Facebook has a treasure trove of data it collects to aide its advertising platform, and is starting to test the collection of new kinds of data.
Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin says the social network may start tracking where users’ mouse cursors are positioned, and for how long, including if mobile app users are on the News Feed at any given time.
“Facebook collects two kinds of data, demographic and behavioral. The demographic data—such as where a user lives or went to school—documents a user’s life beyond the network. The behavioral data—such as one’s circle of Facebook friends, or “likes”—is captured in real time on the network itself. The ongoing tests would greatly expand the behavioral data that is collected, according to Mr. Rudin.”
According to Rudin, Facebook will determine in the coming months if collecting such data is worthwhile.
In the past four years, the social network’s data analytics have grown over 4,000 times to 300 petabytes. This data is completely separate from user data, which added up to 500 terabytes per day in August 2012.
To manage the massive amounts of data, Facebook utilizes an open-source framework called Hadoop, and it can be used on relatively inexpensive hardware.
Facebook is not the first company to collect data such as mouse cursor positioning, and there are many tools that allow website owners to do the same.