Facebook Gaining Local Search Momentum
January 28, 2016 | Contributed by: Michael Solms
We have all been waiting for Facebook to make a big splash in local search. Instead, we have been hit with a few small ripples here and there over the past several years. Whether it was the launch of “Graph Search” or “Nearby Places”, Facebook has generated buzz in the industry without having any substantial impact on local search. Regardless of the impact, Facebook is once again getting attention as it pertains to local search. To understand why, let’s review two of the factors making Facebook the focus of local search conversations.
Facebook Launches New Local Search Engine
Facebook quietly released a new local search engine. Facebook still hasn’t promoted the launch of this new search engine on a large scale, but there has still been a lot of gained attention in the marketplace. While this appears to be Facebook’s attempt at “dipping a toe” in the local search waters, it could be a sign that the social network giant has something more substantial in the works. Currently the local search engine is featured on desktop and has not been integrated into the Facebook mobile application.
The search results format is typical of local search, showcasing the business name, address, phone number, hours, reviews and a map. Historically, brands with a substantial amount of brick and mortar locations have struggled with online listing accuracy and have thus made it a priority to correct their listing errors.
So where does Facebook get its location data? Look no further than the recent partnership with Factual. Facebook is now using Factual’s Global Places data in order to improve the quality of its data. This means that data from Factual will be used for Facebook Business Pages, Places Search, Check-Ins, and Place Tips.
With over 1.5 billion monthly active users, it is no surprise that brands have started to shift their attention to the accuracy of their listings on Facebook’s new local search engine.
Facebook is One of the Most Popular Review Sites
According to the 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey, 92% of consumers now read online reviews (vs. 88% in 2014). This makes reviews an integral part of the path to purchase. Facebook added starred reviews back in 2013 and now with the launch of its new local search feature, people can find nearby businesses on Facebook based on reviews.
Even more compelling, according to the millions of reviews collected by ChatMeter, Facebook has become the most popular review site nationwide. It is for this reason that Facebook is now on the local search radar for so many brands. In addition to accuracy and messaging, brands are now looking for solutions to monitor and respond to Facebook reviews.
While Facebook is not about to revolutionize local search overnight, it is gaining momentum. With the launch of its new local search engine and the growing quantity of consumer reviews posted on Facebook, it is looking more and more like Facebook is on the verge of making a big splash in the local search space.