Will Facebook’s Graph Search become a major piece of successful online marketing strategies? It’s still in its infancy, and does only a small fraction of what it promises to do at this point, but just given the fact that it’s the search feature of Facebook (over a billion users), it seems like something that should play a significant part.
Not only does Graph Search not currently have all the functionality that Facebook has planned for it, but it’s also still in the process of slowly rolling out. And I do mean slowly. Any notions you have about Graph Search thus far are simply incomplete. What’s available now is nothing compared to what will be available.
Even still, some have big hope for Facebook’s revamped search and its potential effects on small businesses. Consider this infographic from Advantage Capital Funds:
Infographic by Advantage Capital Funds
That’s all fine and good, but online marketers need data. When it comes to search marketing, keyword data is obviously of the utmost importance (though it’s getting harder to come by thanks to the whole “not provided” ordeal), but this isn’t something that’s readily available from Facebook. You can’t just look at your search data in Google Analytics and see the Graph Search referrals, because Graph Search is part of Facebook, which Google considers social rather than search, even though Graph Search sends users to Bing results in cases where Facebook’s own data doesn’t match the query.
It’s entirely possible that the situation will get better for webmasters and marketers in the future, but for now, there is a workaround, which Glenn Gabe discusses in a blog post (via Search Engine Land).
Facebook does have keyword data available via referral strings. As Gabe noticed, the keyword is being passed along int he referrer. He shows this example:
“As you can guess, I jumped into Google Analytics to see how this was being picked up,” Gabe writes. “Since Facebook isn’t an official search engine in GA, it was still showing up as a referring site (without the keyword showing up). But, since the q= querystring parameter was being passed in the referrer, I knew I could surface those keywords via advanced filters. So, I quickly set up a new profile and added a filter that would capture graph searches from Facebook. And it works.”
Gabe goes on to provide step-by-step instructions for doing this, so check out the post if this is something you want to do.
Tracking this data is bound to make Graph Search a lot more helpful to your business. And wait until the product really gets into full swing.