Facebook’s New Platform: “They Know Everything Now”by ThomasStone on Sep 28, 2011 • 5:41 pm 6 Comments
Spotify users are angry about the new requirement to register their Facebook profiles, especially since Rdio and MOG have not added this requirement (yet). It seems mystifying at first: why would Spotify risk alienating their users in this way? Until we take a 30,000 foot view of the situation. Rhapsody, the music streaming service that is willing to admit how many subscribers it has, boasts only 800,000 customers. Meaning that the other services can’t have more than a few million subscribers apiece, at the most. Facebook, meanwhile, has 750,000,000 users and counting.
Most likely new modes of sharing Spotify songs, along with forms of free promotion spiced the deal with Spotify which, having launched in the US only this July, is already pulling ahead of the pack. Facebook a very powerful ally, with the biggest audience on earth.
Industry wonks who have time to absorb this alliance between Facebook and Spotify on a very busy week in tech news will be speculating: aside from their musical preferences, what else will Facebook marketers be able to extrapolate from the demographic data laid open to them by the new Spotify requirement?
As the world’s largest social network, Facebook has an audience of more than 800 million users that readily supplies it with information. Much like email marketing, Facebook’s ad platform reaches targeted users where they are — coming to them rather than waiting for their targeted audience to find them. Everyone checks their Facebook profile multiple times a day for new notifications just like they regularly check their email inbox.
Facebook’s ads have been highly targeted in the past, allowing advertisers to market to specific age groups, industries or people with specific interests. With the recent upgrade to their Open Graph and the new, tighter integration with other services, Facebook’s pool of data on its users is only going to increase. The recent rollout of the ticker in the top right of each Facebook user’s home screen shares with them the activities of their friends and is, on some levels, an attempt to influence users’ browsing habits and collect even more information on user interests that can give advertisers more options for ad targeting.
Facebook’s Open Graph platform is allowing Spotify to more tightly integrate itself into Facebook users’ daily lives, prompting users to share their musical tastes with their friends and, in some cases, doing so automatically. Users could already import their Facebook contacts into Spotify to start sharing tracks and playlists, but now that sharing is going even further, showing up in the ticker and being done automatically, unless users choose to disable the automatic sharing. As more users integrate Spotify and Facebook, Facebook will receive information regarding the specific types of music users listen to and how they share their musical tastes with their friends, which could open up a new set of data that advertisers can use to target customers. Eventually, users will be able to share all of their music activity through a built-in Music Dashboard in Facebook, which will integrate with other services like Mog, Last.fm and Rhapsody, tying together nearly all of Facebook’s users’ listening data.
The integration of streaming media services into Facebook doesn’t end with music; video streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are getting in on the act, too. Earlier stages of this could be seen in Hulu that allow users to post their viewing history on Facebook and showing comments from their friends on their favorite shows, but both companies aim to take it to the next level.
Hulu has built a Facebook app that allows users to share TV shows in new ways, not only showing others what they’ve watched, but allowing them to begin streaming from within Facebook itself. Further, users will be able to post comments on videos, even tagging specific video segments. Netflix hopes to eventually have the same options, though the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act prevents them from allowing users to share their viewing history publicly. Watching a video through the Hulu app and, eventually, the Netflix app will provide both Facebook and the video service with viewing data — giving advertisers a massive, localized pool of data they can use to target customers.