Topic data allows marketers on the social network to drill down into data of what users are saying about events, brands, subjects and activities.
For example, a fashion retailer can see the clothing items its target audience is talking about to decide which products to stock.
On days when everyone’s posting status updates about a dress a certain celebrity is wearing, a brand could step up its ad spend knowing it’s the perfect time to reach potential customers. Sentiment, location, volume of mentions and words often mentioned alongside a brand can be pulled, too.
Because much of Facebook’s data is private, unlike Twitter, offering Topic Data in a privacy-safe way is a top concern and this may explain why Facebook waited for so long to offer this function that brands have been longing for. To ensure that personal information is not given out, Topic Data is aggregated and made anonymous, so that brands can’t know or piece together exactly who said what.
It is important to note that topic data provides guidance for marketers but it cannot be used to target ads directly. Marketers can’t instantly turn a query’s results into ad targeting, but can set their ads to appear to people in similar demographics. Beyond just buying ads, Facebook hopes brands will discover things people want that they don’t make yet, and move to develop these new products.
“When marketers have a deeper understanding of people and what they are interested in, they can create more relevant experiences for their audiences. We focus on providing WPP’s clients with insights into what people say and think about their brands and products. By looking at topic data, we empower brands to make smarter marketing decisions. And we’ve worked with DataSift for some time—the way they cleverly collect and organize data continues to make it simple for WPP to ingest, connect and leverage it across the agency network.” — Nick Nyhan, CEO of WPP’s Data Alliance