Growing demand from companies to know what people are talking about on social
media is driving sales at online polling firm YouGov, which today reported a 15 percent jump in UK revenues and 21 percent in America.
Chief executive Stephan Shakespeare said the fact that many YouGov panellists were happy to share their social media profiles with the company meant it now has detailed information on individuals.
"As we start to grow into areas of social media research, the more people whose Facebook and Twitter accounts we can get into, the better," said Shakespeare.
He insisted all data was treated anonymously and personal details were "never ever" passed to clients.
YouGov has a panel of more than 432,000 Britons, and its latest clients include ITV and Peugeot. Turnover rose 4 percent to pounds sterling 58.1 million in the year to July, with adjusted profits before exceptionals up 6 percent to pounds sterling 5.6 million. Pre-tax profit was pounds sterling 440,000.
YouGov will also pay a maiden dividend of 0.5p, although Shakespeare stressed it remained a growth company, with plans to expand in America, France and elsewhere.
Shakespeare and a family trust belonging to co-founder Nadhim Zahawi, now a Tory MP, each own 10 percent of YouGov. PR man Matthew Freud recently took a 4 percent stake.
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