Facebook opens up big data for select advertisers

Facebook has long been against divulging “big data” to advertisers, despite other social networks like Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest offering this information out on a silver platter and making quite a lot of revenue from it.

Today, Facebook announced a partnership with DataSift, a California-based analytics company, to launch a new ad-platform called Topic Data.

Topic Data will give large overviews of general insights, allowing advertisers to gauge a trend, keyword or topic in its past, present and potential future form. Facebook has confirmed this will not tap into its targeted-ad network, meaning users will be anonymous in the insights.

"We are not disclosing personally identifying information to anyone, including our partners and marketers," Facebook said on its blog post. "And, the results delivered to marketers are analyses and interpretations of the information, not actual topic data."

Topic Data will only be available to a select group of US and UK advertisers, which the social network will approve. This will keep a tight lock on Facebook’s network activity, away from rivals Google and Twitter.

Considering Facebook has 1.3 billion active users, alongside 700 million on WhatsApp and 350 million on Instagram, it has the largest network of users out of any company in the world.

Google Search, YouTube and Gmail come close, but do not offer the same social connection that Facebook offers.

This makes big data extremely lucrative for advertisers, who could potentially tap into over 2 billion users if Facebook ever opens up advertising on WhatsApp.