Reaction to Facebook’s New Search Feature


Facebook’s introduction of Graph Search on Tuesday has, not surprisingly, elicited a flurry comments from interested Internet parties. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“At this point, I’m unimpressed. It remains unclear on 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, places, 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.” — Larry Kim, Founder and CTO of Boston-based search marketing software firm, WordStream.

“The graph search feature is a logical extension to all the digital wizardry of Facebook, Well done, however the main problems will appear later when name brands and logos will clog the arteries, more due to look-alike and sound-alike names.” — Naseem Javed, Founder and CEO of ABCNamebank.

“I’m underwhelmed by Facebook’s announcement based on all of the hype it received. This is a good accomplishment from a technology standpoint, but Facebook will have to be very careful from a user experience standpoint (e.g., privacy). This will be very helpful for small businesses as Graph Search bridges the gap between social and local in a way that daily deals companies like Groupon should have done from day one. This innovation will give brands better insight into how deep their content is shared.” — Abby Ross, Managing Partner and VP of Marketing and Strategy at Blueye, a Chicago-based Facebook preferred partner.

“Graph Search opens up a world of new advertising possibilities.  If Facebook rolled out ads within Graph Search, they could expand beyond demand generation and offer powerful contextual direct response ads.” — Jason Beckerman, Co-founder at Unified.

“Different from a traditional Web search, as one might perform on Google, the Graph Search does not direct individuals to links on the Web, but, instead, to information that they have access to based on what their Facebook Friends are interested in, or have posted, or information that is public on Facebook. Facebook told us last fall that they were enabling a billion search requests on a daily basis, and hinted at the possibility of harnessing this to create a new user experience, which they have done with Graph Search.” — Marc Poirier, CMO/Co-Founder of Acquisio,

“Graph Search could be significant for advertisers if Facebook users learn to utilize the functionality. The combination of profile information with intent data is important as it will allow brands to better target ads through FBX while likely increasing engagement and media volume through the creation of new pages. The big question then becomes how do these ads actually perform, which makes accurate measurement and attribution data all the more important.” — Adometry CEO Paul Pellman.

“With the launch of Graph Search, Facebook has an opportunity to materially disrupt search and Google should be concerned. The Graph Search product could be a game changer for Facebook as it addresses a flaw in Google’s product which is the ability to have search results tailored by my social graph. Google has attempted to venture into the social space with the acquisitions of WildFire, Meebo etc., but despite Google’s repeated efforts in the social search space they have failed. Facebook has an opportunity to allow people to tap into recommendations from friends on entertainment, food, travel and music these recommendations are customized and scalable. Graph Search could mean large gains for Facebook and big losses for the search incumbents. A really interesting component of this is that content posted by brands will be discoverable in the search results similarly to how brands show up in the newsfeed: Facebook only displays results that they deem are highly relevant based on that person’s connection to or friends’ connections to the brand’s page.  The same exact paid media strategies that brands should be employing to maximize their newsfeed placement will also maximize their search result listings.  If Facebook Graph Search takes off (like we think it will) brands who do not actively focus on keeping their addressable market engaged, will lose out on being placed in search results.  Brands with a high volume and frequency of engagements will benefit even more than they have in the past with more than just the improved newsfeed distribution.” — Lucy Jacobs, COO, Spruce Media.

“For us, Graph Search means Open Graph will be more and more important in the future. While Open Graph actions are not integrated in the Graph Search yet, Facebook has announced they will be in the forthcoming months. We may safely bet they’ll include Open Graph-enabled web pages too. And the day they do, they will have a huge index of web pages with results tailored to any Facebook user’s profile. The biggest threat to Google’s core business ever.”  — Stephanie Allard, CEO, Wisemetrics.

“Compelling announcement that provides Facebook with a distinct advantage over Google+ in that it already has the rich personal data and user-generated content required to maximize the value of social search results… Ideal for recommendations, recruiting, and match-making – monetization via ads cannot be far behind.” — Alex Lustberg, CMO at Lyris.

