What Google And Facebook Know About You

by | Apr 20, 2019

Understanding Search Engine & Social Media Algorithms

Google and Facebook are the world’s largest internet platforms, with more than 6 billion Google searches performed each day, and over 2.3 billion active Facebook users. These numbers are unfathomable to most, considering that for many unfamiliar to their business models, it is unclear how both companies actually make any money. The answer is twofold, through your personal data, and through advertisement revenue, both are reasons why digital marketing is the marketing of the future.

These points are the bread and butter for both companies, and consumers both knowing and unknowing have given Google and Facebook the means to create two of the most impressive companies in the world, simply by willingly supplying all important data.

What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm, in the context of the digital world, is a complex set of rules and calculations that computers use to solve problems or make decisions. In the realm of search engines and social media platforms, algorithms play a crucial role in determining which content is displayed to users. These algorithms analyze vast amounts of data, from user preferences to engagement metrics, to tailor the online experience for each individual, making it relevant and personalized.

Are Social Media and Search Engine Algorithms Different to Each Other? How?

Yes, social media and search engine algorithms have distinct purposes and operate differently. Search engine algorithms, like Google’s, are designed to provide the most relevant and authoritative content in response to a specific query. They prioritize factors such as keyword relevance, site authority, and content quality. On the other hand, social media algorithms, such as those used by Facebook and Instagram, focus on personalizing the user’s feed based on their interactions, relationships, and content preferences. While both types of algorithms aim to deliver relevant content, search engines focus on answering questions with precision, whereas social media platforms aim to engage users and foster social connections.

The Google Algorithm

How Does the Google Algorithm Work?

The Google algorithm is a sophisticated system that sorts through billions of web pages in the search index to find the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second. It considers factors such as the keywords used in your search, the relevance and usability of pages, the expertise of sources, and your location and settings. The aim is to provide users with information that’s not only accurate but also helpful for their specific query. Google continuously updates its algorithm to improve the accuracy and usefulness of its search results, making it an essential tool for businesses looking to optimize their online presence.

What is Tracked By Google?

    • Every part of your online activity is tracked and recorded by Google.
      This gives Google a good idea of what you look like, what you sound like, your political and religious beliefs, likes and dislikes, your diet, your health, your family and friends, as well as where you work, live, visit and travel. Through complicated algorithms Google logs what searches you make, what photos you post, and if you have an Android phone with voice recognition, even what your voice sounds like.

      Google can predict with pinpoint accuracy your future plans, whether it be what you’re thinking of buying, where you want to travel, or even if you want children, all anticipated through your searches, extended Google services, and your entire online history.All scary stuff, but is this something you should be worried about? Google uses all this information to make your experience as sleek as possible, anticipating your next online moves, what you want to search and purchase. All your data is protected by the most powerful online security systems, leading the industry in encrypting your data for your privacy. Your information is then provided to businesses for a fee, so they can market products to groups most likely to be interested.


  • Businesses large and small want to be able to target their product and service advertisements to those most relevant, Google is the world’s largest facilitator for businesses to advertise.

The Facebook Algorithm

How Does the Facebook Algorithm Work?

The Facebook algorithm determines the order and presentation of posts in a user’s news feed, prioritizing content that is likely to be of interest to the individual based on their past interactions. This includes factors such as the type of content (photos, videos, links), interactions with the post (likes, comments, shares), and the recency of the post. For businesses, understanding the Facebook algorithm is key to ensuring their content reaches their target audience, enabling them to engage effectively with potential customers.

  • Unlike Google, Facebook users put their entire lives on display, through photos, likes, dislikes, relationships, employment, education, location, travel details, the list goes on exponentially.
    Facebook offers the world’s largest social network for free to its users, allowing us to keep up to date with extended family, friends, events, and to share news articles, stories and photos. The world is more connected than ever before.In exchange for this, Facebook provides advertising services to businesses, and controversially in the case of the 2016 United States Presidential Election, political campaigns.
  • Facebook records every interaction you make with their service, your contacts, your connections, who you interact with and for how long, what videos you watch, pages you like, films you want to see, and importantly for third party businesses, what products and services you want to buy.

Facebook integrates with many third-party services including shopping businesses, news sites, iOS and Android software, allowing them access to basic information also.

Facebook uses this information to sell you to advertisers, who can set the specific criteria for people they want to target for their business. Unethical? Facebook promises the utmost security and privacy for your information, never recording conversations on messenger, and never ‘selling’ specific names or profiles to third-parties. Under more scrutiny than ever, Facebook’s success hinges on consumer confidence, and thanks to its start-up roots, the company is proving to be adaptable, considerate and very resilient amongst widespread consumer concern.

