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Facebook Likes the New Link Citation?
Likes Just Became More Valuable

 7:27 am on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Report in Forbes [forbes.com].

The citation currency in the Facebook Search Ecosystem is Likes, not links.

...people have been saying that there must be more to search than key words and page links... For the first time, a person’s relationship to a piece of information is going to help determine how relevant that information is... The new product lets Facebook users search in real time for information based on its association with other people.

Acquiring "Likes" is, at this moment, going to be the landrush for gaining higher rankings in Facebook Social Search.

Brace yourself for a future of “like” bribery, “like” gaming and “like” spam. If you are an influential person, expect the perks to start rolling in. Because, as we all know, some “likes” are worth more than others.

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:12 am (utc) on Jan 17, 2013]



 2:27 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

But just how many companies are really going to see the new FB Search as something they need to target? How many times a week or even monthly do you or your friends use FB to find products or somewhere to go out to eat?

The only time I ever do anything business related on FB is when a tech site or game company do competitions on there, but I never use FB to find anything, so I'm not sure how productive this will be for businesses especially e-commerce sites!?


 3:39 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

But just how many companies are really going to see the new FB Search as something they need to target?

As in everything else, companies will jump in once their competitors have pissed the pool and it's late in the game. In other words, companies follow their better competitors.

What gives Facebook the potential to be a better search experience than Twitter, Yelp, or TripAdvisor is, if executed properly, it can be a true recommendation engine. And there is no more powerful recommendation than the one that comes from a friend.

How many times a week or even monthly do you or your friends use FB to...

Might as well ask how many times have I used a jet pack to fly to the supermarket. The utility for it hasn't existed. John Battelle just published a good article about FB [battellemedia.com], and like you, he targeted user engagement. How often are people using FB?

First and foremost, Facebook has an engagement problem, particularly in markets (like the US) where its use has become ubiquitous and many of its original users are two, three or more years into the “Facebook habit.” ...As the service slows in overall growth, engagement with its current base becomes critical. ...Without a steady stream of meaningful Likes, Friend Requests, declared Interests, and such, the platform would wither.

Put another way, Facebook needed a service that layered a fresh blanket of value over its core topography. Graph Search is it.


 5:15 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

And there is no more powerful recommendation than the one that comes from a friend.

Yes I agree, but just how many e-commerce businesses do you like on FB? I know I don't do many and I don't think many of my friends do either, that's the only problem with this, FB have limited how/why results are shown to people, which has both pros and cons:

Pros - You get real recommendations from people you know and trust.
Cons - If your not a FB whore (sorry couldn't think of a better word lol) and neither are your friends, your results will be limited.

Check out this quote:
When I’ve watched Facebook show me demos of Facebook Graph Search, and do some of the example searches I’ve itemized above, it’s impressive. But it’s also impressive because it’s a person from Facebook who makes heavy use on Facebook to connect to things and who is in turn tapping into the knowledge of many other Facebookers who are similarly hyper-connected. They are not, in a word, normal.

That's from Danny at [searchengineland.com...] and I agree with him on this, that it sounds like it will be great for heavy FB users, but for other general users like me and most of the people I know, I just don't know how good its going to be for e-commerce sites.

I guess we will just have to see in time, but I really don't know if this will be a big money maker for e-commerce sites IMO.

Community, group, forum and gaming sites etc on the other hand could find this new search to be of great value, but I guess only time will tell!


 5:20 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

How often are people using FB?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not targeting how often people use FB, I'm targeting how often people like e-commerce sites!

I know FB is used a hell of a lot, but what I am questioning is how much people use the like feature from a business point of view, yes this will be great for FB things etc, but just how useful will it be to business websites in the e-com field, that's my question!?

As I said above, I guess only time will tell just how this turns out and how well it can work for e-com sites etc :)


 12:57 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I like a lot of "crap" on FB that means absolutely nothing to me. I "like" a lot of stupid crap that people post there as well. I "like" a lot of stuff the I have never seen, experienced, bought, used, etc. It doesn't necessarily mean that I "recommend" it. "Likes" in general, I think are very, very weak recommondations at best.

However, my "Like" for "Woman with Sexy Tatoos" stands! ;)


 2:18 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

i really don't get why everyone is so obsessed with this graph search. get real. if facebook would seriously tackle google with an alternative web search engine on their platform, yeah, that would be a story. searching likes for trying to get answers to your everyday questions, not so much.

What gives Facebook the potential to be a better search experience than Twitter, Yelp, or TripAdvisor is, if executed properly, it can be a true recommendation engine.

no, it won't. recommendation platforms are there for that only purpose. people write stories about places and businesses, get credits, in other words: they are involved. on facebook, a like is rather a byproduct of fumbling around while doing other things. meaningful information about your friends preferences is largely incomplete and not usable for concrete queries. and unless you are hyper-connected with hyper-active users who happen to be your friends you lack the relevant peers anyway to get the job done.

And there is no more powerful recommendation than the one that comes from a friend.

right. so i ask them personally.


 2:48 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Isn't the whole premise of Facebook Search that it will find the answers in the data posted by other Facebook users.

How many people do you think actually build a profile with enough data to contribute anything meaningful to a search database? I certainly don't and nor do my friends.

