Facebook shares users’ conversations with marketers

By | March 13, 2015
Facebook selling conversations

Advertisers are always looking for better and better ways to target online customers. Social media is where most of the conversations occur these days. Users talk about everything from having a good day to the movies watched in the weekend to the articles that went viral. Brands are spending time and money to tap that data, make sense of it and reach out to potential customers in a smarter way.

Facebook Topic data

Content creators and online marketers have been all eyes for years for greater access to Facebook data, which traditionally has been harder to get because of the nature of most Facebook interactions. To make the marketing content more relevant for people and more effective for marketers, Facebook has announced topic data to select Facebook partners.

Facebook’s new topic data acts as a doorway for the advertisers or marketing specialist to look into the social media network data and access the database and search for keywords with which they can target people with their ads. That means that once an advertising company starts searching for a keyword, for example “pepsi”, then they would be presented with results that include age, location, likes and other personal information of users. The data Facebook offers up to these advertisers is anonymized, so your name will not be revealed in the search results, but that’s not a lot of data protection.


Facebook has joined hands with DataSift in order to launch a new analytics tool called Topic Data, which advertisers will be able to use for free. According to Mark Zuckerberg and co. “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.” But DataSift and Facebook partners who will be given access to the new tool in the U.S and the UK will still be able to access a huge amount of personal data. That includes timeline posts, status updates, conversations (although there is no clarity whether private messages will also be provided through the tool).

According to the official blog post introducing the new Topic Data tool for marketers and advertisers, “With topic data, we’ve grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity to offer insights on all the activity around the topic.” This quote sounds like private messages will also be accessible to companies for marketing purposes. Although Facebook stresses the fact that the information provided will not be used to target advertisements, it most likely will be used for that, regardless.

Facebook isn’t technically making any money out of this tool at the moment, as DataSift will be offering the service to select partners for a disclosed subscription fee. But with the tool, marketers will be able to target their ads more effectively and thus buy more advertising space on the social media network, which translates into more profit for Facebook, in the end. The tool is already launched in USA and UK and is expected to expand to other regions very soon.