How You Can Use the Algorithm to Improve Your Small Business Marketing

Understanding and leveraging the algorithms of Google, Facebook, and other platforms can significantly enhance your small business marketing efforts. Here are some strategies:

  1. Optimize for Search Intent: Tailor your website and content to match the specific needs and search queries of your target audience, enhancing visibility on Google.
  2. Engage and Interact on Social Media: Increase your visibility on Facebook and Instagram by creating engaging content that encourages likes, shares, and comments. This interaction signals the algorithms to show your content to more users.
  3. Use Data-Driven Insights: Analyze user metrics to understand the behavior of your audience. This can inform your content strategy, ensuring it aligns with what your audience wants to see.
  4. Advertise with Precision: Utilize the targeting options provided by these platforms to ensure your marketing messages reach the right demographic, maximizing the impact of your advertising spend.
  5. Stay Updated with Algorithm Changes: Algorithms are constantly evolving. Staying informed about these changes allows you to adapt your strategies promptly, maintaining or improving your online visibility.

Measuring User Metrics for Business Growth

Understanding and measuring user metrics is crucial for businesses aiming to leverage algorithms for growth. This involves analyzing data such as click-through rates (CTR), engagement rates, conversion rates, and time spent on page. By closely monitoring these metrics, businesses can gain insights into user behavior and preferences, enabling them to refine their content and marketing strategies. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights provide valuable data that can help businesses understand the performance of their content and advertisements, guiding them in making data-driven decisions to enhance their online presence.

Data-Driven Marketing Strategies

In today’s digital landscape, adopting data-driven marketing strategies is essential for success. This approach involves collecting and analyzing data related to consumer behavior, preferences, and interactions to inform marketing decisions. By leveraging data, businesses can create more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns, improving the effectiveness of their advertising efforts. This includes optimizing for SEO, tailoring content for social media, and utilizing email marketing to reach potential customers. Implementing data-driven strategies allows businesses to allocate their marketing resources more efficiently, resulting in higher ROI and better engagement with their target audience.

Algorithm-Driven Marketing in the Digital Age

Algorithm-driven marketing takes data-driven strategies a step further by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. These technologies enable businesses to predict consumer behavior, automate marketing decisions, and personalize content at scale. For example, algorithm-driven marketing can be used to automatically segment email lists, personalize website content in real-time, or optimize ad bidding strategies for Google Ads. By embracing these advanced technologies, businesses can stay ahead of the competition, deliver superior customer experiences, and achieve significant growth in the digital age.

Using Algorithms for Business Marketing: Beyond Google and Facebook

While Google and Facebook are pivotal platforms for digital marketing, businesses should not overlook the importance of other algorithms in platforms like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. In social media marketing, each platform has its own unique algorithm that dictates how content is distributed and seen by users. By understanding these algorithms, businesses can tailor their content strategy for each platform, maximizing their reach and engagement across the digital landscape. Strategies such as using relevant hashtags on Instagram, engaging in Twitter conversations, and publishing thought leadership articles on LinkedIn can help businesses tap into new audiences and drive more traffic to their sites.

With the easy to access identity verification features on LinkedIn and Twitter (X), you can boost your credibility even further.

The Future of Algorithms in Marketing

As technology advances, the role of algorithms in marketing is set to grow even more significant. Emerging technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), are beginning to influence how algorithms are used in marketing, offering new ways to engage customers. Additionally, the continued evolution of AI and machine learning will lead to even more sophisticated algorithms, capable of delivering hyper-personalized content to users. Businesses that stay informed about these technological trends and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly will be well-placed to succeed in the future digital landscape.

What Google And Facebook Know About You

Your information is what sustains the largest technology companies, and businesses large and small.

The reputation of Google and Facebook centers around trust, with both industry giants doing as much as they can to uphold their users’ confidence, as fears of privacy and security loom over their business models.

Small businesses have a great opportunity to expand and grow thanks to Google and Facebook, which are often reasons why so many businesses choose a professional digital marketing agency to take full advantage of these chances. How do you feel about your data being utilised, do you feel used or abused? Are you happy to provide your data to businesses, so relevant products are advertised to you? Is this all worth it as long as you have the best internet services available to you for free?

It can be hard to trust large online companies, however the most important thing is to be aware of what you post, share, and do online and know where your data is going, to ensure you’re cyber safe. Find out more about how your business can benefit from a professional digital marketing agency in Australia today.

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About the Author - 3am Ideas

3am Ideas is digital marketing agency focussing on providing data-driven services that get measurable and trackable results.

Based in Perth, Western Australia, we've been looking after small and medium-sized businesses since 2014, having worked with clients all over the country.

Our aim is to adopt the role of Virtual Marketing Officer for you, becoming part of your team, sharing in the successes, the blood, sweat and tears.

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