“Passively” extracting data from user profiles on social networks has been a head-scratching issue for network owners and marketers alike. It typically makes users feel uncomfortable when targeted ads on social networks seemingly have to do with something that would only be known through their profile information, and such privacy issues make it difficult for advertisers to move beyond this obstacle.
As we’ve seen with programs like Facebook Beacon, a great deal of backlash can arise from anything that remotely resembles prying, and betraying a user’s trust on a social network is among the most taboo of actions a network or marketer can do. What’s the workaround? Facebook applications have been introduced and leveraged as good ways for brands to interact with users, but this doesn’t seemingly take a lot of data from profiles. But is there a correlation to user profile data and branding opportunities?
A newly released study from BLiNQ Media suggests that there is a relationship between accessible user profile data and the ability to predict your behavior with a gifting application. It’s generally assumed that more active users are the same users that will be the most active for a given application. But the BLiNQ study suggests otherwise.
Taking in data from over 9 million users with a collective 117 million records, the BLiNQ study shows that a small percentage of the users account for the majority of application activity. BLiNQ has also found that the top 50% of high activity users of the studied social media application were 32 years of age or older. Men are also more likely to be heavy application users, though females represent the largest group of users on the application. And Facebook wall activity has no direct correlation with the level of activity within the studied application.
What does this mean for marketers? Determining which users to target on Facebook can be a tricky business and may not always go along with what most consider to be common sense. While the type of profile information BLiNQ considered for its study isn’t intrusive, the overarching goal here is to display ways in which marketers can take the data available to them and create better applications with better targeting methods. Instead of finding more integral ways in which to display ads throughout a user profile, leverage existing data and make better applications.
It’s also interesting that BLiNQ used a gifting application for this particular study, which could have direct implications on the virtual goods economies that are sprouting up on Facebook and all the other major social networks. Gifting applications are especially promising for brands as they provide socially integrated ways in which to push information through a social graph. While the BLiNQ study only looks at one gifting application in particular, the findings can be applied to a number of gifting applications across social networks, and across other Facebook applications in general.
If you’d like more information on BLiNQ’s full report, click here. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter as well, as we discuss several topics pertaining to marketing issues and findings that are specific to Facebook.