Four Things Marketers Can Do With the New Facebook Graph Search

28 Jan

Facebook’s new search engine, graph search, is being called everything from handy, an invasion of privacy, and an amateur stalkers dream. Many posts already discussed the new feature for personal use, dating, and marketing, and dozens of others explained about graph search optimization.

Let me break it down to you: There’s no such thing as graph search optimization.  If your page is built properly and all of the information is up to date in the about section, there’s really nothing you can do to boost your results but make sure you keep doing a good job and make your page as engaging you can.

But graph search does offer fantastic opportunities to marketers in terms of tools, research, and advertising.

Higher CTRs

Yes, click-through rates, and no, I’m not talking about sponsored results.

When I first got graph search last week, I was frustrated. Sure, I enjoyed checking out my friends’ interests and photos, and I won’t deny that I searched for topics I am interested in like Pitbulls, social media, and wedding planning.  But whenever I glanced at the left side of the screen looking for the familiar red notification icon, I couldn’t find it and had to look to the right.

Later that day, I realized that I had noticed tons of ads that day. Then it hit me, I noticed more ads because I kept looking at them, on the right side of the screen.

Shifting all of the buttons to the right was a brilliant user-interface change to make users notice ads and be less blind to them, and my personal bet is that we’re going to see increase in CTRs for marketplace ads.

Sponsored Results

When sponsored results were first launched last August, it seemed like a small, insignificant ad unit. The search was so slow and faulty that no one used it to look for something new, but as a quick way to get around and find friends, applications, or pages while crossing their fingers that it would actually work this time. Now, it’s the only tool for marketers to push up their pages or apps to the top of the search results.

Although its use is obvious, I’d recommend doing some research in order to choose the right terms, which brings me to the next topic.


No one at Nielsen will lose their job when graph search finally rolls out to everyone, but it’s still a powerful research tool for marketers interested in learning more about their audiences. What kind of music do my fans like? Which TV show is most popular with my teen-age female audience? Who should I consider as a digital presenter for my brand assuming that I can search for the most popular celebrity among my main target audience? What kinds of games are most played by my fans?

All these and many other questions can be answered by graph search if you’re patient enough.

(Even More) Advanced targeting

Facebook’s targeting options are already almost infinite. For example, I can create a campaign to target only women who are celebrating their 35th birthday today, live in Florida, like Italian food, and aren’t already registered on my client’s database, and offer them a free desert at my restaurant for their birthday.

But what if I could create the same offer only for women who looked for Italian restaurants in Florida during the past week? I’m not talking about promoting my restaurant on their results, but about using these data to target them with offers on their news feeds, tickers, or mobile news feeds.

Assuming that I did some research, I would also be able to target this ad to users that were most likely to redeem the coupons based on their search queries.

This sort of targeting is not available yet, but I trust Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to let users get used to graph search and then allow us to create even more relevant ads.

All in all, graph search is a powerful tool and, as a marketer, I’m excited about the opportunities for brands. Facebook was right to not initially approach brands with the announcement, and to let users try it and get used to it first.

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