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Your Facebook Likes Reveal Powerful Insights – Including Sexual Orientation

Fascinating new research from the University of Cambridge published today shows the insight-generating power and potential of “Big Data”; massive, fast changing and diverse datasets characterized by the 3 V’s of Volume, Velocity and Variety.

The study, Private Traits and Attributes are Predictable from Digital Records of Human Behavior, found that patterns in Facebook Likes can predict sexual orientation (with 88% accuracy), intelligence, neuroticism and a whole host of other personality traits.  Like Desperate Housewives, then you’re (more) likely to be gay.  Like Hello Kitty, then you’re more likely to be open, but not conscientious.  Like Harley Davidson or the cosmetic retail giant Sephora, then intelligence is not your forté.

And Liking camping is a sign you are neurotic.

If you want to get your personality profiled, head over to a free app based on the data, youarewhatyoulike.com.

More significantly, the Study, pre-published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, and co-funded by Boeing and Microsoft shows the opportunity for innovation agencies and their clients to harness Big Data to do insight-led innovation and marketing.

For example, the insight that campers tend to be neurotic reveals a commercial opportunity for a new line of camping gear for people who are anxious, nervous and or stressed.  Or focusing on new products that help express creativity if you are managing the Hello Kitty brand/licensing franchise.

The immediate opportunity for brands and their innovation agencies such as Brand Genetics is to replicate this study with a consumer behaviour focus and identify patterns in Like Data predictive of values, lifestyles, personality and category usage.

It’s opportunities like these that make us love our job.


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