Facebook is now touting Graph Search, which allows the user to search its social graph. For now it is not as robust as was expected, because results are heavily dependent on advertising and are limited to searching for people, places and interests. However, nobody is predicting this is the final stage for an ability to search Facebook’s large data pool. In fact at the press conference, Zuckerberg says it could be a business some day but for now it is merely an enhanced user experience.
One of the touted differences between this search function and what Google offers is an ability to search for answers and not just for links to the answers. The results seem to be similar to Sponsored Results, which was an earlier deployed advertising unit that returned Pages where the answer to the question might be found. Even though critics blast Sponsored Results for not returning relevant results, the ads were still quite effective offering click through rates ranging from .7% to over 4%.
Even with the lower end of those results analysts are optimistic for further advertising units that tap into the social graph. New ad units will improve on those results. The anticipation is that Facebook will eventually roll out a full fledge search function and even if it captures only 10% of the market, that will be an astonishing volume. The social media agency would be wise to begin using these new advertising units even if the only gain is an early learning about how Facebook treats its social graph.
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