Facebook goes IPO this Friday. This milestone event has me thinking. With 900 million active users generating terabytes of data each day, how valuable is Facebook data?
I do believe Facebook advertisers and application developer gain real value from Facebook data to in order to grow and stay competitive. For example, a Facebook game developer can improve customer loyalty because its customers are Facebook users who grant permission to access their private data such as posts and comments to perform sentiment analysis.
But unless you are a Facebook advertiser or application developer, how can you accurately measure sentiment from Facebook data? And if used, can it lead to bad decision making? I believe so. Most user profiles on Facebook are not public; therefore, you obtain a very small sample size of sentiment from your customers. Not all Facebook users post or comment on public group or fan pages; therefore, you again obtain a small sample size of sentiment.
Let me give you an example. A retailer uses Facebook to capture customer sentiment and discovers negative sentiment for its Mother’s Day Spa Basket through conversations on its public fan page and other related public conversations. To keep customers loyal and happy, the retailer sends a $10 gift card to all customers who had purchased the Mother’s Day Spa Basket. In reality, perhaps only a small percentage of customers are unhappy. As a result, it costs more for the retailer to offer gift cards than it costs to lose a small percentage of its customers.
Enough about my perspective on the value of Facebook “Big Data”. Instead, lets hear from Facebook directly, the master of leveraging Big Data to successfully grow its business. Greg Dingle, Software Engineer at Facebook, provides a glimpse into how analysts at Facebook leverage Big Data to deliver a value to Facebook users.
What is your role at Facebook?