Facebook ‘Graph Search’: exciting for brands?
Facebook has launched Graph Search; their latest innovation is specifically designed for the age of the social web, creating a new way to search. Mark Zuckerberg emphasised the significance of this release by describing it as the “third pillar” of Facebook, after Newsfeed and Timeline.
So what is Graph Search?
Facebook Graph Search is a much improved search experience allowing you to sift through the vast data within your social graph. For example, you could look for people with similar interests: ‘friends at work who like to ski’, places to explore based on recommendations: ‘sushi restaurants that my friends have been to in London’, narrow your photo search: ‘photos of me and John’, or discover new content that is publicly available: ‘hotels near Eiffel Tower’.
The difference between this and other search engines, is that Graph Search primarily displays Facebook content that has been shared amongst users, with results being unique for each person based on their relationships and ranked by ‘importance’ to the individual.
And what does it mean, for brands and advertisers?
Graph Search is likely to increase user activity and time spent on the platform, encouraging more browsing and the discovery of new content. Facebook and users will benefit from brands having to increase focus on producing high quality and engaging content, as the number of connections and interactions becomes more important for achieving better search rankings and ensure people can find the brand. Graph Search means big business for Facebook, providing new opportunities to monetise their offering and add new advertising options to their portfolio.
Graph Search is also a great tool for brands and advertisers to understand and learn more about their fan base. For example, you could gather insights by searching: ‘TV shows liked by people who like Channel 4’ to develop the content strategy and improve the targeting and relevancy of the advertising. This development is also good news for small and local businesses as more users will be able to discover places to go nearby and base decisions on recommendations from their friends.
To overcome any issues of potential lack of content, Facebook have partnered with Bing to show web results when no Facebook Graph Search results are available, enabling them to potentially steal market share from market leader Google.
This new product is still in beta in the US only and is being rolled out slowly over the next few months. For now, we believe brands should be strengthening their connections and making sure that all the elements of the brand’s Facebook page, place or app information is complete, up-to-date and ready to be ‘searchable’ should Graph Search really prove popular.
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