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How Facebook topic data is transforming the marketing strategies of businesses


In March 2015, Facebook introduced ‘topic data’, a useful tool for businesses when it comes to understanding what matters most to their audiences. Topic data is a helpful addition to any marketing strategy, and a powerful ally when utilised correctly. So what is topic data, why is it important, and how can it be effectively implemented to work for your business?

Defining topic data

According to Facebook, topic data “shows marketers what audiences are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities, all in a way that keeps personal information private”. With topic data, Facebook has “grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity (not including Messenger) to offer insights on all the activity around a topic”.

While the idea behind topic data isn’t exactly new, Facebook’s sample size is broader and more comprehensive than its predecessors. It is the entire stream of conversation on a subject. Additionally, Facebook has partnered with DataSift to present the collected, anonymised information in a way that is easily digested, with a wide range of graphs and visualisations available.

Why it’s useful to you

The benefits of market research cannot be denied, and Facebook’s topic data is so useful to marketers because it gives them valuable, in-depth insights to those they’re marketing to. Obviously, having extensive knowledge of an audience will lead to a more customised marketing approach, and a greater success rate – whether your endeavours are digital, offline, ad-based or otherwise.

Matthew Idema, Facebook’s director for ads product marketing, says topic data was created specifically “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.”

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that topic data includes all the features professionals could want. Subscribers can view results through filters such as age, gender, location, sentiment and more. Topic data counts are also updated to the minute, and the service runs on a rolling 30-day window.

Topic data in action

The technology behind topic data is so precise that you can find out what people are saying right now, across the globe. For example, if you’re a business that’s selling moisturising lotion, topic data can show you demographics on the people talking about the harshness of winter air (or of summer sun) on their skin so that you can better understand your consumers and their concerns.

A franchise business can listen to the market through topic data and find out if there are potential owners who may be interested in taking on a store. This insight can help with the overall B2B marketing strategy and assist with forecasting.

Listening to voices locally or abroad is also advantageous when attempting to gauge attitudes towards your brand. Are you well liked or have you fallen out of favour? Should you keep doing what you’re doing or do you need to work on public relations?

Topic data could be extremely helpful for your business. You should take some time to explore whether or not this new and exciting feature is right for you.

About the author

Raeleen Hooper is the general manager for the Snap Franchise Group and as part of the executive team, she  is working to transform the business from instant print outlets to becoming the leading brand in print, design and websites.