While opinions vary regarding the impact that Facebook Graph Search will have on members and marketers, most believe the feature will impact the change of online social behavior.
Relying on a network of friends moves marketers closer to a scary reality. Some 92% of consumers believe a recommendation from a friend over marketing from a brand, according to Anna Banks, VP of strategy at Organic. "It becomes critical for marketers to figure out how to make this dynamic work for them without it seeming creepy or big-brotherish," she said. "Consumers will need to feel like they get real value from the company leveraging their data and networks, not just opportunistically pushing their wares."
The feature takes "social ads and social advertising to the next generation," according to Banks.
The ability to mine data related to friends presents a new way to find potential and existing customers who are more likely to have similar attributes to a brand or product's core audience, she said. Opportunities become more than just finding the targets; it's about leveraging the network to market or endorsements -- either spontaneously or prompted via reward, the products and services.
Graph Search will change the way that Facebook members use the site, said Will Critchlow, co-founder at search engine optimization agency distilled. It means conditioning Facebook members to perform searches when they want to know something, such as "has anyone used" a specific piece of software or "who in my network likes" Starbucks coffee, he said in a video uploaded to YouTube.
Kenshoo CMO Aaron Goldman said since Graph Search supports social context it should improve click and conversion rates. It will require brands to continually keep Fan pages updated and complete. Sponsored Results will become part of Graph Search, and the improvements in functions should generate more adoption from both consumers and marketers.
In addition, running ad campaigns to increase page "likes" will boost a business's chances of appearing in search results as part of friend connections.
Analysts will closely watch Facebook's move into search and the influence it will have on services from companies like Yelp.