Facebook Audience Optimization Capabilities: What Does it Me To You?

Audience Optimization is a new tool that reveals the hundreds of thousands of categories Facebook divides its users into, but also the number of people who belong to each one. The tool allows any official page manager to identify the “Preferred Audience” for a post by searching for and selecting interests relevant to the story. To help make sure these interests are just right, i.e, not too niche nor too broad, Facebook auto-completes interests and displays the total audience size for each one. This is not as a subset of your page’s followers, but as a subset of all Facebook users. Most interests are sorted into broad categories like Lifestyle and Culture, People, or News and Entertainment. It is the closest complete, ranked list of every interest on Facebook.

Facebook says there are 839 million interested in love and 571 million in happiness. These are larger compared to the 88 million interested in categories like the 28 million interested in envy, 41 million in crying, 81 million in boredom and 88 million interested sin. These categories and interests are formulated algorithmically from popular Facebook open graph pages (the articles, music, and videos being shared), Facebook Ads tags, and other Facebook data sets. The list suggests that the algorithms are scraping keywords from people’s posts. (Facebook says Messenger was not included.)

If you want more info, take a look at What the Verge did: they created the top 10 biggest audiences in a few categories: celebrities, 2016 presidential candidates, positive and negative emotions, gadgets, and a sampling of the most bespoke hipster interests with fewer than 30 followers. Note that audience size does not take into account sentiment. So just because Donald Trump has 20 million may not mean it’s all positive or flattering. They have extracted the top 2,001 interests here, or you can download the exhaustive 18.2 MB list. They even made an interactive Facebook popularity quiz.

These lists show us what Facebook is learning about people who post there. Facebook was clear that Preferred Audiences are not (necessarily) the same as its advertising tags. However, but they both rely on similar algorithms to sort users and target us with content. So if you are wondering why you see certain ads, this may help to explain some of that. Will this be helpful or hurtful to agencies? For marketers, this could be very helpful in target marketing. As a regular person, be careful what you post. You’ll probably see more of the same; these platforms we all use are definitely into collecting our data.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications That Deliver Better Customer Experiences


New REPORT: Leading the Thought Paradigms in Future of Work

People spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else. So it’s no surprise that in a fast-changing world, the workplace is transforming. As part of the larger digital transformation of business, the future of work is being discussed as a wide range of developments in both technology and culture. It is already driving massive innovation and become an opportunity for competitive advantage.

This report, from influencer marketing platform Little Bird, identifies the top 20 thought leaders on the Future of Work that the business world is paying attention to. It also identifies the top 20 companies paying the most attention to conversations about this topic.

According to LittleBird, the following 20 people don’t just talk about the Future of Work, they are aScreen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.58.15 AMmong the smartest, most-connected people in the world talking about it. They won the respect of their peers through connecting and participating in social conversations. By observing who the community watches most, we can discover some of the best sources for intelligence and perspective in the future. Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.58.24 AM

A new way for companies to keep ahead of market trends and gain a competitive advantage is to pay attention to the things thought leaders are saying on social networks. There’s incredible potential for companies to seize new competitive advantages, and grow their bottom line, all while benefitting the people who work for them. The next section shows the top 20 companies that are paying attention to the things that Future of Work experts are saying.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.03.44 AMWhile my main coverage is not Future of Work, it is very related to this because bad customer experience comes from what employees implement- strategy, process, people, resources, technology –and if the people don’t have a good work experience they can’t create can amazing experience for customers. Just can’t happen.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering the Future of Customers, Work and Engagement


The Digital Disruption Tour: A Brand’s Challenges to Meet Customer Experience

Fresh off the first of the digital disruption tour events, I am reflecting on the wonderful conversation that Ray Wang lead with his keynote speech, really defining this new era of business. If you want to really understand what he’s talking about, you not only must see him speak — he draws such a clear picture of the future, but to really allow what’s happening to infiltrate your department or functional area or your own leadership, his book, Disrupting Digital Business, is very helpful — with examples and details.

For customer experience professionals, that was my roundtable discussion, we talked about not only this new era of business, but the requirement of company’s to change their business models to be able to deliver on the promise of whatever customer experience they are offering. Doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C or B2B2C- customer’s have expectations. Why is it so different today than its ever been? For many of us at the roundtable discussion– we’ve been talking about customer experience, customer service, customer success management for most of our professional lives. It’s not new. And it’s not really a new topic inside of companies.

