SOCIAL BIG DATA: Each Social Network Is Using A Very Different Data Lens To Understand Users And Target Advertising

The average global internet user spends two and a half hours daily on social media, and information on their activity — gathered under the catch-all ‘big data’ — reveals a great deal about what makes them tick.

Now, social networks are making significant investments in putting this data to work to deliver personalised content, and help advertisers hyper-target users.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we take a close look at the kinds of information each of the biggest social networks collects on its users, and how that data fits into the overall strategy of each network. Each social network has a distinct character, and views its users through a very different data lens, which informs ad and content targeting. By understanding each social network’s data profile, marketers and developers can better gauge which social network is better for their purposes.

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Here are some of the unique pieces of data each social network is collecting:

  • Facebook’s interest/social graph: The world’s largest online community collects more data via its API than any other social network. Facebook’s “like” button is pressed 2.7 billion times every day across the web, revealing what people care about.
  • Google+’s relevance graph: The number of “+1s” and other Google+ data are now a top factor in determining how a Web page ranks in Google search results.
  • LinkedIn’s talent graph: At least 22% of LinkedIn users have between 500-999 first-degree connections on the social network, and 19% have between 301-499.The rich professional data is helping LinkedIn build a “talent graph.”
  • Twitter’s news graph: At its peak late last year the social network was processing 143,199 tweets per second globally. This firehose of tweets provide a real-time window into the news and information that people care about. Fifty-two per cent of Twitter users in the U.S. consume news on the site (more than the per cent who do so on Facebook), according to Pew.
  • Pinterest’s commerce graph: More than 17% of all pinboards are categorized under “Home,” while roughly 12% fall under style or fashion, these are windows into people’s tastes and fashion trends.
  • YouTube’s entertainment graph: What music, shows, and celebrities do we like? YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 than any single cable network, according to Nielsen. YouTube knows what they like to watch.
  • Yelp’s and Foursquare’s location graphs: These apps know where we’ve been and where we’ll go. Foursquare has over 45 million users and 5 billion location check-ins.

In full, the report:

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