Facebook Graph Search Now Passing Keyword Data To Webmasters

When Facebook launched Graph Search earlier this year, a noticeable element missing to marketers was the lack of keyword data that was passed. Well, this weekend Glenn Gabe of G-Squared Interactive uncovered the fact that Facebook has begun passing keyword data within referral strings.

The keyword data is passed from Facebook with a query string [q={keyword}] appended to the end of the referring URL.  Since analytics providers like Google don’t view Facebook as a search engine, the data must be parsed as referring traffic, not as a search engine.


While the data exists, it takes some finessing  to gather it. Glenn breaks the process down step-by-step, showing each element (and filter) required to pull the data. The end result is that users can set up their analytics package to capture and report keyword data from Facebook Open Graph with results looking similar to these in Google Analytics:


For more information on setting this up, see G-Squared Interactive. All images courtesy of G-Squared Interactive.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook | Facebook: Facebook Search | Features: Analysis | Top News


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • http://www.hmtweb.com/marketing-blog/ Glenn Gabe

    Thank you for the mention Greg. I was surprised (and happy) to see Facebook passing the keyword data. They definitely weren’t doing this when Graph Search first launched. I was double-checking that issue recently when I saw the q={keyword} parameter! I hope they avoid the “not provided” problem and keep passing the data. :)

  • http://antezeta.com/news/ Sean Carlos

    An alternative, and perhaps prefered, solution would be to simply add Facebook to Google Analytics’ list of known search engines. The GA tracking code in pages needs to be modified, adding something along the lines of _gaq.push(['_addOrganic','facebook.com','q']).

  • Brenda Thompson

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  • http://alexwebmaster.com/ Alex Garrido

    Wow, I was looking for this. Thanks Sean.

  • http://www.hmtweb.com/marketing-blog/ Glenn Gabe

    You can definitely do that, but I’d be careful with that approach. It could throw off other GA reports (if you are classifying FB as a search engine). The advanced filter approach seems cleaner at this point.

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