Facebook Graph Search - Marketing Opportunity or Not?
What in the heck is Graph Search?
It's becoming a bit of a joke. Facebook changes something before and after breakfast and we all ask to see the menu again! Over the past year there have been so many changes that, perhaps like me, you're getting a bit tired of trying to keep up. Well in terms of making money, the short of it is, the latest changes are ones that you can probably just ignore — for now.
Graph search appears to be nothing much more than Facebook's attempt to fix its own pathetically inadequate search feature by making it a more organic, social experience. The idea is to automatically customize search around each person's network so that results having to do with friends are given priority — and one can finally do more than just look for people.
The moment you switch to graph search there's a brand new and rather aggressive navigation header that replaces the bar that once sat on the top of any Facebook page. Yes, the iconic blue bar is still there but it's moved to the left and made smaller. But the most apparent change is the rearranged icons. Entries into the search box are auto-completed so, as you begin to type, Facebook recommends first and second degree connections, Facebook pages, topics, restaurant recommendations and so on until, lastly, external Web searches for anything Facebook isn't yet up to searching for (courtesy of, you guessed it: Bing).
Clearly, having all these categories does make searching far more powerful and versatile. I hear you thinking "Great!" ...but not so fast. Unless your page name is the same as the keywords entered, it's unlikely you'll get found like this. So if you sell car seat covers, but your name is KGF Enterprises the chance that you'll be found is almost zero! However if your name is KGF Car Seat Covers (or if you can start a Facebook page for this), then you might stand a chance of being found. In any case, Facebook Search is growing but is still very keyword heavy. Graph Search is basically an attempt to break that down and bring in other search variables to make it more useful.
So why is Facebook doing this?
The obvious answer is: Facebook's regular search feature is terrible for anything other than people's names. The other, more strategic answer is: ...