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One aspect of social media that the average user tends to miss is the sheer amount of data stored on the servers of the various platforms. Facebook, for instance, has access to a near-infinite stream of data, thanks to its 1.71 billion monthly active users. While this type and amount of data is often seen as the Holy Grail for marketers looking to step up their personalization and segmentation efforts, the tech giant has been notoriously stingy when it comes to providing access to this information.
“Most people probably imagine me sitting in a room with all this data, and us not sharing it,” Helen Crossley, global head of audience research at Facebook, said during her session, “What Facebook Knows,” at the recent CXSF−Forrester Conference. “But that’s changing, and we’ve been exposing more and more of some of the things we’re learning.”
The explosion of omnichannel engagement in recent years has left many brands scrambling to engage consumers on their phones, computers, tablets, and any number of devices on which they now seek to interact with companies. Facebook is no different.
“If you think about all of our consumers, multiplied by all of their devices, multiplied again by all the ways they can connect with your business, it starts to become a really complex challenge to find out exactly what’s going on,” Crossley said.
This proliferation of engagement over multiple channels has served to complicate the customer journey; rather than a linear line from one step to the next, users jump from one device to the next, making it significantly more difficult to track the data back to an individual.
This movement to mobile has also affected consumer behavior in some industries. Car buying, for example, once involved several trips to perhaps various dealerships, and extensive conversations with salespeople about everything from model, to color, to price tag. For customers today, that starts on mobile, however, “they know exactly what they want. They’ve done all the research before they get there, and they’re not looking to have a discussion about it. They want it to be easy and simple.”
Even with the data that Facebook possesses, the company still appears to be challenged by breaking down silos and tracking behaviors across devices and browsers. Beyond the usual suspects of e-commerce and retail, the mobile movement has touched upon just about every industry. Customers are changing the way they shop and the fulcrum for this change is the rise of omnichannel engagement.
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