Facebook Graph Search – a Big Deal for Advertisers?
There has been a lot of hype around Facebook’s new search engine and rightly so, it’s a step change in how you can search for information online. Whilst it doesn’t represent a major threat to the likes of Google at present, what it will do is increase user engagement and ultimately the length of online sessions on Facebook. From a commercial perspective, Facebook will be hoping that this leads to a change in user search behaviour, with an increased focus on searches with purchasing intent; “restaurants in London my friends like”, “games my friends play” and so on…
So how do advertisers make sure they rank well for these searches? Well page rankings in Graph Search are influenced heavily by Likes; the more you have, the more often your page will appear in the search results. So those cynics who placed little value on these Likes in the past should now have a re-think. Also, concerns around advertisers falsifying Likes were allayed last year with Facebook introducing technology to prevent and remove fraudulent Likes, most probably with the release of graph search in mind. There are many “white hat” ways to increase Likes for your Facebook page though, combining high quality page content with effective paid and organic marketing activities.
From a search marketing perspective you need to be aware that some searches may not match content within Facebook’s database, instead Bing results will be displayed. This is where Google may begin to lose out as over time users begin to realise that they can combine their social activity and personal searches within one interface. Or at least that’s what Facebook and Microsoft will hope.
Whether you operate in-house or outsource to an agency, it’s clear that Facebook is going to be more front of mind when reviewing your digital marketing strategy in 2013.