Category Archives: Disruption

Facebook Graph Search Optimisation Hacks

This is part two of my Facebook Graph Search Optimisation series, here you can find my Facebook Graph Search Basics post.

Facebook’s Graph Search tips for businesses post gives Facebook SEO ninjas a number of key areas to hack away further to dominate Facebook Graph results. Initially I expect the low hanging fruit with the fastest return on investment coming from the following areas:

Content Optimisation


Because of its semantic nature, Graph Search initially limits the query strings to a set number of content types. Content that includes photos and keywords related to locations, times and events all adhere to the suggested query string format. Creating photo albums on your Page that mash up the semantic query types is the most obvious way to generate ROI from minimal effort here.

Likely long term wins, worth initial and ongoing effort.


Keyword Spam

Facebook gives Page owners the following tip “The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.”

This presents an opportunity to attack the Graph Search algorithm through keyword optimisation in the above Page sections – the expectation here is that at least initially, the Algorithm will suffer from a lack of data to calibrate how it determines spam keyword practices vs genuine content. This Graph hack will likely require constant maintenance to stay ahead of algorithm changes similar to spammy SEO techniques for Google/Bing’s algorithm, in addition to detracting from the perceived value of Pages by fans, so use this sparingly.

Easy wins, but likely only temporary. Worth some attention.


Sponsored Search Results

The hidden gem in the announcement was: “Pages and apps can still use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search (sponsored results have been globally available since August 2012). There are no new ad formats available today. Here is more information on creating a sponsored result.”

In my experience, the sponsored search results ad unit has been super cheap on a CPC basis. The new Graph Search results page style is likely to increase the quality of clicks and decrease your CPA from campaigns using this ad unit (Sponsored Results Ads in the drop down search box tend to generate a high percentage of accidental clicks). Being a first mover to adopt Graph Search PPC while demand from competitors is low is key to extracting the highest potential ROI while costs are at their lowest.

This Graph Search hack is more involved, and requires ongoing maintenance to ensure ROI as the demand for ad inventory increases, but is likely to be a massive area for growth for Facebook as they release additional Graph Search ad units as they attempt to expand revenue, opening up opportunities for Pages with experience optimising Graph Search Sponsored Result campaigns.



Facebook Graph Search Optimisation Basics

Facebook’s ‘Graph Search’ feature will unlock new discovery opportunities for brand pages to reach those who are demonstrating engagement ‘intent’ with their Facebook Graph search query. Pages that optimise both their organic and paid content strategy for Graph Search’s semi-structured queries will out perform those who continue to optimise for Edgerank alone.


While this feature is still in beta, Facebook is priming brands for Graph Search’s full launch with a number of suggestions:

  • As always, continue to invest in your Page by making sure your Page is complete and up-to-date.
  • The name, category, vanity URL, and information you share in the “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
  • If you have a location or a local place Page, update your address to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific location.
  • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving your fans a reason to interact with your content on an ongoing basis.
  • You can learn more about fan acquisition and Page publishing best practices here.


The above tips are the ‘bare minimum’ required to bring a Page into the Graph Search era. For first movers, there is a window of opportunity here to gain valuable insight in how to optimise Pages for Graph Search while it’s a novel feature for users and fans will tolerate your attempts to hack the algorithm through trial and error.

Make sure to check out my Facebook Graph Search Optimisation Hacks for Brands post for more optimisation tips.






When a company actually *gets* social media, it creates more than a customer for life.


My better half bought me a shirt a few months ago from ThinkGeek with a slogan on the shirt that read: When in Doubt, Try Another Hole (Tongue in cheek geek humour). When a hole developed in the shirt after only two months, my instinct was to extract the last value from the situation by making a joke on Twitter given ThinkGeek was an online retailer based outside Australia. So I tweeted the irony..


Thinkgeek shirt



To my surprise, 8 hours later I received a tweet from @Thinkgeek offering me a replacement shirt. Now I wasn’t angling for a free shirt, I didn’t even know @ThinkGeek was listening,  butby contacting me (a slightly frustrated customer) in my medium of choice (I was venting on twitter) they effectively neutralised what could have been a serious venting of outrage by a customer and returned me firmly into the happy ThinkGeek supporter camp. I certainly won’t be badmouthing their products or service in the future, and if anything I have become a brand evangelist for ThinkGeek (As is indicative by this posts existence).

Moreover, given the rapid pace of social media, ThinkGeek understood the importance of acting promptly and from when I Dm’d @ThinkGeek with the orders details, to the time the replacement T-Shirt arrived, was no less than 72 Hours. Given that there was a weekend in the middle of that, and I’m in Australia, this is an amazing response to what was a relatively minor issue.

Thinkgeek gets social media and the importance of doing the little things right. Creating goodwill amongst your existing customer base is one of the best ways to create brand evangelists who will create positive sentiment ripples for your brand when using social media. Monitoring social media with tools such as Radian6 to pick up mentions of your brand in order to act fast on issues raised in social media is an essential part of creating a social media army willing to put their reputation and social capital behind your brand.

**Update** I’ve talked to @ThinkGeek and they have confirmed they use a combination of Google Alerts and Tweetdeck to monitor and track their social media presence. Social media monitoring doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition, these tools are a great first step to managing your brand online.

