Why I'm Unimpressed with the Facebook Graph Search Announcement

August 7, 2019

Facebook today announced a new product called Facebook Graph Search, now in beta.

Facebook Graph Search

Unlike Google and other web search engines, Facebook Graph Search will allow users to find Facebook-only content in four main areas (example queries from the Facebook press release below):

People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing," "people who like things I like," "people who like tennis and live nearby"

Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” "photos of my friends taken in New York," “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” "Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India," “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs," "countries my friends have visited"

Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” "languages my friends speak," “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” "movies liked by people who are film directors," "books read by CEOs"

This is not a new search engine, it's a more advanced way to browse existing content on Facebook. Facebook already had a search bar on the top but it was limited to names and page titles. With the new search bar users will apparently be able to type actual queries to find the information they are looking for. Google killer? Not likely, but it could keep users on Facebook longer and help them find private info.

Facebook Graph Search appears to be a great way to search through your stuff, but from an online advertiser's perspective, I'm unimpressed. It remains unclear how advertisers will be able to use this Graph Search product to better market and sell their products to Facebook users. Search can be great for ad targeting because it allows marketers to direct ads about their products and services to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, the new Facebook Graph Search capabilities are limited to people, locations, photos, and other types of searches that are weak in revealing commercial intent. In typical Facebook fashion, the official Facebook Graph Search announcement does not outline any benefit for its advertisers.

What do you think of Graph Search?

Larry Kim

Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream and CEO of MobileMonkey, a chatbot building platform.

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