Facebook Wants To Track, Enumerate, and Calculate Your Existence

Mark  Ryan

September 26, 2011

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Six weeks ago I blogged about that lack of good analytics on social sites.  Since then, Twitter has announced a new more powerful analytics platform and last week Facebook did as well.  The new Open Graph functionality, announced at F8 last week by the infamous and goofy Zuckerberg, could turn out to be the most powerful step forward in marketing Web Analytics since page tags were popularized.  While most analytics today focus on the steps that lead to a conversion event, the Open Graph analytics seem to bring in more extended social interaction, such as how many of your customer’s friends clicked on a stream impression. This shows marketers not only which customers are the most vocal but also which customers are the most influential over what their friends click on and buy.  Marketers have always understood that value of positive referrals, but never had accurate tools to track that sort of activity - Facebook is trying to change that.

How will companies use this new data?

Netflix was at F8 announcing that it will try to use the new analytics (if it can get through some privacy hoops with the US government).  Facebook analytics will allow Netflix to see what users watched, when they watched it, how they reacted, and how different types of viewers are connected.  My mind is racing with opportunities at this marriage.

Almost all the way through your second season of Tudors and not sure if you should rent Season 3? Well, your friend from high school that has similar tastes as you is watching Season 3 and can give you some feedback. In essence, Facebook may be able to give Netflix the ability to deliver highly relevant, highly connected customer referrals and the ability to track these types of interactions in aggregate.

While the new Facebook analytics and the new Twitter analytics still lack important functions such as custom reporting, integration with traditional analytics tools, and strong custom querying tools - I am excited to see these powerful platforms expanding their analytics capabilities and anxious to see what marketers do with these new insights.