What Facebook’s Graph Search Means
For Brand Publishing
Globally, there are more than 1.2 billion Facebook users compared to about 200 million Twitter users. Yet, Twitter has emerged as the go-to place to stay on top of what the world is talking about, in part because tweets are easily searchable by keyword and neatly grouped through hashtags and trending topics. Facebook, which has been the platform to see what your friends are doing and saying, wants to change that.
On September 30th, Facebook announced an update to Graph Search that would enable users to search for conversation topics within status updates, comments and posts — in other words, search for Facebook content. Not only that, but the search function can also be specified by time period and location. So, if I’m feeling masochistic and want to search for what other Manhattanites are saying about the Giants as they inevitably fall to 0-7 on Monday Night Football this coming week, I can do that.
It’s a potential game-changer for content discovery, blending the power of intent inherent in old-school search, with influence of social media.
But what does it mean for brand publishers?
For starters, it gives brand publishers another way to get eyeballs on their content. Take the search example I mentioned earlier. Coors Light is the official beer of the New York Giants, and if they’re smart, they’ll post a content-rich update on Facebook about the team’s MNF matchup with the Vikings. When I search for conversation about the game, that Coors Light post might show up.
It’s a potential game-changer for content discovery, blending the power of intent inherent in old-school search, with influence of social media.”
Now, chances are, the Coors Light post won’t be the top result. But not for long. It’s almost certain that Facebook will take a page out of Google’s playbook and allow brands to buy search ads that propel their content to the top of search results. It’s the obvious move for the social giant to continue their rapid advertising growth. So when I do my Giants search, Coors Light’s pro-Giants post would show up, and as a result, I just may go out to my local bodega to drown my sorrows with a Coors Light six-pack.
The big question? Whether or not anyone will actually use Graph Search. If they do, there’s a good chance it’ll pay off for Facebook and brands alike. A Nielsen study this past September found that 48% of consumers trust ads in search engine results, compared to just 34% in 2007. Also, according to the Nielsen Brand Effect for Twitter, users repeatedly exposed to a brand’s sponsored tweets were more likely to look at the brand favorably than users who only saw one sponsored tweet. All of that bodes well for Graph Search ads.
At this point, Graph Search taking off is a far from guaranteed — or even likely. But if it does, Facebook’s still-growing audience of 1.2 billion could change the balance of power in digital advertising for the foreseeable future and earn brand publishing a much larger share of the marketing pie.
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Image via Debby Wong / Shutterstock.comImage by Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com