Facebook to mine user data for marketers

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Facebook to mine user data for marketers

Partners with DataSift for 'Topic Data' product.

Facebook has partnered with human data intelligence firm DataSift to offer a new data mining product to companies for marketing purposes.

The social media giant's 'Topic Data' product will trawl through the company's trove of user data to allow businesses to get customer feedback on their products and services.

Facebook said it had been pushed to launch such a product by marketers, who were keen to learn what users were saying about their brands, services and activities.

The company said the collected information was anonymised and aggregated so no data could be traced back to individual users.

Businesses are already able to target their advertising across Facebook, but the Topic Data product will provide companies with insights to help them inform product development or which audiences to target.

"While this type of data has been available from third parties before, the sample size was often too small to be significant and determining demographics was nearly impossible," Facebook said in a blog post.

"With Topic Data, we’ve grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity (not including Messenger) to offer insights on all the activity around a topic. That means marketers get a holistic and actionable view of their audience for the first time."

It used the example of a fashion retailer being able to learn which clothing items its target audience was discussing in order to decide which products to stock.

Facebook will provide DataSift with access to the data for free in the interim, the company said.

DataSift will then aggregate and anonymise the information to sell on to clients. The data is accessed through a new application programming interface (API) DataSift created for the product, dubbed 'Pylon'.

The company will charge marketers in a tiered structure depending on the volume of data requested.

DataSift said it was already offering the product to companies including Oracle, social media management firm Hootsuite and social media analytics company Sysomos.

Topic Data is only currently only available to a limited number of DataSift’s partners in the US and UK. 

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