Last week, Facebook announced that Graph Search, their newly upgraded search tool, is in beta testing. The current search tool does little more than provide a shortcut to current Facebook friends and liked pages. But this upgrade vastly enhances the search tool, providing results that simply can’t be found elsewhere… and powered by the more than one billion users who are active on Facebook each month (more than 190 million of whom are in the United States). The access that I’ve received as an early Beta Tester for Graph Search has me enthused about marketing research opportunities.
Facebook users might use Facebook Graph Search to identify friends (or discover new friends) who share interests, locale, and/or social circles: “my friends who like The Big Bang Theory” (I have 41), or “friends of my friends who like The Big Bang Theory” (the number grows to 758). They could further refine the results based on other demographics (many categories are available).
Of course, you have control over your Facebook info. If you don’t share it, you can’t be included in the results. (That said, I personally use Facebook as a place to be social. When I “like” something, I do it so that others will know it… it’s an endorsement. So I have no problem being included in these results.)
With that said, Facebook Graph Search provides a great opportunity for market research. Wonder how many Facebook users in Missouri have included both hunting and fishing among their specific interests? It takes a bit of time to scroll through pages of results to arrive at a total, but Graph Search provides the answer. From demographics (i.e., gender, location, age range, language, political views, employer) to interests (i.e., “Likes”, groups joined) the ability to cross reference can provide interesting insights into your market.
One last tool in the Facebook Graph Search toolbox: it reports users who have installed Facebook mobile apps. If you are a retailer interested in the opportunity that mobile (in general) and Facebook (in specific) represents for your company, you might be shocked by a quick search on Facebook for Android (or iPhone) users who live in your area!
What type of market data would you like to see when Facebook’s new Social Graph becomes generally available?