“Facebook’s new Graph Search is hardly the Google killer (or for that matter Yelp, TripAdvisor or any other recommendation aggregator) that it might at first seem. Graph Search is purporting to return very specific results to a query rather than links to a whole lot of sites ala Google. It had better be amazingly accurate or it will quickly lose people. There is a reason why Google returns many results. It often takes more than an algorithm to find exactly what you are looking for. Google gives you pages you are likely to find what you need, you the human do the rest. If Facebook thinks that my social graph is going to help me find what I need it is sorely mistaken. In fact, if I know where some of my friends are recommending to go eat, it going to have precisely the opposite effect. I will be choosing another restaurant on Yelp.” — Cameron Yuill, Founder of AdGent Digital.

“Facebook’s Graph Search announcement today is definitely a compelling new feature that will enrich the user experience, but where I see this getting interesting for brands is if Facebook adds the ability to target users based on search activity, adding ‘searched for’ as an open graph action. For example, a hotel chain could target all those who have searched for tourist attractions in Hawaii visited by my friend. That’s when advertisers, in addition to users, will get excited about Graph Search.”Compass Labs CEO Dilip Venkatachari.

“For the longest time Facebook struggled with search. A simple keyword search rarely surfaced any worthwhile results and there was no way to discover new places or topics. With all the information at their fingertips, it’s no surprise Facebook has introduced a new search feature. Facebook Graph Search gives users a whole new way to explore based on their friends and interests. With Graph Search, a user can perform a query such as – show me all the restaurants my friends have gone to in San Francisco. This will definitely boost user engagement on Facebook as people use Graph Search to explore interests and learn about products and businesses. This also presents a great opportunity for businesses to optimize for interests. Businesses will be able to connect and activate their customers in whole new ways. It will be very interesting to see how this product evolves and if we can apply the graph search to all the public information on Facebook in future. — Raj Kadam, CEO/Founder of Viralheat.

“Facebook’s re-indexing of their data for the search feature should pave the way for massive revenue opportunities as additional search driven ad formats appear in the platform.  (Native Ads?) Not only will advertisers benefit from existing demographic and social segmentations, but the search feature will add the dynamic of intent.” — Ryan Wilson, CEO, FiveFifty.

“Facebook’s Graph Search announcement demonstrates their determination to turn consumer data into actionable tools that enable users with additional ways to connect, learn, and share. It represents a fundamentally new way to create dynamic communities based on social connections and shared interests. One can easily imagine how Facebook could add the same capability to their ad platform to allow brands to grow their reach dynamically by targeting expanding communities built from their best customers, early adopters, most active fans, or the people who engage with their ads. Whether this would actually help increase reach or generate new sales is something we (Aggregate Knowledge) would be excited to figure out.” — Pascal Bensoussan, chief strategy officer at Aggregate Knowledge.

“From an ad targeting perspective, Facebook’s Graph Search could represent a unique opportunity to leverage intent data that’s highly differentiated from the big three search engines. Whether or not these graph searches will be a good indicator of purchase intent is yet to be seen. However, as users grow accustomed to performing broader web searches within this environment, Facebook Graph Search has the potential to be search retargeting on steroids.” —  Danny Kourianos, Vice President of Product Development, mediaForge.

“In a nutshell, I am having a great deal of trouble envisioning this working long term.  Since categorized searches are based on the ‘likes’, pictures, comments and other information submitted by one’s friends (with loose privacy settings,) the results may not be as accurate as FB would like them to be simply because most of the social networkers largely falsify their FB info.  Also, one’s favorite TV shows or books, political views, and restaurant preferences change overtime.  Many don’t update their FB pages to reflect these changes.  That said – if the results aren’t great, the feature most likely won’t be used long term and most of the early adopters probably just go back to conventional Google like searches.” — Alex Godelman, Chief Technology Officer at Evolve Media Corp.

