Facebook, Topic Data and ideas generation

News that Facebook is to serve up Topic Data to a select band of its business users will surprise few. In recent months, the social media behemoth has beefed up its business pages, embarked on a venture into video, launched an ad managing app and… well, you get the automatically re-sized, geo-tagged picture with face recognition.

Topic data, the latest doodad to find a place in Facebook’s virtual swiss army knife, offers businesses insights into what their audiences are talking about on Facebook – anonymously, of course. For instance, a fashion retailer may use Topic Data to decide what clothes to stock according to what sartorial fripperies its customers want to don.

As Facebook’s press release helpfully states:

While this type of data has been available from third parties before, the sample size was often too small to be significant and determining demographics was nearly impossible. With topic data, we’ve grouped data and stripped personal information from Facebook activity (not including Messenger) to offer insights on all the activity around a topic. That means marketers get a holistic and actionable view of their audience for the first time.


Apart from providing information for what products to stock, Topic Data looks like a novel way to inspire any flagging content-marketing campaign. Taking fashion as an example again, suppose you find that your customers are concerned about the way their wax jackets lose the ability to repel water. How do you respond? Create some content around garment care and at-home re-waxing, of course. Perhaps you could even create a guide to the best country walks (where readers can put said jackets to best use).

And this doesn’t just apply to business-to-consumer outfits. In B2B, where content generally has to be far more technical and current, Topic Data can lead you towards trending and upcoming events in any given industry, much as Twitter serves as a news barometer for the day, hour or minute. Stuck for ideas to present your editorial panel? Fire up Topic Data…

Of course a dedicated digital editor probably does, and definitely should, have audience engagement in their job descriptions. Therefore knowing what issues to cover, and how, should be a healthy bi-product of the daily grind. But for the one-man/woman marketeer – who needs to juggle many different roles – tools such as Topic Data will hopefully prove the second-best option.

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