When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took Wall Street analysts’ questions about his Q1 2013 earnings last week, there was one theme he kept returning to: Facebook’s new Big Data capabilities.
Most people think Facebook is a straightforward advertising play: It has a massive audience of 1 billion users, and advertisers can buy ads targeting slices of that audience. What could be simpler?
But in the earnings release, three of the six highlights of the quarter were about “Big Data,” the trendy notion that the future of marketing lies in super-deep, super-complex data analytics rather than the raw power to deliver lots of eyeballs.
Measurement, measurement, measurement
Here are Facebook’s Big Data moves in Q1:
Launched new advertising products such as Lookalike Audiences, Managed Custom Audiences, and Partner Categories, which help marketers improve their targeting capabilities on Facebook.
Partnered with Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai to enable marketers to incorporate off Facebook purchasing data in order to deliver more relevant ads to users.
Enhanced ability to measure advertiser ROI on digital media across the internet through our acquisition of the Atlas Advertising Suite.
The first two points underplay what Facebook is up to. Most people have no idea what Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and Bluekai actually do. Insiders, however, know that Facebook alliances with these companies give it one of the most powerful consumer databases on the planet.