What is Facebook Graph Search?

Imagine you’re planning a trip to Spain, and want to find out which are the best restaurants are in the city.  Thankfully, you’ve got a friend who spent a year there studying abroad. Perfect! You’ll ask her.

Now let’s say you don’t know anyone who has ever been to Spain. Google search will work, but it’s not like getting a recommendation from a friend. You trust your friends more than you trust reviews off the Internet. This is exactly the motivation behind Facebook Graph Search. On January 15th, Facebook announced it’s internal search engine, and what it brings is unlike any search experience you’ve ever encountered.

How Does Facebook Graph Search Work?

The essence of Facebook search is personalization. While two people searching for “hairdressers in Seattle” will get close the same results on Google, with Facebook all search results will be personalized. Your friends, your likes, places you’ve checked-in, that’s what will show up.

It also differs in presentation. Your results aren’t a list of search results but virtual representations of real life objects. It is a Bing-powered, graphical representation of your search results. You’ll be able to search for things like “photos I like”, “hikes my friends have done”, “people who work at my company who like running”, “pictures from 1990”, or “restaurants in Spain my friends of friends like.” Things such as “likes”, “check-ins”, and “friends” will be the triggers for the search engine. This is what ties Facebook search together and makes it functional.

Facebook Graph Search for Businesses

The biggest challenge with Facebook Graph Search will be: do you and your friends like enough things and check-in enough places to make Facebook search useful? If you’re looking for something like a new dentist, you may be out of luck. I can’t say that I’ve ‘liked’ my dentist on Facebook, ‘check-in’ when I’m getting my teeth cleaned, let alone even know if he has a Facebook page.

If you’re a dentist in Newport Beach, you may be concerned about getting found on Facebook graph search if you don’t have many clients ‘liking’ your page. While popular companies may get ‘liked’ fairly often, dentists don’t tend to be very popular. Facebook Search increases the motivation to have a client like your page and check-in, and could have a significant impact on the online marketing of some companies.

Facebook Graph Search has the potential to be a very powerful tool for individual users and businesses owners alike. It’s hard to say just yet how it will affect the online marketing world, but no doubt it will ruffle some feathers. Now that you know how Facebook Graph Search works, you may be interested in getting started. While it’s not available for everyone just yet, you can sign up on a wait list here.