SES New York Interview: Clayburn Griffin about Facebook Graph Search

SES New York Interview: Clayburn Griffin about Facebook Graph Search

20th March 2013

Next week SES New York 2013 takes place. The conference is one of the biggest ones in the industry with many different topics covered. Going up to the conference we are talking to some of the speakers at SES New York.

In this interview we are talking to Clayburn Griffin, Organic Search Director at Catalyst who will be talking about Facebook Graph Search in New York.

Who is Clayburn Griffin?

Clayburn has been pioneering the integration of Social and Search for several years. He works as an Organic Search Director at Catalyst bringing effective SEO strategies to some of the biggest brands in the world.

You are speaking at SES New York 2013, could you tell us what you will be speaking about?

I’ll be talking about Facebook’s Graph Search. The focus will be specifically on what it means for brands and SEOs. I hope the audience will leave with a full understanding of how to use Graph Search as an effective marketing tool. We are all aware of the mostly trivial fun to be had with the new search engine, and that definitely has some potential SEO implications of its own. I’ll touch on that, but the big takeaway will be what Graph Search allows marketers to do, and how SEOs will be using it to get links.

What makes you want to be a speaker at SES New York 2013? Why there?

I’m in New York, so to be honest, it’s convenient! But specifically why SES? I had the opportunity to speak at SES two years ago. While I enjoyed speaking, it was really useful meeting others and listening to other panels. SES isn’t overly promotional as many conferences tend to be. I’m not interested in hearing snake oil salesman talk about their latest self-published book. I find that SES really gets down to providing actionable insights for marketing folk. And I hope to offer my two cents.

The world of search is changing rapidly, what would you say is the biggest change we’ve seen in the past year?

It’s been going on for about two years, and it’s the struggle to figure out social search. Did Facebook get it right with Graph Search? I’m not wholly convinced, but it’s another step in the direction. Most of these social search steps have been missteps. Google and Bing have had “social” results for a long time, but just how they incorporate them and display them has been changing often. Nobody’s been able to get it quite right, and it’s been exciting (entertaining) to watch them try. This will be the year where someone finally figures it out, and it looks like Facebook might have a head start.

You are speaking on the topic of Facebook Graph Search. One hot topic there of course is privacy, do you share the concerns there are around privacy and Graph Search?

I personally don’t share these concerns. For me, the Internet isn’t meant to be private, and that’s especially true of social networks. If you don’t want people knowing about something, then you can’t share it with anyone. That’s true in real life, but because of the ease of access, we care more about it online. Still, Facebook Graph Search is going to attract a lot of attention on this point and it won’t ever be perfect. People will feel their privacy is violated, and it’s up to the legal guys to determine whether Facebook is at fault or not. There will be outrage, but not enough to get people to leave the social network for good.

Is Graph Search the holy grail for marketers or just another channel?

It’s a Holy Grail, if that’s possible. There will have to be some products/brands that it just won’t work well for, but I think it’s still of tremendous value to marketers in general. It’s definitely much more useful than Facebook Ads, and marketers dump millions into that. It’s not a Google killer and you won’t be pulling your TV spend to throw at Graph Search, but it’s another tool for us that’s definitely one of the more effective tools at our disposal.

Which changes do you see coming for the upcoming year?

Increased search functionality. We’ll get more operators. People who like this OR that, for example. That’s obvious enough and will make it exponentially more useful. However, the big hurdle that will unlock a ton of opportunity will be integration with developer-driven connections. Developers will be integrating Facebook on their apps using verbs and entities: Clayburn read this article, Clayburn watched that movie, Clayburn rode whatever Ferris wheel. If developers and users fully embrace this direction, then when Facebook integrates these connections with Graph Search, I can find out much more granular information about a person’s behavior or more accurate recommendations based on these advanced connection searches.

Could you give us one search that people should do on Facebook Graph Search because the result page is either so fantastic, bad or just fun to look at?

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Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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