Facebook on Tuesday unveiled a new feature that enables users to search for information that has been shared with them.
The feature is called Graph Search, and it has implications for businesses using Facebook.
"If you have a Page on Facebook, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about your business," the social network said in a blog post
Here’s how it works:
Graph Search appears atop each page. A Facebook user can then enter a search query such as, “my friends in San Francisco” or “my friends who like trail running,” and the results reveal friends who have shared this information.
The results are displayed in a page that users can then edit and rename.
The service is currently in beta and for English users only. The beta version focuses on four key areas: people, photos, places, and interests, according to Facebook.
According to Facebook, the results of a search depend on a number of factors, including information shared by a brand and a person's connections with a brand. That means your content could appear in a person's Graph Search results. As a result, Facebook urged brands to keep their pages updated.
It appears Facebook is making a push to further encourage brands to invest in cultivating relationships with their fans online; the more popular the page, the more often it will show up in search.
There are two major shifts brands will see as a result of Graph Search:
1. “likes” will become valuable again.
Remember when the goal on Facebook was to get as many “likes” as possible? Then Facebook shifted its algorithm, Edgerank, and those brands found themselves reaching only a fraction of their audience, forcing them to pay to increase reach. Now, Graph Search makes “likes” relevant again:
But under Graph Search, having more Likes is suddenly a huge advantage. As users search for advice from friends on Facebook, the restaurant or yoga studio with
more likes within a group of friends suddenly has a big advantage over its rivals.”
Social Media Today
Engagement will continue to be important for a number of reasons, but the page like will be back in play as a primary Facebook marketing metric.”
2. Expect to see new advertising opportunities.
What good is Internet-based search without sponsorship opportunities to make your product show up first in the results? As a publicly traded company, Facebook is all about making money, and don’t trick yourself into thinking Graph Search is anything but a way for the platform to further monetize itself.
From Tech Crunch
“Though there are no ads in Facebook’s new Graph Search engine yet, eventually Facebook could let advertisers pay to show their results above organic ones, just like on Google.”
Don’t get too excited yet. There’s no immediate effect that brands will see. In fact, CNet
speculates whether it’s “a joke.”
The product isn't even capable of searching Facebook posts or Open Graph actions like song listens, which makes it only partially usable to the members who have it and of no immediate value to brands or advertisers wanting to derive more intelligence about members' interests and relationships.
Some say this innovation will make Facebook “finally useful.” But with teens shifting (or seemingly shifting) away from the platform, one wonders if it’s not time for the next big thing in social to take hold.