How Will Facebook Graph Search Change Sponsored Results?

With Facebook’s announcement of Graph Search, marketers anxiously awaited to see how they could take advantage of the new real estate. Look at all that space!


Last fall, “Sponsored Results” started appearing in the search bar. Even though there isn’t much traffic, these ad units are surprisingly powerful. We’ve seen CTR in the 5-10% range, and CPCs of $0.05 – $0.10. Advertisers can use this ad unit to “brand bid” on competitors’ names, or what’s even more powerful is to target a set of users and bid on a wide range of popular keywords.

This is especially sneaky because we’re not really bidding on the keywords, we’re bidding on a set of users to search for anything.

See how Degree Tree and Oxford Seminars come up when I start to search for Coca-Cola?

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So will these ads be effective with Graph Search? Let’s take a look at old vs. new:




At first glance, Graph Search is a much wider bar – wide enough for them to have replaced the Facebook logo with just the “f”!

The ad still looks pretty good, and it’s not in a “Sponsored” section like before, but they’ve added the “Sponsored Software” badge to let users know it’s an ad. Will this affect CTR?  As Graph Search is released to more and more users, we’re expecting:

Search volumes to increase, since Graph Search one of the 3 pillars of Facebook, as mentioned by Zuck. Might search on Facebook be bigger and more effective than RHS (right-hand side ads)? We think so.


Graph Search expands search from a single term to social connectedness, geography, and actions. How will us marketers choose to serve ads within this framework?

We think sponsored stories are even more important, since graph search is based on a user’s context ¾ what their friends have done.


How do we get more results in graph search, paid or not? Get more social actions ¾ likes, comments, check-ins, offers claimed, and so forth. We’re way beyond the days of just growing fans.

Matt Prater spends his professional life managing Facebook marketing campaigns, training agency partners, and working closely with brands such as Nickelodeon, Nike, Viacom, and PBS. His area of expertise includes ad campaign management and project development. Earlier this year, Matt was a featured speaker at several social media workshops for agencies in Bogota, Colombia as a part of the BlitzMetrics Certified Partner program. He graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with degrees in Economics and Political Science. Outside of work, Matt is an avid tennis player and enjoys rock climbing, cycling, and travel.

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company that partners with schools to train young adults. Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit. Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, CNN, Fox News, and CBS Evening News.

He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo. He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as the London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70-mile ultramarathon.

Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.

You can contact him at