Lexicon: Facebook’s Answer to Google Insights for Search?

- May 22, 2009

With Google Insights for Search, you can “compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties”.  Don’t you wish Facebook provided a similar tool for search and wall-posting activity that occurs within its ecosystem?  They do….it’s called Lexicon….and it’s FREE! If your business is still in on the fence with regard to launching and maintaining a presence in Facebook, I suggest utilizing a combination of tools (namely Lexicon) and manual research to help determine the most appropriate strategy for gaining visibility and engaging with your customers and prospects.

A comparison of the terms “iphone” and “blackberry” are illustrated below.

 

 

Although Lexicon does not currently provide the granular level of segmentation that Google Insights does, these features are in the works and can be previewed here:  http://www.facebook.com/lexicon/#/lexicon/new/.  Cool new features include:

  • Demographic Trends: breaks down who is discussing a given
    topic by age, gender, and country
  • Associations Graph:  plots terms that are frequently mentioned alongside the topic
  • Sentiments:  percentage of positive versus negative posts
  • Pulse:  shows keywords that frequently occur in the Profiles of users who mentioned the topic or keyword
  • Maps:  shows where people are talking about the topic

Of the new features in the pipeline, it is tough to choose just 1 favorite.  Associations, Sentiments, and Pulse are my personal faves.  Associations are similar to “Rising Searches” or “Breakout Searches” provided by Google Insights.  The Associations graph is great for identifying related terms that are used in conjunction with the core term you are researching.  See below for associations with “Swine Flu” wall posts in Facebook.

Consider using the same language in your Wall Posts as your prospective customers.  Just how you should position yourself depends on your overall strategy for the channel.  Using the Sentiments info provided by Lexicon can help guide the process.  Lexicon Sentiments gives you an idea of positive versus negative commentary on the term you are researching.  If you find that there is an overall negative sentiment toward your product / brand, be prepared to address the concerns head on! 

Pulse is awesome!  It gives you insight into interests (keywords) of users posting content relative to the keyword you are researching.  This data can be tremendously valuable when setting up Sponsored Ads.  For example, if I wanted to target football enthusiasts, Lexicon provides me with a list of keywords to include in targeting for my ad.  The example below provides a breakdown of favorite TV Shows for users who posted wall content relevant to “football”.

While proactive keyword research and competitive analysis is critical to planning an engagement strategy for entering new platforms (or markets), Lexicon is not generally one of the go-to tools; it has somehow managed to go unnoticed by many online marketers.  Maybe it is the excitement of Google Insights or the buzz about Twitter Search that has pulled would-be users into other channels.  Perhaps subscription-based options give users a greater sense of value?  Before heading down the road of paid or proprietary tools, check out what people are saying about you on Wall Posts in the Facebook ecosystem.

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