Facebook recently announced its new feature called Graph Search. Though the Graph Search feature is not available for all markets as of now, the new feature seems to have caught everyone's attention. At the face of it, here are a few points why brands should look forward to it:
‘Context' meets ‘Intent': Search has always guided marketers to the right users through relevant keywords. So far, brands have been leveraging on the ‘intent' of the users. Facebook search graph takes it a step forward by providing context in which brands could look forward to using relevant keywords. Facebook is sitting on a data mine of user preferences, their interests, and hobbies. Facebook would be using this to assist users find what matters to them at any given point. Brands hopefully will get ample activity to expose themselves in the entire process. How? Let's see what Facebook comes up with for advertisers. If content has been the king, it is the context which will make content even more relevant.
Integrated social local mobile (SoLoMo): Brands would finally see how social, local, and mobile come together to create a unifying and seamless experience for users. Wouldn't it be great to find your information in the same platform i.e. Facebook, without switching over to another program?
Shortened "Path to Purchase": Today consumers have more information at their disposal which could make users spend a lot of time in the process, elongating the decision making. Consumers want quick information, and if this information bears ‘approved' stamp from my social set of friends, decisions could be made quickly by the users. For example, if you are planning your dream holiday, searching for people who have already been to that can potentially help you make your holiday better. You can virtually plan where to stay, which hotel to stay in, what to visit, when to visit etc. So instead of asking help on Facebook through your status, just search and connect with relevant people.
ROI to social: Search has always been known to drive better ROI, thanks to pull nature of the medium. Though it is still not clear how Facebook will allow brands to use Facebook Graph Search, as a brand, one should be really excited to see search driving more relevant people to respective pages/sites. While Facebook's regular inventory would continue to drive a broader audience to bring more fans to the page, search would allow brands to fetch people who are looking to solve an immediate need. Brands could look forward to a better analytical dashboard which goes beyond virality, organic reach, and fans etc.
Increased competition in social search: Although Google started leveraging ‘social search' first, irrelevancy of Google Plus to users has not allowed the concept to take off as Google would have loved. Given that Google still leads the search business, one can expect more efforts from Google in this field. As we know, the current search results in Facebook are powered by Bing. Facebook Graph Search can really help Bing when a billion people start using social search on Facebook.
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Maninder Pal Singh has more than 6 years of Digital Media Experience with expertise in areas viz Display, SEM, Mobile, Social Influence Marketing and Web Analytics. He has worked with leading media groups like GroupM and Lintas Initiative Media. He has successfully delivered both Brand and Performance marketing initiatives and digital initiatives for brands like Maruti Suzuki, P&G, Nokia, Pernod Ricard, Castrol, Expedia, Perfetti Van Melle, Hero Honda and Yamaha among others. An ardent blogger and an amateur photographer, Maninder also teaches Digital Marketing at B-schools.