Facebook’s annual F8 conference is typically all about developers networking and sharing code snippets with each other. But this year, the announcements coming out of F8 will have an impact on both businesses and advertisers. Here’s a look at some of the announcements from F8 and what’s in store for businesses:
Businesses on Messenger
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the latest numbers show that over 600 million people worldwide use Facebook Messenger every month. Ever since Facebook made messenger its own product from the main platform, monthly usage has continued to grow. This is both a reflection of the popularity of the Facebook app as well as the growing trend of people to use messaging apps (like WeChat Kik and WhatsApp) to keep in touch with the people most important to them.
Will we see businesses use Messenger to communicate with their customers with the same ferocity as people do to keep in touch with each other? This is what Facebook is hoping for. As previously written here, Facebook wants to “bring businesses on Messenger with the goal of enhancing how people and businesses communicate and interact on the platform.” According to Facebook:
When a person has purchased an item and is checking out on a business’ site, s/he will be able to choose to receive rich, actionable messages from the business in Messenger, including order and shipping updates. The person can also take basic actions (e.g., modify, track, or return the order) and live chat with the business directly within the conversation.
Analytics for apps
As more businesses and brands look to take advantage of their “mobile moment” – what Google refers to as the moment in time when web traffic from mobile devices exceeds traffic from desktop computers – many of them will look to develop apps. As Facebook looks to upgrade their analytics for apps, brands will be able to “measure how people interact with their business across devices, and access cross-device insights to help them optimize their product experience across apps and web to grow their business.”
As a result, businesses will be able to better understand where users come from and how they interact with their mobile application. From these insights, businesses should be able to develop insights for future marketing decisions. For example, a business might see better conversion on mobile users and decide to increase spending in mobile search while decreasing spending on desktop search.
Companies have been able to publish videos natively to Facebook for some time, the social media giant did enhance the ability to upload videos that did more to remind businesses that Facebook is serious about tackling YouTube’s previously unchallenged top perch than anything else.
Last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge did more to spotlight Facebook’s growing influence in native video publishing than anything else Facebook ever did to promote itself. This non-profit campaign changed habits with people uploading video directly to Facebook rather than YouTube.
According to Facebook, video posts have increased 75 per cent since last year and the News Feed is already delivering 3 billion videos per day worldwide.
What does all of this mean for businesses? Plenty. Facebook Messenger, if used properly, will enable brands to provide one-to-one customer service to extend both the brand and brand promise. The big promise is that businesses will be able to use Messenger to retain customers, develop loyalty, and drive valuable referrals.
While mobile apps may be fun and sexy, the ability to understand app analytics will be invaluable to brands. Not all apps are built equal. And therefore, not all apps will be downloaded and go viral. Companies need to access the importance of mobile to determine whether apps and/or mobile websites are more important to the bottom line.
Facebook’s recent move to better support native video downloads is most likely the first opportunity businesses should focus on. Currently, brands advertising on Facebook understand the importance of targeting fans, friends of fans, look-a-like audiences and even custom audiences. With native video capabilities, Facebook advertisers will be able to access platform-specific data and analytics.