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Big Data in Practice by Bernard Marr

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11 FACEBOOK How Facebook Use Big Data To Understand Customers

Background

Facebook, by some considerable margin, is still the world’s biggest social network. It’s used by everyone and their granny to keep in touch with friends, share special occasions and organize social events. Millions of people every day also use it to read news, interact with brands and make buying decisions.

Like all of the big social networks and search engines, it’s essentially free to the end user. The company make the money they use to pay their 10,000-plus staff and keep their services online from businesses that pay to access the data Facebook collect on us as we use their services.

This year, the company announced they had attracted two million active advertisers, mostly small and medium-sized businesses, which pay for ads to appear in the feeds of people who may be interested in them.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

Businesses need to sell products and services to survive. In order to do this, they need to find customers to sell to. Traditionally, this has been done by advertising in a “broadcast” manner: newspaper, TV, radio and display advertising work on the principle that if you put your ad in the most prominent place you can afford a large number of people will see it and some of them are likely to be interested in what you’re offering.

However, this is obviously a hit-and-miss approach. For a large multinational company, it may be clear that a TV spot during the Super Bowl will ...

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