Facebook data and new technology provide the key to tailored content

There’s little doubt of the power that Facebook wields in day-to-day public life. After all, the world’s premier social network now has its own medical condition dedicated to it. Depending on your viewpoint, the abbreviation FAD (that’s Facebook Addiction Disorder for the uninitiated) represents an ironic statement or an accurate prediction of its longevity.

One thing is for certain; that technology has changed consumer behaviour irrevocably and as a result, the amount of data that companies are able to access on their target audience has never been greater. This provides businesses with a huge challenge as they look to decipher granular behavioural insights amid an Atlantic Ocean of data.

For those that are able to split this data and analyse genuine insights, there is a wealth of benefits that can be garnered. In fact, a recent study by Cambridge University revealed the sheer volume of information that brands can gather based on Facebook users’ activity.

By analysing Facebook ‘likes’, demographic information and mixing in a healthy dose of pyschometric testing, the University was able to highlight personality traits for each user. This provided a clutch of wacky data to find a connection between a love of curly fries and higher intelligence, and unearthed the revelation that people who like the Dark Knight have fewer Facebook friends than those that don’t.

Learnings like these are all well and good, but the question for marketers is how to navigate this data and develop campaigns that deliver relevant, timely communications that will ultimately empower consumers to interact and engage with a brand.

In spite of this proliferation of personal data, many brands are still struggling to engage effectively with their target audience. The key is to seize upon consumers’ willingness to share information and capture it properly to shed light on customer behaviour and preferences. However, they need to go even further than this; rather than focusing on sentiment analysis, marketers should explore how they can identify emerging trends on a real-time basis and use data-driven insight to create customised and engaging communications.

An execution doesn’t even have to be overly elaborate to be truly effective. For example, Dominos Pizza has the ability to look at their own sales data and appreciate that more pizzas are sold in wet weather than when it is hot as pizza-lovers avoid venturing into the unwelcoming, outside world. Using this information Dominos can tailor its email marketing messages to reflect the weather forecast and tap into how this makes the target consumer feel to help drive sales.

Data provides an opportunity for brands to develop a relationship with customers and provide them with relevant communications. As such, marketers should take a holistic view of the customer journey when looking to increase engagement. By using insight gathered directly from the customer, brands can use this to establish as many on and offline touch points as possible and create a seamless, positive customer journey.

The evolution of technology has lead to an explosion in the amount of data available with 2.5 quintillion (that’s a one followed by 18 zeros) bytes of data created every day, and 90% of the world’s total data has been built in the last year. For brand and agencies this creates a need to imagine, create, build, and deliver communications differently to keep pace with customers who has never had greater control over how they interact with brands.

The Holy Grail for any marketer is true engagement. Designing a highly elaborate campaign on a large scale isn’t going to guarantee that you’ll capture the consumer’s imagination and encourage them to share more with the brand. Marketers should instead look at ways of adding value both in terms of ROI and in strengthening customer relationships overall.

Consumers now live in an ‘always on’ world. This creates a need to engage with customers, by personalising content, designed for the masses but tailored to the individual which is delivered at the right time, in the right channel with the right message.

The ‘push’ message that used to lie at the heart of marketing is outdated; instead consumers now pull brands into their world. The key is making sure consumers are actively engaging them, otherwise they risk becoming just another fad (or FAD perhaps?).

Mike Cavers, Executive Creative Director, Lateral Group.