New Analytic Software for an Evolving Social Media

To update Facebook’s Pages, social media marketing company Wildfire have been taken on board to develop a solution to integrate the development of Facebook Insights data with existing Pages analytics. Wildfire previously advised on the development of the Insights system, and plan to incorporate the two to enable companies to find and attract thousands more “fans” via Pages.

Additional features, according to TechCrunch, include the ability to aggregate information across fan pages, as well as introducing a new advertising format, in which users can ‘like’ and comment on advertisements themselves, and are shown adverts which their ‘friends’ have ‘liked’ – in theory making advertising more efficient given that most friends do like the same things.

It’s an interesting theory, and one that could be very successful. However, perhaps what seems to be forgotten is that people don’t always act exactly like the people they associate with. If we were all the same, how dull would the world be? The “Friends of Fans” metric enables companies to see the potential of where their advertising could reach, and also measures how effective the spread of their campaign has been through word-of-mouth (or in this case, sight-on-homepage).

Perhaps most usefully, this information will make use of the discussions between users, drawing them into another analysis category called “People Talking About This”, classing them instantly as ‘engaged users’. It all sounds very advanced and slick. But how will users feel about this somewhat imposing new system of metrics measured against their innocent idle clickings?

It’s too early to say. There are still two firmly opposing Facebook Advertising camps – the first feel that in return for the use of a free communication service, the reasonable use of their shared data is justified as a sort-of payment. The second strongly feel that as each new change is made, liberties are being taken at the expense of users’ own personal data. Facebook is certainly making some bold moves to try and stay ahead of the social commerce game, but as companies clearly own Facebook Inc.’s interests, and are being treated as their number one clients.

As we’ve said previously, it’s a dangerous step to start forgoing your users in favour of the companies who can pay for advertising. Most can advertise anywhere – once you’ve dried up they can move on, and so will your users. Without going too far into the psychology of what drives a person to update statuses or follow a certain brand, it suffices to say that it is all to easy to forget about your customers until it’s too late. There is no point in finely honing your analytics systems if by the time you look up from the graphs all your customers and clients have left to find something more modern, more spontaneous, or perhaps even just less intrusive.

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