“It’s too simplistic to call Facebook’s improved search experience a ‘Google killer’ — people search in all kinds of modes, and for different things. Search behavior has not decreased or streamlined since Performics started monitoring it in 1998, it has in fact become the expected approach to finding everything and grown and expanded into different forms and interfaces. For example, people now “search” using barcode scanners in stores; we search for advice from our friends and networks on social media; we use our voices to search for nearby solutions on mobile. Facebook understands this expectation and is seeking to make it unique to the social network experience and mode, and may be considering monetization appropriate to a social environment rather than the standard pure “search ad” approach. I like their plan to eventually integrate Netflix and Spotify results with specific queries. This indicates that they are thinking ahead in terms of ways to monetize search and could unlock opportunities for certain brands to monopolize a vertical just like Spotify will for music. Data is significant in driving highly relevant, more dynamic content and a personalized experience compared to traditional paid search listings. From a brand perspective, this also reinforces the need for companies to consider content optimized specifically for participation making it  share-worthy, relevant and unique.” — Daina Middleton, Performics Global CEO and author of Marketing in the Age of Participation.

“Facebook continues to set the pace in two directions: 1.) Useability & customers experience.  Graph Search is another bridge on the communications gap making consumers lives better and easier as they connect their worlds. 2.) Privacy of the User:  Facebook continues to be forward thinking by not abusing the data they have and giving the users control and restricting access to whom data has been shared. This makes Facebook one of the more sought after places for marketers.  As their consumer experience grows, so does their impact on the upper funnel of most marketers.  We see this everyday; advertisers are using Facebook to influence demand up the funnel, resulting in more sales downstream.  Its another exciting innovation from Facebook.” — David Jakubowski, CEO of Aggregate Knowledge.

“My understanding is that these early steps are not a replacement for the traditional search engine, but an addition to it. This new capability would make it possible to query against the propriatery social data not directly available to the rest of the search ecosystem. I would not be surprised if Facebook were to acquire a web search engine — not much choice here — or build its own to make it into a full-fledged offering. Then, over time, they would be able go face-to-face against Google and Bing/Yahoo! while having their proprietary social data as an important differentiator. This move capitalizes on Facebook’s strength and propels the company in the right direction.” — Alexander Balva, CTO, InboundWriter.

“Trusted relationships are a powerful validation of recommendations, whether they be for restaurants, to collect pictures of myself and family, or for business purposes. Facebook builds on the deep knowledge it has of its users and creates a network at which they are the center. Therefore this trust-based search of close friends and their acquaintances may yield results that are better. I remember my initial experience with Google after having used many search engines in the late 90’s; it was an absolute revelation and I immediately dumped all of them as Google produced the stuff I was looking for. If Facebook can cross a similar bar they have a winner. With Mark Zuckerberg calling it one of the three pillars, I am hoping it is as good as presented. In the users’ eyes, and given the proximity of friends to each other, this solves a lot of the localization issues that have stumped search engines for years. Search engines are able to personalize based on the knowledge they have of the user; for example, information extracted from the IP address’ physical location or what they can glean from access they have through Google +1 data. All in all, I will adopt a wait-and-see approach to assess how it actually functions.” — Greg Caws, VP of Technology Operations, InboundWriter

“Today’s announcement by Facebook further highlights the company’s commitment to provide consumers with new opportunities to establish meaningful connections, and discover the people and interests most relevant to them. We also expect the functionality to eventually be rolled out for brand Pages and social search will further bolster the importance of quality content that brands need to be consistently creating and sharing. Today’s announcement also points to a trend we’ve seen the company focus on repeatedly – providing both consumers and brands with an experience that emphasizes “quality over quantity.” Both sets of users will now be able to more readily find quality connections and interests to help take social networks to the next level in utility and social discovery.” —Jim Rudden, Chief Marketing Officer at Spredfast.

“With Graph Search, Facebook takes another important step towards converting all the valuable attention data it collects via the open graph API into a product offering that directly competes with the heart of Google, Yelp, LinkedIn and more. Graph Search is a master stroke by Facebook, and opens a new (and arguably the most valuable) contextual revenue model possible – ads served in response to intent vs. communication.”– Chris Saad, Chief Strategy Officer at Echo.

“The Internet, as an extensive database of information, requires the restriction of information to be useful. Search algorithms are the way that we restrict the vast amount of information to whatever needs we may have at any given moment. It’s what has made Google so powerful, and it reflects the ethic of the Internet experience. It’s natural that Facebook would catch on to this simple idea to allow users to tailor their experience with the ever-growing database of information in the personal networks within Facebook’s walls. Facebook is asking users to sit in the driver’s seat of innovation, figuring out new ways to interact with Facebook content, and in turn new user habits will point the medium in new directions.” — Mike Plugh, a lecturer in the Communication and Media Studies program at Fordham University.

