For years, CMOs have asked their marketing teams, “What’s the value of getting all these people to ‘like’ our page or ‘check in’ at our business?” While answers have ranged from the analytical (calculating the value of a check-in) to the outrageous (“What’s the ROI of your mother?”), the recently announced Facebook Graph Search provides a new way to evaluate social’s ROI.
The concept of building search functionality within Facebook makes perfect sense when you consider that almost since its inception, Facebook has asked users to do the craziest of things:
Like – Share – Recommend – Check In – Attend – Tag
Likewise, Facebook has asked its marketers to promote these actions in the name of helping their brands get discovered through the Facebook news feed.
However, as social marketers know, even if a customer “likes” your brand, within hours that “like” will quickly get pushed down and disappear from all your prospective customers’ news feeds.
Reviving “Likes” and Check-ins
With Graph Search, Facebook has brought your “likes” and check-ins back to life. Consider Graph Search Facebook’s answer to Google’s page rank.
While Google mostly relies on how often websites link to each other to determine relevancy, Facebook uses certain social interactions and content that your friends – and friends of friends – have shared to provide the most personal search available today. With Graph Search, Facebook now enables searches that are both personal and commercial in nature. Examples include:
- Pictures of my friends in Atlanta in December
- Songs my friends like
- Good Mexican restaurants near Roswell, Georgia
- Friends who work at Silverpop
All these searches take advantage of Facebook’s deep social data. For example, if you search for “good Mexican restaurants,” Facebook’s top results will be restaurants that your friends have “liked” or checked in at.
The Impact on Marketing
How should marketers react to Facebook Graph Search? I suggest a bit of a wait-and-see approach. If Facebook’s users begin opting for Graph Search instead of Google when searching for products or services, marketers will need to immediately double-down on increasing “likes,” check-ins and spend on Facebook Ads.
Marketers should also keep an eye on whether Facebook starts including status updates and comments in its search functionality. This would shift more emphasis to providing a superior customer experience that leads to positive comments, as well as increasing the importance of brands monitoring and responding to Facebook comments. But with users already leery of privacy issues, it remains to be seen whether Facebook will make this leap.
So, will Facebook users start utilizing Graph Search in a massive way? That’s the billion-dollar question for Facebook … and for marketers.
1) Blog: “6 Ways Digital Marketers Can Use Custom Audiences with Facebook Ads”
2) Infographic: “How the Top Grammy® Nominees Communicate with Fans”
3) Video: “3 Ways to Use Mobile and Social to Increase Your Database”