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FB Graph Search: What is in store for Indian marketers?

12-March-2013
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FB Graph Search: What is in store for Indian marketers?

Launched on January 15, Facebook’s third pillar after News Feed and Timeline – Facebook Graph Search has seen its share of good and bad till date. The search tool became a ray of hope for marketers who were disgruntled after the revelation of Edgerank Algorithm and also for Facebook whose stock prices have been on pressure from quite some time now.

While Graph Search enables the strongest ever connection between brands and users, it also strengthens the positioning of ‘Likes’ in the current Facebook ecosystem.

However, the question is whether marketers treat Graph Search as an important part of social media or look past it as another attempt by Facebook to strengthen its currency?

What is in store for marketers?
Facebook’s search tool aims at replicating the way people talk; thus, increasing discoverability for every brand on the website. Also, insights on consumers needs will help in creating relevant content for the consumers. The tool backs discoverability of content by a social recommendation.

Graph Search holds immense importance for local brands and hang-outs from an India perspective. Small businesses ride on the back of branded content which focusses on check-ins, ratings and photos. “These recent changes will help ensure that Facebook is a two-way street for brand and consumer communication,” said Zafar Rais, CEO and Founder, MindShift Interactive. “Site users will have easier access to information they want to know about and filter through less spam. If brands follow best practices for Graph Search Optimization, they will find that they have a more engaged Facebook following and have more success in using social media as a marketing tool,” he added.

SMO (search media optimization) will also come to an optimum usage; thus, helping in SEO (search engine optimization) systems of tracking the right key words and making it more user-centric.

Marketers who have integrated social media at every aspect of their business stand at immediate gain as of now. While brands have managed to create content that engages audience at a number of levels, now they also have to generate ‘likes’ through their content to make the best out of the search tool.

Commenting on what Graph Search means to marketers, Manu Prasad, Head – Social Media, Myntra said, “Facebook’s third pillar to me is positioned as a consumer tool/social filter but is part of an advertising progression. With Graph Search, Facebook now has the user’s intent (in four broad categories) along with his/her ‘influencers’. Though an advertising product isn't visible on the horizon, I’d think it’s inevitable and when it does arrive, it would mean some really sharp segmentation and more targeted, relevant ads.”
 
Banes that come along….
Graph Search sparked up a number of debates regarding the breach of privacy caused by the feature. While Facebook managed to gain a clean chit, users still give a second thought before ‘liking’ a page. Also, while the data depends heavily on ‘likes’, there is no way to determine as to why and how was the ‘like’ generated? There are also chances that the ‘like’ might be out of context or may be out of date; thus, giving a tinge of unreliability to the data generated by Graph Search.

Commenting on the disadvantages from more of an Indian angle, Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO, WATConsult said, “What Graph Search lacks though is that it’s not a Google killer. It mostly searches data with Facebook and some users may correct or change their behaviour on Facebook if the graph search doesn't represent them in the right light. For example, if I have liked a condom company page and now that fact is searchable by my mother or father on Facebook, then that is a scary thought for me.”

Facebook Graph Search fills in the search gap that the website had been experiencing. However, at a number of levels it is not as effective as marketers would expect a search tool to be. Nonetheless, the tool increases the chances of discoverability which is only five to 10 per cent on an average through the Edgerank Algorithm.

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