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From a marketing science standpoint, the Facebook changes announced at F8 ultimately amounted to no change at all. The new design and sharing elements are undeniably cool, but despite the changes, Facebook remains the only party with full insight into the exchanges across the social graph created by its users.
Facebook’s business is still built on targeted marketing, and its expansion of interest signaling from “liking” to any verb will certainly improve its ability to target based on unique and shared interests. Every business on Facebook would benefit from an understanding of their consumers’ shared interests and key influences across their social graph, but Facebook retains a tight hold on their sole position as market-maker.
With this shift to the open graph, Facebook is seeking to make itself a true personal portal. In this context, marketers need to immediately begin their shift from thinking of Facebook as a forum for messages from brands that users have liked, or a system for serving targeted ads. What Facebook ultimately wants to to with its data is drive highly targeted and personalized apps serving every sort of commerce.
And Facebook will keep tight hold on the real social graph insights all the way (as is their complete right). Facebook Insights offers a very shallow level of insight into users and their engagement in the social graph. The Facebook API and Facebook Query Language (FQL) have offered some opportunity to access more depth in users’ interests and interactions, but access to the true depth of insight into preferences, influences/influencers and social interactions available to Facebook itself has always been stifled by API limits and awkward FQL indexing schemas.
Ultimately, marketers have no right to the data that Facebook has collected, so there is no real basis for protest from this standpoint – we data-driven marketers must take whatever Facebook is willing to offer.