On Sunday, Facebook announced changes to the “profile” view for users on Facebook that will likely lead to better, more complete user data across the platform for use in analytics and targeting for brands and advertisers. For those who aren’t heavy users of the social network, the profile view is the page that Facebook creates around each user for others to see, and (depending on that user’s privacy settings) includes recent updates, photos the user appears in, interests and more.
Much of the change concerns the way publicly shared personal information is displayed to users – and what data Facebook prompts users for. Overall, demographic data, recent photos and interests have been bumped up in importance and enriched. Instead of an invitation to post an update to the stream, the top spot on the profile page is now occupied by a paragraph of personal data such as where a person is from and who they are dating. Where data is missing, Facebook inserts prompts for additional information.
Why is this important? By placing demographic info rather than communication at the core of the Facebook profile page, Facebook is creating a strong stimulus for users to fill in this information, and in so doing improve the amount and quality of data Facebook holds about each user. As you can see above I was prompted to update my languages spoken.
As more users supply basic demographic info, two things will happen.
First, Facebook Insights for brand pages will get better and more comprehensive. The more individuals supply data about themselves, the better equipped brands and their agencies will be to understand the audiences they have aggregated around their pages and create content that matters specifically to those audiences.
Second, ad targeting will improve. As individuals add interests, employers and more, Facebook’s ability to offer targeting segments based on these groups will improve, allowing Facebook to increase the number of ads delivered and getting advertisers more targeted leads.