Tag Archives: facebook graph search

How Local Dealers are Performing on Facebook Search

I recently audited how nearby car dealerships are performing on Facebook Graph Search.  Since my first article on best practices, I’ve talked to many local dealers who have tuned their pages for better performance.  Let’s dig in.

In Graph Search, I entered the string: “Car dealerships nearby”.  As a reminder, Car Dealerships is a fixed automotive category in GS, along with Automotive Repair, Oil Lube & Filter Service, Car Parts & Accessories, and Auto Body Shop.

Not surprisingly, the Jeff Wyler family of dealerships did well.  They have talented digital marketing folks, and have optimized their Facebook pages and built local engagement very well.  I was happy to see they are maximizing the number of allowable categories (up to three).  They’re also focusing on quality social engagement, not just number of Likes.

I charted some key statistics for the GS Page 1 dealers, and looked for clues on Facebook’s search algorithm.  As expected, the number of Likes is not the determiner of ranking.  It seems to be a combination of factors, with heavy weighting on “People Talking About This” and the number of Friends in your network that have Liked these pages.

Dealer

Likes

PTAT

Were Here

Friends liked

Categories

Jeff Wyler Honda of Colerain

524

47

1,670

1

3

Beechmont Ford

1,295

25

861

12

2

Superior Honda

4,062

19

320

13

1

Porsche of Kings Automall

78

2

157

0

1

Jeff Wyler Automotive Family

1,656

16

164

7

3

Superior Kia

2,062

13

198

6

1

Northgate Ford Lincoln

1,208

227

309

1

1

Jake Sweeney Chevrolet

678

12

195

2

1

Jake Sweeney Mazda West

69

1

78

0

3

Lexus RiverCenter

2,327

13

739

1

1

Superior Hyundai South

1,034

4

110

6

3

Please share your comments after looking at these results, and your local search results.  What best practices are you seeing that impact Facebook Search rankings?

Advertisements

Facebook Testing Ads, Reviews, Drilling Down Search

The folks at Facebook have been very busy both figuring out how to monetize Graph Search, as well as making some interesting functionality improvements,

Beginning the process of monetizing Graph Search likely comes as a welcome addition for Facebook investors.  Facebook is starting off in a very limited way with their first search ads, in that they are not targeted to what the user is searching for.  Instead they are simply using the standard targeting and retargeting methods used in other Facebook advertising.  The ads appear at the bottom of the page and only if there are multiple pages of search results.  These ads are targeted like other Facebook ads, based on the user’s age, gender, location, employer, Likes, as well as retargeting based on other sites the user has visited.

A much more powerful option for advertisers would be allowing them to target specific keywords that users might search on.  These specific lower funnel keywords would be much more valuable to advertisers and could allow Facebook to command a much higher rate.  Users who are searching and trying to make a buying decision would be served up relevant ads from businesses who have purchased those specific keywords in a geographic region.  Perhaps Facebook will move in this direction in the future with Graph Search.

The new option to drill down and refine your search was unannounced, as the new right-side menu suddenly began appearing.   I really like the new feature, as it not only makes life easier on the user, it also prompts them to find additional people or businesses that might be relevant to them.  Clearly Facebook is exposing more of their search graph to the user, so they can visualize the drill down opportunities.  In addition to drilling down, the user is also prompted to Extend This Search, by finding photos or videos from these places, or determining what friends visited them.

How can dealers maximize their opportunities with this new search drill down?  Make sure they are categorized correctly, have a large number of Likes on their business page, and have their location properly coded (see my prior articles on preparing for Graph Search).

The bad news for the automotive industry is that if the user simply searches for Places with no category chosen, there are no relevant categories in the drop down menu.  They would need to enter something like “car dealerships” or “oil lube & filter services” in the top Graph Search box.  Perhaps that too will change in the future, let’s hope so!

It is unclear exactly how the star ratings that appear next to some of these very popular venues are calculated.  I ran a few comparisons of venues on Yelp and Foursquare, and based on the large number of non-matches, they’re not republishing them.  It looks like they may be based on Likes, check-ins, mentions, and general PTAT (“People Talking About This” Facebook’s algorithm on unique users who have created a “story” about a page), since only very popular places show star ratings.  This would be similar to Foursquare’s algorithm, based on Likes, Check-ins, popularity, loyalty, and local expertise.

If in fact the Facebook reviews are an internal algorithm, dealers truly need to ramp up their social efforts.  Dealers will need to find new ways to increase Likes to their business pages, as well as increase engagement such as check-ins and other PTAT activities.

The Facebook Graph Search team will continue to refine this very important new tool, both adding to the functionality, as well as creating new options to monetize with advertisers.  I’ll continue to monitor it closely, and share my findings.