Facebook’s Graph Search: What is it and does it rock for marketers?

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by Brafton Editorial
Facebook's foray into search starts with a new internal feature that helps users discover the world around them.

Social media giant Facebook recently announced a new feature called Graph Search. The feature creates a new way to navigate connections via the network, providing users with truly customizable results based on who they’ve connected with online.

Facebook Graph Search 2Facebook’s Tom Stocky and Lars Rasmussen wrote on the platform’s official blog that the network’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. The company says it believes the best way to accomplish this goal is by providing users with tools to foster relationships with people around things they care about most. Facebook already serves more than one billion people, hosts more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections, and the site says it’s important to evolve relationships created via the site.

When Facebook first started, users would browse people in their shared networks and connect with those close by – this function made the social site popular for college students. Graph Search takes Facebook members back to where the whole network started, helping users make new connections. Appearing as a bigger search bar at the top of each Facebook Page, members can search for a topic, and the results will present them with a variety of media based on their Facebook connections. Each set of answers to a search will be influenced by the strength of various social contacts.

How unique are the custom content results? Facebook provided readers with this example:

“Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z”) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook. We believe they have very different uses.”

Facebook also emphasizes that the company built Graph Search with privacy in mind, making sure shared media is available only to intended audiences. While Facebook admits Graph Search remains in development, available only in English, the company says a broader roll out will come over the next few months.

The first beta version of Graph Search focuses on people, photos, places and interests. Social media marketing professionals and content creation experts should keep an eye out on Graph Search – the feature could play an increasingly important role in brand discovery moving forward.

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