What is new and what does require something different of organizations is the transparency of how the customer experience affects a business’s customers. In the old days, the customer experience might have been between a contact center agent and a customer. And depending on how empowered that agent was (which generally they were not) that empowerment or lack there of, generated a certain customer experience. It was also dependent on technology as well as processes that were either well defined and implemented or not. If it was a bad experience, that customer would often tell 10-20 people within their circle of influence.

Today, customer loyalty and advocacy is different. Why? Because today the world can see, in an instant, what a brand’s customer experience is and because customers can easily speak to other customers, often going around the brand, brand’s have to walk their talk. And while the Directors of Corporate Communication, PR, the CMO and marketing spend tireless hours and hundreds if not millions or more in budget to create a “brand” — whether that “brand” ends up living up to expectations is dependent on so many things; it now requires we change how we do business so nothing falls through the cracks.  It requires collaboration between all functional departments and the back office.

Ultimately, a brand ends up being expressed as the experience a customer has with that brand. And because there are so many people, departments, touch-points — at any point in that customer’s interaction with that brand, the brand may not uphold its promise. And because of the nature of social networks, that “good or bad” experience, can be expressed for millions to see, in a nano-second, often lasting a long time (think of “online posts” like cave paintings – they last millions of years…) The expression of a brand from a customer can be very personal and emotional. And often times the expression from the brand’s side is through content. And the number of people and budget, just for content marketing, has really shifted how we must think about how we do business. Business has changed. Period.

I really want to thank each and every person who participated in the customer experience roundtable. What our roundtable discussion concluded where several things:

1. Good customer experience starts with strategy. It’s not just about implementing the technology. It’s about looking at your business processes from the customer’s point of view and making changes to what does not make sense. It’s about examining the commitment from the senior leadership team to allow for budget so that the people, process and technology required for great customer experiences can be delivered.

2. Good customer experience also requires something new of the internal aspects of a company – culture, leadership, employees, training, attitude… and while most of what I write about is that “external” customer-facing experience, the truth is that – that customer experience can’t be good if the internal capabilities of an organization are not optimized. It is something that is often underestimated and rarely spoken about, but at the end of the day, it’s employees who are driving the customer experience in one shape or form. So it’s my feeling that this part of the conversation can no longer can be ignored. And in some cases, it maybe the first step in generating great, external-facing customer experiences.

The Panel Discussion One of the panels was on the customer experiences created in the financial services area. Financial service companies often think of themselves as limited to change things because of all the regulations they face. When Ray was asked about this he explained, “While there are many regulations, smart companies are looking at those regulations, often written years ago and asking if they make sense today. If they don’t, smart companies and governments are taking the time to question them and transform whatever it takes to make things work better.”

Wipro (who sponsored this SF part of the tour) talked about the ideas behind banking 1:1. Even in a highly regulated and competitive marketplace, banks must examine every possible idea and strategize about the advantages it can use to meet and to exceed customer expectations. This is truly, for all industries, where companies will differentiate themselves from the pack, now and in the future. Banks can’t offer simple and automated banking services. To build loyalty and drive profitability, banks need to offer a non-stop interactive banking environment and to increase their business agility by anticipating customer needs and offer an engaging user experience.

I vowed to keep writing about customer experience and customer service / success management – the ability to use data to understand our customers better to provide better experiences – as well as technology, people and processes. But I also asked that each one of the people in my roundtable take it upon themselves to hold the torch to generate excellent customer experiences. That’s because transforming businesses today, to provide great customer experiences, takes a village; it’s not a one person job. It takes collaboration across functional departments and strong leadership from all of us.

So as you read this, I ask you to also hold the torch for great customer experiences and for what the “transparency and digital disruption” means and requires of each of us – i.e., that what we are really talking about is that we all have  to change our business models (or how we do business.) And together, I believe we can transform business. It’s something that has been a long time in coming. It’s here. It’s now. It’s something I want to see in my lifetime. How about you?


Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Dedicated to the people, process, technology and data, to provide great customer experiences.