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Want to know if your new romantic relationship will last? Just check your Facebook profile to find out!

At least that is the conclusion reached in a recent study by Lars Backstrom of Facebook and Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University. The study concludes that it is possible to predict with some degree of accuracy whether a relationship will be “successful” or not by analyzing the follower profiles of those involved in the relationship.

According to the study, the more removed or unique one set of Facebook friends is from a relationship partner’s group of friends, the more likely the relationship is to last beyond a two-month time period. This contradicts the idea that the more friends a couple has in common, the greater the likelihood for relationship success.

The study collected information from 1.3 million Facebook users that were at least 20 years old, listed between 50 and 2,000 Facebook friends and acknowledged that they were in a relationship with another Facebook user. In all, over 8.6 billion links were included in the analysis.

Using Social Data to Influence Search

What does this have to do with social signals and marketing? Facebook Profile IllustrationThe search engines have their own predictive models about the information their readers want and use that information to place content on the search results page. For marketers, top placement on the search results is very valuable so understanding how social relationships impact search results is also very valuable.

Google, Facebook, Bing and Yahoo! possess incredible volumes of data that can be analyzed to continually improve the way their search processes deliver results. And, as Google has announced its intention to include more social signals in calculating its search results, understanding those interactions is important to increasing online visibility.

Search engines record social interactions and use the same type of big data analysis as the Facebook relationship study to predict whether or not your website content will be more valuable than that of other providers.

Social Data and Marketing

Search engine operators build credibility by bringing the most useful results to the user. Exactly how those results are determined are closely guarded secrets, but Google in particular has indicated an intention to include more social signals in how search results are presented. Google may not be terribly interested in how long your relationship will last, but it observes who you interact with online, what kind of content you consume and what type of content that you produce, is consumed by others.

Creating good content that is promoted using social network platforms can then not only attract readers, it can be an effective way to improve one’s search engine placement. Readers referred by social outreach shows the search engines that your content is valuable and worth reading. The search engines reward good content with good search engine placement. Social media activity provides those strong social signals that the search engines are looking for and contribute to a successful online relationship.

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