Facebook has announced topic data, a new set of information for marketers to help them understand what their audience is talking about.
Matt Southern, journalist for Search Engine Journal, said: "As marketers, the more data we have the more targeted our messaging can be. Knowing what your audience is saying about topics related to your business can be a valuable source of consumer insight."
Facebook said: "Topic data shows marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities."
It said marketers could use the information to learn:
- The related issues a demographic is discussing
- The products an audience is talking about
- The sentiment towards a brand
While this information has been available in the past, Facebook claims the sample size was always too small and the demographics nearly impossible to determine.
It added that this data is useful for guidance but cannot be used to target ads directly, privacy being a concern.
What about privacy?
Facebook says that any personal information stays private.
It said: "We are not disclosing personally identifying information to anyone, including our partners and marketers."
To provide the information with privacy, Facebook has partnered with DataSift, the San Francisco-based big data company whose specialty is social media.
DataSift says it is committed to consumer privacy; on its website it claims its technology "allows you to capture, analyze and act on all the types of Human Data, without compromising consumer trust."
For now, topic data is only available to a limited number of DataSift's partners in the UK and the US, but will eventually extend its availability to more territories and beyond.
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