Online “Chatter Data” is Big Data Gold

Brands are extremely interested in finding out what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a kind of real-time knowledge that Facebook, for one, has the ability to capture — and share.

As Facebook becomes more global and more mobile-centric, it’s also becoming more versed at laying customer data over advertiser data and third-party data.

One outcome is more customized experiences for its users. Another is a better ability to reach specific demographics for its advertisers.

But a third outcome is the ability to “listen in” on what Facebook users, in the aggregate, are talking about, and to report that information back to brands and marketers. This is what media companies call “chatter data.” It’s very valuable, and it’s something that Facebook has the potential to offer in spades.

“The kind of digital media we’re seeing a lot of asks-for from agencies and from clients and from media companies is around chatter data,” said Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, in a recent interview with MIT Sloan Management Review.

“Chatter data is what people are talking about when they’re watching television or when they’re watching a sporting event,” he continued. “What kind of reaction are they having? Are brand mentions included? How are brands representing themselves in that kind of chatter? What kind of, say, hair color? That might affect a hair care company.”

Chandlee added: “That kind of real-time knowledge and opening up pipes for brands or their agencies and consultants and others to access that data to inform decision making is key. But privacy will always be the primary underlying consideration, which everybody has to consider because the consumer backlash if they find you using their data inappropriately is significant and quick.”

In the interview, “How Facebook is Delivering Personalization on a Whole New Scale” by Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane, Chandlee said that Facebook is working with brands such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever to help them understand their consumers in newly detailed ways.

“Procter & Gamble might want to see data about users of hair care products and we can help them understand through our Insights platform the kinds of folks that are talking about their brands or engaging with their brands on Facebook,” he said.

“We aggregate the data so there’s no personal identifiable information shared, and help them understand what their consumers are talking about — the kind of television shows they’re watching, the kind of music they like listening to,” he said. “That kind of information for a brand is very, very powerful. It helps them make a lot of different decisions around product development and communication strategies.”

For advertising agencies, Facebook is providing similar types of information. “We can help them understand frequency curves around media planning, deep insights if they overlay with some insights they have through their own proprietary insights platforms,” said Chandlee. “Again, helping them to help their brands in being more knowledgeable about people and their consumer base.”

Chandlee emphasized that the insights Facebook is able to provide brands and advertising agencies is increasing thanks to the use of mobile devices. “Today, we think mobile first,” said Chandlee. “This fundamental shift of the entire user experience is trickling down to not only our users but to our advertisers. Two years ago, we had zero ad business in the mobile environment. Now well over half of our revenue is mobile. We think between ourselves and Google, we’ve effectively shifted mobile into the forefront. And we think brands are benefitting from that because the user experience and the way brands engage with consumers in mobile is very different than a desktop experience.”

For more about how Facebook is able to deliver nuanced information to brands and marketers, read the full interview.