What we know about how Facebook search works

You want your brand to be easy to find on Facebook so your fans, followers and customers can answer their questions or yell at you, accordingly. But how, exactly, does the Facebook search work? The News Feed keeps getting updated, so is search changing too?

We had the same questions, so we did a little research and put this together.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter (ironic, we know) @UnionMetrics.

Search FYI

Back in 2015, Facebook announced Search FYI as a way to be more transparent about the progress Facebook has made with the large number of daily searches made on their network. Search would now include public posts alongside those of friends and family, and more:

  • Better search suggestions: When you tap into the search box and start typing, we’ll now offer timely, personalized search suggestions. As you type, we’ll highlight things that are happening right now so you can follow popular stories as they unfold.
  • Search results with public posts and posts from friends: When you search, you’ll now see the most recent, relevant public posts along with posts from your friends. Search results are organized to help you cut through the noise and quickly understand what the world is saying about a topic in the moment. You also can pull-to-refresh and see the latest public posts.
  • Find public conversations with search: When a link gets shared widely on Facebook, it often anchors an interesting public conversation. Now there’s a new way to quickly dive into that discussion. With one tap, you can find public posts about a link, see popular quotes and phrases mentioned in these posts, and check out an aggregate overview of sentiment. This feature is a first step—we look forward to people using it and giving us feedback so we can make it even better.”

Since then, Facebook has made only two other big announcements about search: More ways to discover Live video and An update to Trending.

So what does this mean for marketers?

We know Facebook is promoting Live video, especially if they updated search specifically to show Live video related to different topics and trending topics. This doesn’t mean your brand should start “newsjacking” trending topics with Live videos if the subject matter isn’t relevant to your brand; that’s a strategy that will almost always backfire.

Instead, prioritize thoughtful Live video in your video marketing strategy. What makes sense for your brand? Who will be on camera and what will they discuss? Experiment, but with a purpose (you can find best practices for Facebook Live from Facebook itself here.)

Search results are also ranked for users. TechCrunch  breaks it down:

“Because what friends are saying is often interesting, posts by people and groups from your network are displayed next. Then there are aggregated counts of the most popular links related to the topic, almost like a tiny Digg inside Facebook. Finally, the public posts by people you don’t know are shown, but ranked to seem as relevant to you as possible.”

While organic reach for Pages has fallen, it stands to reason that someone who has Liked your Page, engages with your content frequently and has even marked your posts as “See First” would also see anything they’re searching for that you’ve posted about pop up. So as a brand you still need to be creating content that’s useful, interesting and/or entertaining to your audience, and making sure they know where they can find you on Facebook.

This is all based mostly on updates from 2015 and 2016, so these recommendations could change as Facebook continues to confront data and privacy issues. That’s less relevant to public brand Pages, however, who might gain an advantage of showing up in search since they were always meant to be discovered.

Want more? This piece from WordStream breaks this down into 10 things to know about Facebook search.


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash