I’ve already touched on how marketers can grow their social audience by gaining a better understanding of who their customers are. In this post I will share concrete advice on how brands can best use Facebook data based on an inside look at our own analysis of Facebook’s valuable CRM potential.

What type of data is available? 

Facebook Insights provides marketers with a great start to understanding their audience by showing what users respond to on a brand’s page.

However, because Facebook Insights focuses solely on interaction between consumers and a brand’s Facebook page, it only provides a surface view of the broader data picture available.

Permission-based Facebook data, on the other hand, is the true gold mine of information as it provides details regarding individual consumers’ Facebook profiles.

The chart below illustrates the difference between Facebook Insights data and Permission-based data.

Permission settings allow brands to access extensive user information, including 71 different Like data categories (retail, music, causes, TV shows, etc.), demographic details, friends, and comments.

Just because we can gain insight across all of these data points, however, does not mean brands should go overboard. Marketers need to find the right balance between obtaining defined marketing insights and being too obtrusive to avoid potentially alienating brand loyalists.

To truly get value from these insights, however, user information has to be synthesized into actionable data. We recently completed a report that analyzes various Like data categories, and below, I will describe how marketers can distill and apply this wealth of information about Facebook consumers to drive user engagement.

A note on our methodology

We analyzed a total of 52,697 unique Facebook fans across 18 campaigns created for consumer packaged goods brands.

While the data we examine is filtered through the lens of the social fan base across CPG brands, these types of insights and data are valuable for all marketers to understand, and these tips can be adjusted to fit your own brand’s industry, area of focus, and marketing strategy.

Like category: retail

When analyzing the retailers Liked by our sample, it probably isn’t a surprise that Target came in at #1 across both men and women and across every age group but one: under 18-year-olds prefer Wal-Mart.

In fact, the top 10 retail Likes across our sample were dominated by big box retailers. The under 18 group is the only exception, whose top 10 Likes include Converse, Aeropostale, Spencer’s, and Build-A-Bear.

Breaking the data down by gender, we see that three of men’s top 6 Likes are electronics stores (Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, and h.h. Gregg). Women have Best Buy as their #7 Like, but overall, mass retailers and department stores dominated women’s top 10. 

One unexpected observation to note: parents Liked Toys “R” Us but grandparents did not. Toys “R” Us ranks #7 for both 25-34 year olds and 35-44 year olds but fails to make the top 10 for 55+. While it may seem unrelated, even outlier data like this can help brands identify interesting quirks or patterns in their users. 

As a marketer, piecing together this data helps you gain a higher level of understanding of the most popular, relevant retailers across your Facebook audience. With all of these specifics, your brand can pinpoint its target audience and generate relevant, impactful social content. 

For example, CPG marketers can promote relevant in-store activity, such as new product availability or sale dates, based on news or sales that customers might find enticing.

You could further integrate calls to action, such as ‘Save our SKU,’ for products that have retailer distribution risk. In addition, knowing how many of your brand’s Facebook Likes are also fans of specific retail partners makes your Facebook page a more valuable asset that can be used as a sales tool to develop “plus-up” retailer programs.

Like category: Music

As far as music Likes go, our data shows that tastes generally differ between men and women. Men tend to prefer classic and hard rock, with The Beatles, AC/DC, Metallica, and Pink Floyd making their top 10.

Women, on the other hand, favor a wide variety of current pop artists, including Maroon 5, Adele, Nickelback, and Carrie Underwood. Interestingly enough, the only common ground across genders in the top 10 are Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, with women having slightly more affinity for each of these artists than men. 

As a marketer, you can work with this information to make your brand more relevant. Instead of sticking to your company’s product 100% of the time, build a relationship with your consumers around mutual interests.

For example, if you’re a hot chocolate brand and Taylor Swift continually ranks high among your Facebook users’ music Likes, you could post something like, ‘Who is going to curl up in a cozy chair with a cup of hot chocolate and listen to the newest Taylor Swift album? Let us know what you think!’

When used as informal conversation and mixed in with regular company and product updates, this type of engagement resonates well with your brand’s Facebook audience and generates trust.

Like category: Causes

Facebook is the 21st century version of our car’s bumper sticker, where people can proudly display what they believe in to their community. Any person or organization can create their own cause on Facebook and anyone can easily display that ‘bumper sticker’ on their page.

Our data shows that, among people who Liked at least one cause, the average number of cause-related Likes was 5.9. Overall, causes resonate stronger with females at 58.2% liking at least one cause compared to 42.2% of males.

For both genders, however, there is a small percent of die-hard cause Likers, with 3.4% of females and 1.6% of males supporting over 21 causes.

What are the most popular causes on the social bumpers of CPG consumers? Health-related topics dominate the top causes with three of the top five, including Turn Facebook Pink for 1 Week for Breast Cancer Awareness, (RED), and Autism United.

Examining the cause category breakdown, animals top the charts with 14 out of the top 100, followed closely by children (13), military (13), and health (12). 

Causes provide an excellent way to tap into consumers’ emotions and motivate social behavior in the form of shares and additional Likes.

Many brands have existing cause marketing sponsorships, which validates the strategy’s power in social media. For brands that are looking for additional cause marketing partners, you can use this type of data to identify the causes that resonate with different brand demographics and tailor your messaging accordingly to motivate your consumers.

Drive engagement with Facebook Insights

Capturing and analyzing the Likes and interests among your Facebook following allows your brand to connect with this audience in a more relevant and meaningful way.

Instead of simply producing content that focuses on your product alone, you can gain relevancy by showcasing common interests that resonate.

Marketers should use this type of data for inspiration when thinking about new campaign ideas and engagement strategies. We would love to hear how your organization is using Facebook data in the comments section.

To download the full report, Social Analytics Report: A look behind the curtain at Facebook interests of CPG consumers, click here.