As a feature enhancement, as a search engine and as a new ad platform, Facebook’s beta Graph Search announced on January 15 has the potential to impact the brand social media landscape in a number of ways. At the conceptual level, Facebook continues to go down a path that deprecates the role of URL, or link-level exploration of the Web, in favor of the social graph object. This approach has advantages and disadvantages, but it diverges from Google’s approach and from the approach of most modern platforms. It remains to be seen (by a long shot) whether this is the way forward for the Web as a whole or its own walled ecosystem. But for businesses seeking to keep their social media strategy calibrated for broad success, we believe the smartest course is to anchor most publishing programs in a central, URL-based, owned media hub on the Web while continuing to fully participate on Facebook’s constantly evolving playing field.
So that you’re as prepared as you can be as it rolls out, our global team has prepared a 15-page briefing outlining our initial perspective and recommendations regarding Facebook’s Graph Search. It outlines what this new feature is, where we think it’s heading, its impact to the social space and what we will be watching out for as it develops.
As this feature is rolling out slowly (to “hundreds of thousands” to quote Mark Zuckerberg) it may not make sense yet to make anticipatory changes to your publishing program with that initial limited volume and what little is known about the ranking algorithm to date. If nothing else, it makes sense to sign up for the waiting list: http://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch and enlist others in your organization to do so as well, so that you have several testers available as it rolls out. For our part we’ll be keeping an eye on things like page performance in the rankings, studies and experiments, the all-important ad mix and how quickly Facebook iterates and expands the feature.
We hope you find the above useful and that it will spark some conversations about how to keep your publishing foundation as solid and successful as possible as the social world continues to evolve.