Social media has been gaining momentum as a valuable segment of market research for some time now as consumer usage of – and the amount of data that is shared on – these sites quickly escalated. Even with user numbers now leveling off for the major social media players, the amount of data accessible via these sites continues to grow exponentially. Social media sites are a key resource for social listening, respondent sampling, and survey recruitment.
As the largest and most powerful social media site, Facebook continues to expand its reach and influence by routinely unveiling additional features. The latest announcement from Facebook is the new tool Graph Search, and it is definitely worth paying attention to if you are a member of the market research community. Although currently in beta test and not yet widely available, the intent for Graph Search is that it provide users with highly targeted and relevant content contained within Facebook’s pages and based on their personal connections. As Graph Search’s capabilities are further expanded, companies and brands (both large and small) will likely be among the primary beneficiaries of this tool. Sharing highly intentional content on the company page(s) and with page “fans” will increase the potential of that content showing up in more and more Graph Search searches, thereby increasing exposure of the company/brand among Facebook’s one billion users without additional advertising and marketing expense.
For market research, the most obvious benefit is access to highly targeted samples and feedback. Graph Search provides the ability to submit a specific query and be immediately directed to people and pages that match the search parameters. Query for specific demographic info (age, gender, location, etc.), interests/affiliations (page “Likes,” event attendance, etc.) and photos/comments…with the ability to cross reference the search parameters. This tool has the potential to deliver valuable insights and target research participants from all walks of life, both in the local area and across the globe, like no other resource.
Of course, Facebook Graph Search is new and its availability is limited, so it will take time to understand the full impact and usefulness of it. Some of us at Kinesis have volunteered to be Facebook Graph Search beta testers, however none of us have been selected as of yet. We will update this blog with our experiential findings as soon as we can – so please stay tuned.