“Facebook already captures a small share of search, with billions of queries for people served each year.  Graph Search is another step towards gaining a piece of the global search pie.  What’s interesting about this is Search Graph allows you to search for a different kind of information than you would on Google.  As a result, we think this is more likely to grow the overall market for search, creating new options for consumers, as opposed to battling for share with Google direct.” —Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing for Marin Software.

“I applaud Facebook’s new search feature – anything that increases our ability to find information more responsive to our needs and life is welcome.  I don’t worry about commercial uses – if we want to be immune from commercial solicitations online then we should close all of our accounts and stay off the web.  No ad ever forced any one to buy anything.  But lack of information hurts people all the time, in their personal and professional relationships.” — Paul Levinson, PhD, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, and author of New New Media.

‘”The new Facebook Social Graph search is Mark Zuckerberg’s gift to marketers.  This will be the single most efficient way to find your potential customers, and will allow marketers to quickly build lists using a level of personal information that’s simply never been this open and accessible before.” Sean Malseed, VP of Strategic Development, SEMrush.

“Facebook’s innovative Social Graph Search is going to provide great marketing insight for businesses both large and small. While its overall intent is for users to find friends, it is actually much more than that; with the billions of Facebook users searching each day, marketers will now use this to their advantage in being able to locate new clientele that much easier.” – Kerin Foster, Director of Content Development, SEMrush.

“Facebook Graph Search is a first great step in the evolution of social search. Not just a social layer, but a true tapping of the collective experiences of your social connections to help you find the things you are interested in. More is needed, besides interest, intent & sentiment needs to be figured out. Ok, so 10 of my friends have been to a restaurant, but what do they think of it? Reviews make sense. Very disruptive to companies like Yelp. But, Facebook users are pretty resistant to change, so will be interesting to see adoption by users. — Hamid Saify, VP, Search Marketing, Deutsch LA.

“Facebook’s new Graph Search promises to deliver better, more relevant customer experiences within Facebook by offering true search engine technology on the platform. The ability to deliver results based on sentiment has the potential of being game changing for Facebook and the industry. For consumers, it promises unique ways to seek relevant information in context of their Facebook profile; For advertisers it can open up new opportunities to maximize ad spend while bringing more meaningful, targeted media to their audiences in both brand andawareness activities and true direct response initiatives. For more details about Adobe MediaOptimizer, Adobe’s industry-leading digital advertising solution, and how it fully integrates with Facebook advertising visit” — Justin Merickel, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Media & Ad Solutions at Adobe.

“First, this is far from a Google killer. Google still has a lot of runway to get this right. Ultimately we are talking about the war on owning Purchasing Intent. Facebook might have a stronger hold on consumer or B2C products (e.g. “I like this new stove”), but it’s far from perfect. Personally, I’m really suspect about any search algorithm that puts too much emphasis on “Like”. It has to be the most abused social metaphor of all time – first, we barely think twice before “liking” something. Second, given all the marketing gimmicks to get you to Like stuff, it’s hardly an objective filter. And third, even if they manage to get it right, the whole world of B2B just isn’t part of the conversation on Facebook in any meaningful way. Those conversations are still happening outside Facebook’s walled garden on branded communities. This game is far from over.” — Sameer Patel. GM and Global VP, Enterprise Social Software at SAP.


  1. I think it would make force close more on my phone and pc crashes, just because of the ads. I Love fb when it was first coming out, but every website as too sell themself and try to get bigger and faster, time will tell.

  2. Really great comment and I will enjoy my reading them all through, once again.

    The clear potential of PLAs via ‘intent based’ targeting (on or off Facebook – and alongside Graph Search besides on all other SE’s SERPs), is now coming – to soon be a realty.

    Besides individual real time targeting on landing pages (again, on Facebook or across the web), based on the above.

    And if I may .. It’s been ‘talked of’ since (at least) May, 2011


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