With Facebook adding starred reviews at the end of 2013 and partnerting with Factual recently to include millions of more store pages, we knew a local search portal was not far away. Although it has been live for close to a month, Facebook has yet to promote their new local search engine (https://www.facebook.com/services/) to the mass public. While this first beta version is available on desktops, it has yet to take the jump to mobile devices. Its features and UI are strikingly similar to other local search giants like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google… and has even been hyped the “Yelp Killer” by a few online articles.
In recent years Facebook has transformed from a widely popular social media site to a platform integral for many businesses’ and brands’ success. According to a study done by Kendall College, 58% of consumers who plan to buy products in store visit businesses’ Facebook pages before purchasing. Clearly, people no longer only use Facebook as a means to connecting with their friends and as a virtual photo album. Facebook has evolved into an integrated local search platform where customers can seek out local businesses (and their contact info), read branded messages, and discuss their experience via stared reviews (we’ve even seen them automatically adding menu pages, and hours of operation… sounds like Yelp, right?).
It’s not the sexiest name, but it could be the sexiest thing to hit search for a while. Somebody needed to shake things up, but we’re not totally convinced this is it. Last month, Facebook launched its limited, beta version of its own social media search program, Graph Search. According to Facebook, “Graph Search helps you find people, places and things—and explore Facebook in a whole new way.” This new search option will differ on an individual level because the results are dependent on your friends and followers. Facebook will pull results based on what restaurants your friends like, what music they listen to, or who they are connected with. To search for things, users just have to type their search into the blue bar at the top of the page and as you type, suggestions appear below.
Facebook has finally implemented a daily deals program of their own. As we all know, Daily Deal sites have taken the Internet by storm and numerous sites are running deals in nearly every big city in the USA. Now Groupon and Living Social are the top Daily Deal sites, but who knows, maybe Facebook’s new addition will push them to the top! There are now hundreds of daily deal platforms, but its very likely the reach of these platforms will be a key to successfully delivering customers in a scalable and impactful way.