Facebook announced a number of major platform updates at today’s F8 Developer Conference.
In March, CEO Mark Zuckerberg earmarked a pivot away from the News Feed towards on-to-one and group messaging. Today’s keynote shows exactly how the Facebook founder intends to roll out those changes. The impacts are significant, with an emphasis on Messenger and Groups.
Here are 5 of the biggest takeaways.
1. A refreshed UI, with less focus on the Feed
For a long time, Facebook has signalled a greater focus on Stories and Groups, instead of the Feed. Finally, we’re seeing what that looks like. FB has updated their UI to focus more on Stories, Groups and Events.
What it means for brands: This again highlights the need for brands to invest in vertical content. It’s also becoming hard to ignore the emphasis that Facebook is placing in Groups. It’s core to how Facebook sees itself growing. Brands should look at which highly engaged customer tribes could be activated via a dedicated Group.
2. Doubling down on Messenger
Messenger is getting a big refresh, with a new design. There will be a new dedicated tab where you can find Messenger Stories and messages from close friends and family. You’ll also be able to share separate Messenger Stories here, and choose exactly who sees it. Brands will also be able to drive people to their Messenger accounts, with greater support for bots.
What it means for brands: As the Feed – and all its ad units – is pushed down the pecking order, Facebook is looking at new ways to monetise their platforms. Brands can now take appointment bookings via Messenger. It highlights the need to start experimenting with forms and bots on Messenger.
3. Shop from creators
Influencers will soon be able to sell on Instagram by tagging products featured in their posts and Stories. It’s unclear exactly how this will work, but Facebook have said that influencers will take a small cut from the sale.
With Instagram likely to force influencers to pay for reach in the future, this might be one way they hope to extend an olive branch and help them monetise their content.
What it means for brands: This gives brands a new channel to convert sales. It also meaningfully connects influencer content across the whole customer journey (from top of the funnel, to conversion).
4. Instagram tests hiding likes
Instagram is typically seen as Facebook’s friendliest app. But it also has a streak of competitiveness. To counter this, Instagram is testing a new mode where likes are hidden. It’s their way of ensuring you focus on the content shared (the photos and videos) instead of vanity metrics.
5. Facebook takes on Tinder
Facebook is expanding its Facebook Dating app to 14 more countries. In the refreshed version of the app, you’ll also be able to create a list of friends you’re attracted to… creepy.
What it means for brands: Advertising is yet to launch on the service, but you can see how Facebook could use the data it collects from behaviour on the app to inform future targeting. For example, in the future, dining companies might be able to target prospect audiences based on how often they go on a date etc.
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