Author Archive: Scott Carter

Facebook’s New Graph Search

Facebook’s high level goals have always been centered on creating more connections, creating more interactions, and getting people to stay logged into Facebook for longer periods of time. As Forrester’s Nate Elliot pointed out, “Facebook’s worst nightmare is a static social graph”, which is a very real concern.

Facebook introduced Graph Search which enables users to search their own social graph; spending more time on Facebook and finding more people to connect and interact with. The Graph Search appears as a larger search bar at the top of the screen. Searches are constructed using phrases (“which of my friends have been to AT&T Park” rather than “SF Giants”) and a series of filters. Although Facebook has made it clear that this is not an engine to search the web, it does apply competitive pressure to Google, Bing, and other search engines since this will potentially create more advertising opportunities on Facebook.

The new feature is currently in beta; if you want to take it for a test drive, you can request that here.

FBGraphSearch1

Individuals

This new product is aimed at helping individuals discover more people and content to Like, comment on, or otherwise engage with. No new content is made available or public; it is just that which a person would already be able to see browsing around in Facebook.  While making it easier to find friends that also love banjos or help to plan a Game of Thrones party, it could also turn into a way to easily find social recommendations for local businesses, much like what Yelp does but with more social context.

Businesses

Facebook Graph Search will include paid results, such as Sponsored Stories. This paves the way to sell more of these ads as more people explore Facebook through Graph Search. It also sets the stage for future ad products that are even more targeted and personalized. Similar to Google, Facebook will be able to develop a database on how people search, in addition to the wealth of other knowledge they have on people.

In addition to the Yelp-like use case I mentioned above, Graph Search has implications for larger brands as well. Facebook is encouraging brands to “continue to invest in [their] page[s]”, making sure that all the information listed is up to date and as complete as possible.  A brand’s content or pages can be populated in search results organically if they are relevant. For example, someone searching for “web development tools my friends like” might see the Adobe Dreamweaver page populated in the results.  A search for “Creative events near me” could point the searcher towards the Adobe MAX page if they live in the area or if their friends have liked that page.

FBGraphSearch2

Now What?

This would be a good time to make sure any information you have posted (like photos and interests) are up to date and still what you want to be shared. It is also a good time to review your privacy settings to make sure you are only sharing what you think you are.

For businesses, this will mean an increased emphasis on relevant content, complete profiles, and even fan counts, all of which will impact ranking. This also means it is important to make sure any off-Facebook sites that are linked to (like blogs or home pages) are optimized for Facebook sharing (i.e., meta data, preview images, etc.). As Facebook continues to develop its Graph Search, we will see more opportunities for brands to connect with and target specific customers, and see even greater importance placed on constructing a more relevant and engaging social presence.

 

More resources:

Facebook’s newsroom page

Huffington Post

Mashable

Social Media Measurement: Product Launches Pt 1

Measuring the performance of a corporate social media event can be a pretty tough job to tackle, but it is something that is essential to do. Knowing where to start and what to measure can be a bit of a challenge. At Adobe, we track and measure all of our social media initiatives/campaigns and have developed a categorical system for selecting and reporting on metrics; this helps us stay consistent and (relatively) sane.

  • Volume metrics are what we consider to be the low hanging fruit; metrics that can be easily collected using automated tools. Generally consisting of only numbers, these metrics don’t always contain very actionable insights; but they often provide the wow-factor that comes with large numbers
  • Conversational metrics get into the deeper analysis of what is being said and generally have to be pulled manually
  • Conversion metrics tie social activities directly to web site activities and the bottom line. More specialized tools are needed for these metrics

For this post, I’ll go over the volume metrics and how we used them to report on a recent product launch.

We are seeing the socialization of corporate communications play an increasingly greater role in many product launches. Ford shook up the auto industry when it decided to reveal the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook rather than at an auto show, which is traditionally the place to launch new car models. Just a few months ago, Cadbury revealed a new candy bar using Google+ as the primary communication driver. Adobe is no different and social media played a big role in our launch of Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud. For a large campaign like this one, we will include all three categories in our reporting. However, depending on the size, type, and goals of other campaigns, we often choose to omit one or two.

With any of the categories, the first step is to make sure you know what you are measuring; this should be decided in part by defining your business objectives and considering who your audience for the report will be. We have found that engagement metrics are very useful for social practitioners to drive the day to day strategy, but executives and other stakeholders are often more interested in volume and conversational metrics that give a holistic view of all the social efforts. For our volume metrics for this campaign, we looked at total number of posts in the conversation, media mix (the platforms on which the conversation is taking place), and the growth of our social media fan base.

As I mentioned above, the volume metrics are those that can be done easily and automatically with most tools. These are good metrics to use for anyone just starting out in the field or with teams that don’t have a lot of resources. Regardless of the tool being used, I have found it best to export the data into Microsoft Excel which enables me to reformat it into charts (some of which I included) that easily fit into our reports. The nature of these metrics also allows for easy comparison with past campaigns or other data, giving a quick reference point for the performance of a campaign. On the volume chart below, I was able to compare the overall Creative Suite conversation (which typically receives 15K-30K posts a day) to the conversation specifically about the launch; a spike driven by the launch activity is clearly visible.

Thanks to these “low-hanging fruit” metrics, we were easily able to frame the success of the social media efforts for the Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud launch in terms of awareness and buzz. We demonstrated that the social conversation around the launch was significant and pushed the normal Creative Suite conversation to a new high. We were also able to show how many new people we added to our social media fan base. Stay tuned: in following posts, I’ll go into the conversational and conversion metrics that we also used to measure this campaign.