Those who use social listening platforms will likely tell you that Twitter is a very important playground for your business on social media. They’re not exactly wrong, but they’ve been hoodwinked into believing just how important it is.
Take a look at any social listening scan for the sources of the data and Twitter can account for half, two-thirds, three-fourths or more of the social media conversations.
Things Are Changing…
But the social listening platforms have conveniently forgotten to stress that they do not index the vast majority of Facebook, which is hidden behind privacy firewalls. At the Conversation Research Institute, our testing shows that anywhere from 45% to 90% of all conversations about a given topic online happen on Facebook.
We’re missing that understanding. And we don’t have much time before our only look into it will be gone.
Facebook has told social listening partners it will sunset its search access, broadly known as Facebook Topic Data, in September of this year. I, for one, am disheartened by the news since I spend most of my days deciphering online conversations for brands. Facebook Topic Data is the only way to see what conversations look like on the world’s largest social network
But there is a glimmer of hope and it comes in the form of Facebook Advertising. More specifically, Facebook Ad Manager.
A Brave New Facebook Targeting Option
When Facebook Topic Data is sunset in September, there will likely be an entirely new suite of products offered by a handful of Facebook’s partners that add more depth and breadth to its advertising targeting features.
I’m told by multiple people at a half dozen companies that the indications are that the added feature sets will likely bring targeting based on conversation dynamics to the table.
If you read the tea leaves a bit, this means Facebook Topic Data wasn’t really driving the kind of revenue Facebook hoped for and is thus turning conversation data into targeting data. It will perhaps allow you to target your advertising to anyone talking about Topic A in a negative (or positive) sentiment and/or using the qualifying behavior indicators (like want, buy, hate, love, etc.).
This is all conjecture on my part. But it is also hopefulness. Since Facebook’s walled garden is the most plentiful in the conversation research set, I want at it. If these advertising features are what Facebook’s partners have been challenged to create (which I think they are), then researching conversation on Facebook may not be dead.
And advertising targeting is going to get a whole lot more sophisticated by year’s end.
Whether you’re a researcher or an advertiser, the prospect is exciting. Here’s to 2017!