I opined previously that it appeared to me that Facebook had cracked the challenge of monetising their site by applying semantic search to their billion users and their networks with the introduction of the “Graph Search” feature.
This post on the Social Media Examiner site goes into some detail about the way Graph search works, and when you think about it a bit, the value is huge to marketers, as it offers highly targeted search capabilities.
I am a tennis player, a member of a local club that has the almost unique distinctions of retaining its grass courts, being a century old, and having many truly great players as former members. Funding the maintanence of the grass is an ongoing challenge, one that threatens the future of the club as membership declines with the lessening popularity of tennis, and the changing demographics of the local area.
There are a series of semantic searches I, and my fellow club members (assuming they use facebook, which many do not), can now easily undertake. Using these connections, through the “friends” networks, we can identify potential visitors and members, and market to those “friends” networks the joy of the game on grass, (particularly on a hot day), the value of membership based on the availability of grass, the heritage of the club, and the social aspects of the great game. The searches would look something like this:
Friends: who like tennis,
who like tennis and live in the Sydney inner west,
who like playing tennis on grass,
who would like to try playing tennis on grass,
and so on.
As those searches are employed, ads by sellers of tennis equipment, marketers of sporting brands, tennis coaches, even lawn care equipment would benefit from the highly targeted, and empathetic environment.
Potentially a gold-mine for marketers, as the value of Graph search to those networked on facebook is substantial. Suddenly Facebook looks like it has the potential to pay a dividend to those donkeys who got sucked in by the IPO, and did not get out fast enough, unlike young Mr. Zuckerberg.