By Marc Purtell | Director, SEO
Yesterday’s announcement by Facebook of its revolutionary new form of search — called Graph Search — has set the online marketing world abuzz with chatter about its impact on search. More specifically, whether Facebook will finally become the Google killer that so many have predicted it will.
While it’s unlikely that Graph Search will ever become a Google killer, the reality is that Facebook has just become a major player in the multi-billion-dollar search business. More importantly to brands and marketers, Facebook offers a bevy of new search and online advertising options that simply aren’t available with Google’s robust but often rudimentary search platform.
In short, Facebook’s Graph Search is just the latest milestone in an ongoing trend of the Web becoming more social. It’s the first true iteration of the social-search era that we at MediaWhiz colleagues previously predicted would come to fruition.
Let’s examine what the news means for the three parties most significantly impacted by the launch of Graph Search: marketers, brands and Facebook itself.
Implications for Marketers
For digital marketers, Graph Search means that a strong focus must continue to be placed on building and maintaining a sustained and proactive social presence, both for brands and individuals associated with those brands. This is especially true because Graph Search does not return results external to Facebook. Graph Search allows users to find people, photos, places and interests. The most immediate and impactful opportunity is marketing for local businesses so that consumers using Graph Search can easily find a business when looking for places relevant to its products or services.
Some tips for leveraging Graph Search for local business include optimizing the name, category, vanity URL and “About” section of a Facebook business page much like a webpage would be optimized for traditional organic search. This will help consumers find the business through Graph Search.
Implications for Brands and Facebook
Facebook’s Graph Search presents a huge opportunity to both advertisers and Facebook. Traditional Facebook advertising has essentially been a form of display advertising. It has served users ads based on their demographics, likes and the content they click on. This is a passive type of advertising. It tells users that because they like X, they may like Y even though they are not actively looking for Y.
The potential for brands advertising on Facebook that Graph Search offers is that ads can be served to users based on what they are actively looking for. This is more similar to paid search advertising than display advertising.
Facebook now has the ability to allow advertisers to show ads to users searching for products or services by bidding on various keywords related to those products or services. This benefits Facebook through additional ad revenue based on higher click through rates and benefits advertisers by targeting users with more intent to buy.
Facebook’s Graph Search is in Beta and will slowly rollout to users over the coming weeks. MediaWhiz will continue to evaluate the implications and opportunities for brands and keep you updated. Welcome to the social-search era!