Brands and their advertising departments are to be given a helping hand in the future by a new partnership between Facebook and market researcher the Nielsen Company, which will see consumer attitudes measured through polls.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, noted that the site is well-placed to offer marketers customer information efficiently, which, coupled with Nielsen’s ability to analyse statistics, "will give [them] access to powerful data they can use to understand and improve current and future campaigns".

The Nielsen BrandLift will provide online marketing services with figures taken from opt-in polls on Facebook’s homepage that rate opinions and purchase intent prompted by display ads.

Benefits of the service include ease of creation and implementation, as well as accuracy of advertising performance, which could help smaller businesses that, according to recent research by Freshbusinessthinking.com, are increasingly turning to networking forums to promote their brands.

The company found that 45 per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises are now using social media sites for advertising.

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