Tiger Airways: Why treating customers like farm animals helps build their brand

In a recent trip to Melbourne, I thought I was taking advantage of Tiger Airways extremely low prices and landing myself a great deal on airfares. Sure the process seemed smooth enough (despite the extra wait time required at Sydney terminal before the flight at check in). The flight itself was straightforward and the extra fee we chose to pay to get seats in the exit row was worth it for my 6’4″frame.

Although once you add in charges for ‘extra’ luggage (above your included carry on allowance) and the ‘exit row’ suddenly the $25 ‘bargain’ tickets no longer look like such a bargain (Approaching, but not quite at VirginBlue or Jetstar rates for a comparable flight). This was not entirely a surprise, as there is always a catch somewhere, and we felt like taking a punt on a new airline “for the experience”.

What was a surprise though, was how Tiger Airways treat their customers once they arrive at their terminal (T4) at Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine).Tiger Airways Terminal Melbourne

The baggage claim area for Tiger Airways was essentially a tin shed with chicken wire walls on a concrete floor.

Tiger Airways Terminal Melbourne

The exit to the terminal/baggage claim area.

I couldn’t help but feel like I was being herded through the terminal like a cow to the slaughter by Tiger Airways. What was interesting on reflecting on the experience was that Melbourne Airport is Tiger Airways primary hub for operating in Australia. This struck me as odd that they would construct their premier hub in Australia in such a cheap and nasty way.

On further analysis though, it is entirely reasonable for a cut price operator in any industry to ‘dress’ the part. If the visual cues when flying Tiger are true to the sense that you are saving money, this reinforces the purchase decision and acts as a feedback loop to solidifying the perception that the customer has managed to purchase a ticket on the cheapest airline around.

Does this ‘build’ Tiger Airways brand? It certainly acts as an important differentiator to the other airlines offerings in Australia, that in itself is important in carving out a niche  for the brand against a market that has two strong ‘value’ offerings in Virgin Blue and Jetstar. Being ‘value’ isn’t enough of a differentiator. But being ‘cheap’ is. I’d call it a success, though I’ll be flying another airline next time.

If 88% of people refuse to pay for online news, can make money?

In a survey conducted through it’s online market research service Pureprofile has released results of a survey how prepared people are to pay for news content online. The results are unsurprising, with 88% of those polled in both Australia and the UK unwilling to pay for online news. Only 5% were willing to pay for content if it was deemed of a high enough quality, with the remaining 7% only willing to pay for content if advertising was removed from the site.

(Survey data in the below image).



The weakly defined options of the poll above aside, if 12% of respondents are willing to pay for their news online, is this a sufficient number for Murdoch’s plan to succeed? I’ve discussed Murdoch’s decision to charge for online content before and concluded that potentially it is a viable business model if enough people are willing to pay the online access prices. Now that we have an estimate to the number of people who are willing to pay for online news content from the survey above, we can look at the kind of income this might generate for Murdoch’s Australian news portal Using News Limited’s self published data from August 09, achieved 4.1 million unique browsers and 17 million browsing sessions. Let’s do some basic maths to conclude that those two numbers average out to a reader who returns to the site 4 times in a month. With this profile we can start crunching some numbers as to how much money News Limited might make if they turn the site over to a fully pay-walled site.

A Likely Pricing Model

For’s  ‘average’ reader (Lets call him Mr Pink) there are two likely payment options to eventuate, either a weekly subscription model or a price levied per session/online ‘edition’. Fortunately given an average of just over 4 sessions per unique visitor, this makes the mathematics fundamentally the same for either of the models. For the sake of simplicity at this stage we will be discounting the potential loss in advertising revenue involved by catering to the 7% of respondents to the survey above who would only consider paying for their online news if it was advertising free.

We can now generate potential revenue figures with the below formula:

Current Readership  x  Percent willing to pay  x  Fee levied = Monthly income

Or using the above data and an estimate on the likely fee structure we get:

4.1 Million x 12% x  Let’s use $2 per session/week* for access = $3,936,000 per month.

(*Reports have surfaced in the last week that Murdoch intends to charge mobile users $2/w for access to the NYT so these estimates are close to expected figures.)

Switching to a paid access model could secure just over $47 Million a year in online subscription fees, not to mention possibly forcing reader back to it’s struggling printed newspapers business, which could add additional income. Is this enough to justify the potential loss in advertising revenue from decreased readership figures? Not to mention the readers who were only willing to pay for their news without advertising? Given the difficulty of pulling accurate financial data for from within the overall spectrum of earnings of the News Corporation business entity, it’s hard to make a concrete conclusion whether an annual income of $47 Million is a viable move for Murdoch.

$47 Million, Spare Change?

Given annual revenues of $30 Billion from across all of it’s business units, $47 Million is a drop in the ocean and seems to undervalue the property. Unless a number of the respondents to the survey above can be convinced to change their mind on this issue, a decision to charge for content online in this case is likely to result in a negative outcome for Rupert’s bottom line.

**If any readers  have additional information regarding the above numbers or know where I can find revenue figures for please add a comment below.