Facebook Introduces Graph Search
Launched in Beta for Facebook Users in English (US), Graph Search allows Facebook users to find people who share their interests, explore their world through photos, and discover restaurants, music, and more. Not to be confused with the Search Bar, which still produces Bing Results from the web, Graph Search is an extra incentive for brands and businesses to continue building their Facebook presence and activating engagement with consumers. Graph Search integrates Social Search but only within Facebook, not within the web at large.
Since the launch, Facebook has received ample feedback from social media and search thought leaders. Ultimately, the biggest take away has been that Graph Search is Facebook’s answer to Google+, Google’s materialization of Social Search.
After an initial roll out, Facebook prompted its users via their newsfeed, utilizing Facebook Survey, asking about the level of satisfaction with Facebook search. It was an obvious tactic to mitigate risk and diffuse any uproar, aiming to prevent the same panic that ensued when Instagram amended their terms of services’ changes. Graph Search results will be bespoke to every user and each user’s privacy choices determine what’s searchable. Backlash has been extremely minimal, most likely as a result of a slow roll out and lack of Privacy.
The consumer advantage is the layer of social search within Facebook which allows users to find friend-approved resources such as restaurants, films, music, hotels, etc. This super form Word-of-Mouth marketing is most valuable to the consumers, making it a key value proposition for users primarily. Additionally, Graph Search provides another function of consumption, improving the user experience in terms of finding and digestion information on the individuals in their networks from interests to location and beyond.
The benefit to brands is that users will have more paths to connect with their products or services via the Search functionality. Organic results will redirect related topics and while a sponsored result is nothing new in terms of Facebook’s Ad portfolio, it is an option for brands hoping to leverage traffic of popular search words via SEO and incentivized user interaction on Facebook.
Adoption of the new function by both brands and consumers is unclear at the moment. For now, Graph Search is only a concept to most Facebook users but there was a phase in Facebook history when Timeline was the only a feature in theory and not in practice.