Facebook IQ Live promoting consumer insight data in a city near you

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In a major effort to improve the quality and results of its collaboration with advertising agencies, Facebook has launched a consumer research service called Facebook IQ. This month a Facebook IQ Live road show tour demonstrated the program’s strength to key ad industry players.

“With more than 1.39 billion people on Facebook, spending an average of 36 minutes per day on the platform, we are able to offer information about consumer attitudes and behaviors that marketers are unable to find elsewhere,” Facebook writes. “We provide marketers [with] a true understanding of people—who they are, what they do and why they do it—and we do this all in a privacy-safe manner. We look at what drives people to stop, look, feel, share, do and buy. We then translate what these insights mean for brands.”

The initiative uses input from sociologists, data scientists, trend spotters, anthropologists and other researchers to combine Facebook’s massive trove of user data with outside research to generate useful insights into consumer demographics and behavior. This data can be valuable to both B2C and B2B firms.

“Anybody can go out and commission extensive third-party research,” Erin Hunter Sills, Facebook’s director of consumer insights, told Advertising Age in an interview at the Chicago event. But Sills said integrating such research with Facebook’s data “gives us what we think is unique insight on why people do what they do.”

“If we are able to tell marketers more about what consumers are doing, then they’ll be better in using our platform for advertising,” added Sills.

Facebook IQ Live has included recent stops in New York and Chicago, where more than 200 agency representatives were in attendance. There are plans for a Los Angeles visit, followed by trips to key overseas markets so that Facebook can personally introduce mid-level staffers at ad agencies to the program’s data analysis capabilities.

In one case study, Facebook analyzed relationship status updates of more than 75,000 Australians  on and around Valentine’s Day. Data analysis showed that over the four days following Valentine’s Day, more than 12,000 people changed their status to “married” and 13,000 others changed theirs from “single” to “in a relationship.” The research also found that more than half of the people discussing Valentine’s Day gifts fall into the coveted 18-34 age group.

How does this relate to improving relationships and results with ad agencies? IBIS data found Australians spend about AU$790 million (about US$725 million) on Valentine’s Day, including romantic getaways, candlelight dinners, jewelry, chocolates and other tokens of undying love.

Capitalizing on these “moments that matter,” as Facebook calls them, means a lot of business for companies across a wide spectrum of industries, and information gleaned from smarter data analysis translates into more precise ad targeting and a bigger share capture of those all-important Millennials.

Facebook also hopes the initiative will help repair a long-standing rift with ad agencies and correct the widely-held perception that Facebook is difficult to work with. One of the most commonly-heard complaints about Facebook involves the company’s practice of skipping agencies and going directly to brands, while other social platforms have forged solid partnerships with agencies. Last year, for example, Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Omnicom announced a deal believed to be worth in the $40 million range.

According to Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of digital marketing agency 360i, Facebook is on the right track. Hofstetter told Advertising Age Facebook has made “tremendous strides in improving agency relations.” A key aspect of this, said Hofstetter, was learning to “speak marketer language while also being true to the benefits and metrics of their platform.”

Those benefits are important—and lucrative—enough that Facebook may have just figured out how to mend its frayed relationship with ad agencies eager for their piece of the action.

Photo via Facebook

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for U.S. news. Based in San Francisco, he is the editor and publisher of Moral Low Ground and is a Yahoo! Featured Political Contributor.