Facebook has finally given us an even more solid excuse to spend hours on the social networking site with its launch of Graph Search. The company has taken personal information shared by Facebook members and compiled it to create a searchable database. Users will be able to search for photos, places, people and things they “like” on the server with only publicly shared content from Facebook users.
Facebook is partnering with Bing to bring this content to the search engine. Bing will sync relevant Facebook information in the sidebar of a search results page. Search Engine Land expects this has the potential to add 5X more Facebook content to the site. With this new development, Facebook has upped the ante.
Facebook’s Graph Search will be of significant importance to companies. The site knows more about the relationships consumers have than any other. In today’s marketing industry, targeting consumer relationships has a more powerful effect in generating sales. According to Forbes.com, this criteria encompassed by Facebook offers a clear “valuable and sustainable advantage.” The search engine will pave the way for greater peer influence in purchase decisions. OMG! I Totally Need That Too! addressed the topic of peer influence in today’s market. Currently, 81% of consumers are influenced by their peers in purchases though this figure is now bound to expand with the integration of Graph Search. BzzAgent already uses consumers to generate sales through word of mouth. The benefits of Graph Search will allow for a greater reach among our Agents as they make information about a product available and now more searchable.
With this exponential increase in available shared content, MediaPost reports that marketers will have to find the balance between making this information useful to them and becoming “creepy.” Companies will need to configure a way to use the new data available to them while making consumers feel as if it’s for their benefit and not invading their privacy. Anna Banks, VP of strategy at Organic, says the ability to mine the new data will help create potential customers and cultivate stronger relationships with old ones who have “similar attributes to a brand or product’s core audience.” This development means brands will need to have even stronger Facebook pages with the most recent information, updates and photographs to draw in consumers. Facebook has now made it crucial for brands to have a strong presence on the social networking site.
In another smart move on Facebook’s part, Graph Search utilizes images in its results. As we reported in What’s in a Photo That’s so Engaging?, 89% of the site’s high activity posts contain an image. The use of images in its new search engine has the prospect of a high rate of engagement among users. With the social context provided by images, click and conversion rates could increase for a brand’s page.
The use of Graph Search among consumers could give them more control over a brand and its products than they already have through the greater use of images and the resulting conversations. While some companies may be leery of this, BzzAgent has already been using that approach since our inception. We’ve encouraged our Agents to have conversations and generate content for brands. The implementation of Graph Search could have a positive effect on the word of mouth methods we use at BzzAgent.
Facebook’s announcement of Graph Search may have just changed the face of social marketing.