assessing which demographics are engaging, whether these people are representative of the wider population and the brand’s target audiences, and how these interactions might translate to real-world action.
For instance, in the data we capture, we might discover that women over the age of 65 were engaging with the issue more often than others, and more than they typically do on other topics. We would then develop appropriate messaging targeted to that group and its specific concerns.
We can analyze the links to news stories about the issue, and because we are tagging the company’s products, we also discover that certain products are being associated with the crisis more than others. We would then work on a mitigation strategy to give those products more support, with the aim of stopping a boycott before the idea gains any traction.
As these examples show, the opportunities are limitless. We are excited to offer this groundbreaking data to our clients.
Transforming an advertising strategy
By analyzing potentially millions of Facebook interactions and examining the platform’s topic data, companies can transform their advertising strategies to best reach their target audiences.
For example, a company sponsoring an international sporting event and planning to run a significant Facebook ad campaign can work with Navigator to use Facebook topic data to understand how different audiences are engaging with athletes, individual sports and the company’s brand and sponsors.
The results can show what is being interacted around and where, so that advertising strategies can be tailored to suit regional markets, or to shift sponsorships and ad campaigns to the demographic segments that are most receptive.
Getting to know your target audience
The new capability helps companies capture information about the demographic that is talking about and buying their products or services.
For example, based on previous research, a company in the food business that wants to launch an ad campaign for a new snack brand associated with a major sports league might think its target audience is males under 25. It might also assume that the most buzz around the food would occur just before the start of a big game in that league.
Working with the company, Navigator would develop tests of Facebook data to see if those assumptions were correct. One test might then reveal that, in fact, based on actual interactions around the snack brand itself, the most engaged demographic is women aged 35 to 64, and not men 18 to 24. As well, the tests show that excitement doesn’t peak just prior to the event, but, rather, six hours earlier. It would clearly be advantageous to buy advertising time six hours before the event—and target those ads to women (who might be purchasing the snack food before the big game) than to increase ad buys during the game.

What is Facebook Topic Data?

Facebook topic data shows what people are sharing and engaging around on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities, all in a way that keeps personal information private. This is the first time that insights from the entirety of the platform have been available. With this information, you can make better decisions about how to communicate and market to your target audiences on Facebook and other channels.

How is it different from Page Insights?

Facebook’s page insights help you understand demographics and engagements that occur on your Facebook page. Facebook topic data lets you understand engagements happening across the rest of Facebook.

How is it different from audience insights?

Facebook’s audience insights help you zoom in on what a particular demographic group is interested in. Facebook topic data lets you analyze content being shared in a way that is fully customizable, with brand and industry-specific tagging, scoring and methodologies.

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