Facebook’s Graph Search, a story of ‘Three’ halves: Investors, users and businesses

By Andreas Pouros

Facebook Graph Search is a story of ‘three’ halves.

On the one hand, users will be very happy to get this new functionality that Facebook is calling ‘Graph Search’. It is innovative and powerful, and will allow people to search within Facebook, albeit restricted to what they can see and read right now. It allows the user to search across people, places and interests using structured queries, e.g. ‘Friends who like Star Wars and Harry Potter, or more usefully perhaps ‘Which restaurants do my friends like in London’. Ordinarily the user would ask that question by posting it on their wall, now the tools are there to allow the user to just search. Innovative, very cool and the first major addition of functionality Facebook has seen since Timeline.

On the other hand however, it is unlikely to be enough to allay investor concerns over Facebook’s commercial focus. Many had expected Facebook would have launched a new mobile phone today or thrown down the gauntlet to Google and challenged the company in Web Search supremacy, neither of which happened. Web Search is a touchy subject as everyone knows that it is a hugely lucrative market, and one Facebook was expected to enter. Graph Search may well be a precursor to that, but I fear investors will suspect that it’s too little progress.

And somewhere in the middle, businesses are likely to become more visible within Facebook given that many of these searches will bring up their pages in Graph Search results. However, this may simply offset the reduction in visibility brands have experienced due to Facebook’s Promoted Posts mechanism that has limited the exposure of brand posts on user newsfeeds (where businesses are prompted to pay for their post to reach a wider audience). Also, it is unclear at this stage if or how Facebook will monetise Graph Search.

Ultimately, this is progress, which is welcome, but whether this is good for everyone rests on if and how Facebook chooses to monetise this new mechanism, and to what degree it is a stepping stone to a more aggressive product strategy.

About the author

Andreas Pouros is Chief Operating Officer at Greenlight. He has been involved in search marketing for over twelve years, working for some of the biggest and most prestigious global blue chip companies. Andreas is responsible for an international team of Search consultants, developers, programmers, and copywriters. In his role, he provides guidance to well-known brands, including Santander, New Look, Sky as well as a number of government bodies.

About Greenlight

Greenlight is a leading independent digital marketing agency, providing Search and Social Media services. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, Sky and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the digital marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future. Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector publishing widely read industry reports, original research and speaking at trade events. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York.

www.greenlightdigital.com

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