You’ve likely been experiencing a deluge of online information coming at you in recent years — an overwhelming number of status updates, e-mails, tagged images and so forth. You’ve probably also seen, and potentially been alarmed by, the growing accuracy of targeted advertisements — “People You May Know,” and other “offers” online.As the quantity of irrelevant information has exploded online, so too has the market for the delivery of targeted offers and information. Social networks, in theory and in practice, expose many people to contact and influence. Without precise models, people will continue to be bombarded with ineffective offers and other irrelevant information.
Predictive analytics, a branch of data mining concerned with predicting future probabilities and trends, applies a filter to users’ online interactions with the aim of delivering more value from a sea of irrelevance.
With increased value comes the potential for social networks to make money as well. Here’s a look at some specific ways in which predictive analytics will make social networks money.