Does facebook’s Graph Search really make a difference?

Investors have been buying up shares of facebook stock very aggressively over the last 2 months. Their bet hinges on two assumptions:

  • that facebook will continue to make a lot more money from advertising than had been the case in the past and
  • their visibility on mobile devices will continue to grow exponentially

A key component underlying both of these assumptions, as I see it, is a better method of connecting the tens of millions of personal and business pages on facebook. As long as each page is isolated from other pages, regardless of whether the reasoning is to offer tenants a privacy factor, or simply to leave each page in a standalone state for lack of technical tools to tie them all together, the result is the same: the facebook universe becomes much less attractive for marketers who will be no more capable of addressing all of it with a single set of solutions than was the case in the past.

The best way, of course, of connecting these pages is to index them, to build a complex taxonomy that realistically represents the entire facebook user community and then to enable a search method, to endow users with an ability to span pages in search of information.

The graph search component has been touted as the answer to this need. This search method is reported to offer users all of the capabilities I’ve described. But does it deliver? In my opinion it doesn’t. Here’s why:

  1. It is not available to users with business pages
  2. It does not permit users to search for concepts, to which they are not directly associated. For example, one of my clients maintains an online brand name including the name of a popular, common piece of software (Microsoft® SharePoint®). When I used the graph search feature from my personal facebook page, I successfully searched for people who like my client’s brand, but failed when I attempted to search for “people who like SharePoint”
  3. When I attempted to search for keywords likely related to facebook’s new hashtag feature, My queries did not produce results

Of course, I may be wrong. Perhaps I used the tool incorrectly. But from what I noted, I am not sold on how great the ad results will be for those people that really count in this equation — the advertisers.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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