Brands everywhere should be intrigued and excited by Facebook’s new Graph Search.
For all the hype that Timeline brought for brand pages, it never translated into a significant spike in brand page visits. Brand pages were hard to find through Facebook’s search, and if you interacted with a brand, you likely only did it via the News Feed. Facebook’s new Graph Search, announced last week, promises to change that.
Graph Search creates an epic database of connections amongst its billion-plus members based on their likes, photos and updates, and the result is a recommendation engine unlike anything we’ve seen.
If you’re visiting Chicago and want to grab a deep dish slice, for instance, you can graph-search for “pizza restaurants my friends like in Chicago” and be directed to that the Facebook page of a pizza joint that your friends like. Suddenly, that pizza place’s Facebook page is playing a key role in a point-of-sale transaction.
Graph Search could provide a boost to other industries, as well — especially retailers.
Imagine the possibilities: Teens searching for clothing brands their friends like. People of all ages searching for movies and books that their friends like, or searching for what other groups of people like. What books do Sushi Chefs like? What films do MIT professors like? What bars do DJ like? These are all questions that Facebook users can ask with Graph Search, and those searches will drive users to brands’ Facebook pages, and many of them will be interested in making a purchase.
Graph Search will also feature web results from Bing, so users will be able to use Facebook search for both social and web inquiries. Facebook’s pressing challenge is rolling out Graph Search on mobile, and they’re expected to do so this year.
If this all sounds familiar, you likely read something similar when Google + launched. The difference between then and now is that Google + was trying to build a social network from scratch. Facebook is used by half the world’s Internet users outside of Asia, and accounts for 20% all web traffic in the United States. It’s a lot easier to get a bunch of active users to adopt a new feature than to get people to start using a whole new platform.
If Graph Search takes off, a brand’s primary representation online may become their Facebook page, not their website. That’s a big “if,” but for the first time, brands’ Facebook hopes and dreams could finally be realized.
Read More About Social Media
The Merits of Tweeting Like a Guido
Social Media: A Love Story [INFOGRAPHIC]
Projecting Cool: How a Paris Bar Cultivates Cache Online