IMO the answers to search queries are most likely to be very thin... at best.


 11:34 am on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

seems to be a lot of speculation flying about whether the graph search will actually work..

thought Id do some of my own speculating..

so for now lets forget about all those not on facebook..

supposing we have a scale of users from very active to very passive. Obviously the very active users will probably benefit from this the most as their searches will work well.

Most people have a few active friends who regularly organise events, ask you to parties & generally start discussions etc.. I think Facebook graph is geared to get these people to use it. Lets suppose a lot of these type of people embrace it, they will be the ones searching for friends who like things and then maybe organise events around a friends interests.

Lets suppose I have a friend like this and he is looking to have a poker evening so decides to search for friends that like poker, all those that have filled out their likes will be found where the rest may get left behind.

Then they post all over facebook that they all had a poker night, I would say the more passive users may start liking more things so they can be a part of events that are happening..

Lets be honest most people that are crying about the new FB graph search are no doubt either FB haters or passive users like me so it obviously wont appeal to them as the graph will work mostly with active users. There are however many in this world that are heavily affected by peer pressure & those active type of people which is why this might end up being successful..


 2:39 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Coloring detractors as FB haters is misleading. It's entirely possible that detractors simply have better business judgement, and arent't trying to sell FB services. And the proof of that is.....most people aren't making any money from facebook - including facebook.

You somewhat touched on the real problem but don't appreciate the magnitude of the problem. Facebook users don't use facebook for research or purchase decisions. Therefore the problem is not, as many seem to think, providing a platform that lends itself to business advertising, the problem is changing consumer behavior, to get them to change from Google when they're searching. That's possible, but I think it's unlikely. Not because I give a dang about FB, but because I just don't think behavior's going to change.

If FB would've brought out a phone and integrated it with local search and likes, then I'd say they would have an opportunity to start capturing ad dollars. but not this.

And what's worse, nobody has any idea what 'graph search' is. This is going to go over with less success than Google +.


 4:00 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm only speculating... but if FB does a deal with MS, then Bing could have FB's social graph integrated into its search results and would be in a position to far outstrip Google's ability to tell the searcher which of their friends (on Google+) visited / liked / bought from which sites.

And such a deal would see FB OpenGraph integrated into the default search in IE, MS Windows, the new generation of Nokia phones, Windows mobile, Surface tablets etc.


 5:32 pm on Jan 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

but just how many e-commerce businesses do you like on FB?!

Depends on the niche. I work with a client who sells clothing, but has a bit of an emotional connection with their clientele, and they have organically gathered hundreds of thousands of likes...

Does this mean people will use facebook search to find clothing recommendations? Not necessarily (but in this niche, potentially!), but I do see people connect with brands if they feel an association with them.


 12:18 am on Jan 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Meh, I'll make it easy for visitors to share but is there really a need to be ON Facebook? I don't see it that way.


 3:04 pm on Jan 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

...but is there really a need to be ON Facebook?

That is a good question. The answer is that the heart of Internet Marketing is finding where your consumer is online and bringing them to your site to make purchases. Let's take a look at the kinds of people on Facebook.

1. Facebook contains members that are organized around topics, hobbies, business types, organizations- topical niches are ripe for picking.

2. Less ripe are ordinary members who are sharing photos and life reports with their friends and family. While the focus isn't on a niche, for some businesses these people may still represent a potential client, but in seed form. What germinates them for your business is their interest in a niche that intersects with yours. Those are represented (or can/may be represented depending on the niche) in the various likes, photos, comments, and businesses that they like. Facebook Social Search, properly implemented, should allow those niche loving members to find you.

There are various aspects determining rank that should be investigated. Facebook Social Search has ranking factors that so far I haven't seen anyone discussing.


 7:30 am on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

I dunno. I like Facebook, but I personally am fed up of seeing stuff pop into my feed on Facebook just because someone I know 'likes' it. I have clicked ads based on my stated taste in music film and literature, but if I could unsubscribe from seeing likes from people (just about all of whose tastes don't match mine) I would.

Most people I know have unsubscribed from people they're not actually friends with offline so they don't see ANY of their activity. It's a polite way of saying 'yes I'd like to stay in touch with you but I really don't care about the shoes you bought'.

I'm on Facebook is to stay in touch with people.
What my friends get up to and say they feel like = good, that's what I signed up for.
What my friends have been buying and other expressions of their personal taste = pretty much indifferent, I'm not friends with them for their taste in music, clothes or even their politics.

I accept that perhaps I'm the wrong demographic. The younger you are, the more likely you are to choose friends based on something other than their personality, and the more important sharing opinion and having it validated is.

But I'm already getting fed up with a feed increasingly choked with opinions and sentiment about businesses. I come on Facebook to play. I don't 'engage with brands' and if a brand tries to engage with me I doubt I'd be up for it.

I can only think of one instance when I discovered something of real and lasting interest through Facebook - when a tech buddy posted about JPEGMini.

If I want a recommendation via Facebook I will actively ASK my friends - or message a subset of them.

Like I said, I may be the wrong demographic, but I know that quite a few of my friends share my sentiments.


 9:20 pm on Jan 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

^ Hmmm, how about that; how about if Facebook could actually be BAD for your business.

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