Analytics for Facebook Applications with Unica

Unica announced the addition of innovative social media marketing capabilities this week. Among these capabilities are Social Media Analytics for Unica’s web analytics solution, NetInsight. Specifically, one of the components of the Solutions Pack released today encompasses analytics for Facebook applications. This enables marketers to gain insights on application usage and users including details from the Facebook API.

More specifically as a customer of Unica NetInsight, NetInsight OnDemand, and Interactive Marketing OnDemand you can:

  • Instrument all aspects of your Facebook application for granular behavior analysis and optimization
  • Rely on the highest degree of accuracy in their analytics by basing your sessionization and unique user insights on the Facebook ID and employing cache busting mechanisms to avoid the loss of click data due to caching (e.g. in the browser cache).
Report in Unica NetInsight on Facebook application usage trends by visit duration

Report in Unica NetInsight on Facebook application usage trends by visit duration

You can also include any desired detail from the Facebook API along with the click-stream analysis as long as you comply with Facebook’s platform policies. The API data will help you understand usage trends, success, and user preferences based on available insights about users’

  • Social graph, e.g. how do key influencers use the application vs. the average user?
  • Demographics, e.g. how do people at various age ranges use the application?
  • Geographic location, e.g. how to users from different parts of the country or world prefer to use the application?
  • Relationships or affiliations, e.g. how to married folks vs. bachelors differ in their preferences for using the application?
Unica NetInsight on current locations of today's Facebook application users (based on API data on users)

Unica NetInsight on current locations of today's Facebook application users (based on API data on users)

Privacy and Facebook’s Platform Policies (Note: I updated this section on April 27th)

Key to including any insights from the Facebook API in analytics is not only marketers’ good stewardship of this data. This is also expressed in the Facebook platform’s developer principles and policies.

The policies previously used to limit the kind of API data that can be stored, including by web analytics solutions, for longer than 24 hours. However, with the launch of the Facebook open social graph on April 21st 2010 the policies were revised to remove that limit. Instead there is

  1. A greater emphasis on the principles of using data towards a good experience for users which expressly excludes spam.
  2. A greater emphasis on gaining user consent for access to API data beyond the basic elements which are user ID, name, email, gender, birthday, current city, profile picture URL, and the user IDs of the user’s friends who have also connected with your application
  3. A greater emphasis on gaining user consent for using that data beyond the Facebook application.

I think that is a great move by Facebook but clearly means that marketers must act responsibly. It may only take a few violations to create a backlash by Facebook users. All marketers would suffer a set back as a result.

    Unica NetInsight report on today's Facebook application users by gender and age range

    Unica NetInsight report on today's Facebook application users by gender and age range

    Going Beyond Analytics to Interactive Marketing

    As always with Unica NetInsight, the built in data warehouse stores the granular and complete interaction history of each individual Facebook application user keyed in their Facebook ID.

    Unica NetInsight, granular data drill down to individual Facebook app users

    Unica NetInsight, granular data drill down to individual Facebook app users

    Not only can the Facebook application remember its user’s preferences. But by going from analysis to action, Unica customers can also use the profiles of Facebook application users to personalize future emails or website sessions. This assumes, of course, that the Facebook user is identified with their email address or website cookie and that permission to market has been earned.

    What data is available from the Facebook API?

    As Facebook application developers can glean from the documentation of the Facebook API, rich access to details about app users is available through API functions such as Users.GetInfo.

    It is however key to point out that not all data fields from API functions such as the one above are available for all users. Rather, only the fields for which the user’s privacy settings permit access are available to applications. Additionally, some particularly sensitive fields require explicit user permissions.

    • For example the email address (even the proxy’d version) requires extended user permissions.
    • For example, the gender info is only available if the user clicked the checkbox on their profile to include gender as part of their profile page

    For more information

    Unica customers can contact their account mangers for more details on the Solutions Pack for Social Media Analytics.

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