In one of his interviews, social media marketing guru Gary Vernaychuck that Facebook will become Google’s closest rival in the search arena. With the rollout of the Facebook Graph Search, it seems that his prediction is not that far from coming true. Recent events have proven how the different aspects and practices of online marketing are converging and the release of the Facebook Graph Search is by far one of the strongest examples of this.
Facebook Graph Search Defined
Combining information shared by a user’s network of friends plus the all the public information available on Facebook, Graph Search allows people to run search queries on four primary areas: Interests, Photos, Places and People. The “search results” are ranked based on Facebook’s proprietary algorithm EdgeRank which takes into consideration the number of Likes, how recent a post was created and affinity (the level of closeness the searcher has with the one who shared the post or liked a page). This means that if a Facebook Page or Facebook post was shared or liked by your close Facebook friends, chances are high that these will rank high on your Facebook Graph Search’s results page.
Criticisms Against Facebook Graph Search
As with any other new technology, there’s a certain level of dubiousness that is currently surrounding Facebook Graph Search. Social media marketing experts such as Ray Valdez of technology research firm Gartner said that an average individual user on Facebook doesn’t share tons of information which could mean irrelevant and low quality Facebook Graph Search results, especially if a user’s friends are not really active on the said social networking site.
On the other hand, Facebook Graph Search offers businesses that are active in marketing their products and services on Facebook a different way of targeting and reaching their consumers.
A Quick Example of How Businesses Can Use Facebook Graph Search
For example, an Italian restaurant that has a Facebook Fan Page can run the query “music people who like Pizza like.” This will return a list of music artists that its Facebook followers are listening to as well as data on the favorite music of the general “pizza-loving population” on Facebook.
This restaurant chain can now started posting Facebook status updates linking its products to these music artists and even create a special promo related to this. Overall, what this means is that Facebook Graph Search can help businesses come up with more relevant messages for their social media marketing as well as build more meaningful, relevant and strong connections with their target market by gaining insights on their interests.
Search with a Context
The use of social signals or social data in churning out relevant results is not something new. Google has been taking into consideration these social signals when ranking websites, especially with the growing popularity of Google+. That being said, what makes Facebook Graph Search stand out is that the results are purely social – which can possibly mean that results have more context and have more “personal relevancy” to the users.
Facebook Graph Search is still in its infancy stage and it’s not going to dethrone Google anytime soon. However, businesses and social media marketing professionals should remain vigilant and be always on the lookout as borders between internet marketing practices become less defined. It is definitely high time for everyone to take integration seriously.
How do you think Facebook Graph Search is going to affect your business?