Social networks are a valuable asset because…

… they give companies access to a incredibly large and accurate personalized customer data set.

When MySpace was sold to News Corp, I saw the value of the purchsae not in advertising on web pages and profiles (which have become a nuisance), but in the enormous data asset of potential customer profiles that thousands of B2C companies could use.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is building an advertising system that utilizing all that data to target ads for clients. This will be great for companies and customer alike, since it should raise click-through rates, increase per-ad revenue, and improve the customers’ experience by showing ads that actually interest them.

This is interesting, but I think that an untapped revenue stream for social networks is market research. Using the data you have already collected, you could create market research consulting business that could effectively serve both large CPGs and down-market niche brands.

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