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Facebook as a research tool

May 17, 2010

Recently, we were looking at a Quick Service Restaurants target market. In their minds, they were about a 50/50 proposition with males and females. Most QSR’s need to walk the road between males and female, they might attract more women, but men eat more, and more often.

Anyway, I turned to Facebook looking for some data. If anything, social media offers a tremendous amount of data, and that data can be turned into some pretty cool moments. For reasons of privacy, I’m not going to divulge the name of the QSR – the name doesn’t matter anyway, it can be any brand.

I started by looking at their Facebook page. It had a fairly decent amount of people on it, so it could be used to get a snap shot.

I started with all the people who posted something on the wall, and copied their profile picture. The people who post on a Facebook wall of a QSR fit into two groups. The first are the ones who have moved away, and miss the experience.

“you need to open one up in Singapore”, they post.

The second are a group of people who are one level above fans. They don’t just like the brand, they like it enough to post their thoughts. These people can tell a brand a lot about itself, even anecdotally.

I didn’t try to separate these two people, although that might have told a story too. Instead, I decided to separate man and women. On the left, I stuck the women. On the right, I stuck the men.

I didn’t know what story the data was going to tell, so I just kept doing it. Here’s the snapshot:

When we showed the image above to the client, there was an audible gasp. They were shocked that the people who posted to their wall skewed to strongly to women.

Admittedly, this is anecdotal, and you would not want to move all marketing money to women, or change the experience to suit men. What is next is digging deeper. This is a snapshot, but it should be explored for all categories because the data tells a nice story.

As more and more people use social media, there’s more data out there. I seriously want to be a Context Developer when I grow up, and sift through this data to come up with actionable insights for clients.

Have you created aha moments using social media data?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2010 2:50 pm

    We have launched the first Web-based tool for studying Facebook news feeds:
    http://discovertext.com/

    For tips on how to use it:
    http://help.discovertext.com/

    ~Stu

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