When asked if they could track and analyse Facebook (or any other private conversation networks’) conversations around a brand, teams from any analytics dashboard company typically reply with a weak, yes.
The reason is usually not to do with technology gaps, but with the fact that a majority of these conversations take place on people’s own Walls – where they spend their time and speak about their life, and, brand preferences/ experiences. These, however, are private spaces, and what analytics dashboards ‘can’ track are only open conversations that happen on brand ‘Pages’, which are not private. Pages, therefore, represent just a tiny proportion of total conversations around that brand; and given that it requires some motivation to go and participate in conversations on a brand Page, the participants, one could argue, would also be more polarised – fans/ haters.
Facebook understands the clash of private/ public very well and has, very consciously, tried to move ‘brand’ related conversations into the public domain.
Since the best – most natural, impromptu – brand related conversations happen on people’s Walls, (it takes some motivation to find a brand Page and participate in conversations there) how do you dip into them to figure out views and opinion; and get people to share them?
Possible answer: If conversations don’t come to you; go to them.
As my colleague Amita contributed to the discussion yesterday- already when you fill in your ‘Likes & Interests’ on Facebook, they get associated with an existing Page.
Why one might consider doing so
Even if a percentage take up the option, you’ve got more organic conversations move to open Pages. Over a period in time, the percentage will likely increase and may become the norm (we have already the concept of privacy undergo major change).
Value for brand owners
I will update this post with more thoughts, but I do hope that someone from the Facebook team sees this post and works upon it further.
UPDATE: 10.29 am, 2 October 2010
Interestingly, Amita just pointed me to Facebook Instant.
Do add your thoughts to take this discussion forward.
Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.