Last week saw Facebook host its annual conference for developers.
We’ve taken a look at the big news to come out of the gathering of tech minds that sees innovations and advances go public. Here are our thoughts.
Messenger As A Platform
Developers will be able to play with the Messenger app, creating cool new tricks and features such as embedded GIFs, voice changers, a touch-screen doodle pad – the possibilities are endless.
Essentially, add-ons/plugins will emerge, including the facility for businesses to engage customers mid-transaction, in real time.
The most exciting thing about this is that Facebook Messenger will soon handle payments natively. This opens the door to e-commerce brands handling customer service communications and payments within a single platform
Following their purchase of Oculus Rift, Facebook are to support spherical videos in the news feed. A 3D video in your newsfeed can showcase locations, destinations and products to VR users.
While in its early stages of development and aimed initially at a niche market of VR device owners, the advancement demonstrates Facebook’s dedication to developing new tech.
If it ain’t broke, update it.
Not only will comments appear in real time, now, when someone comments on a shared content, these comments will sync up to the story page on the publisher’s Facebook Page.
This means that joining and extending conversations should be a smoother, more seamless process – for any brand running campaigns and content around realtime events such as sports and television, this is invaluable.
Facebook’s algorithms have begun to reward native video over YouTube, ads included, so now they’re stepping further into YouTube’s turf by allowing users to embed their Facebook Videos to other sites – blogs, websites etc.
Publishers will have more analytical insights into how these videos are performing, as well, including where and how often their videos are embedded and watched outside of Facebook.
These videos will undoubtedly provide Facebook with new ad space, as well as perhaps influencing the style of footage we see uploaded to YouTube.
It also increases the likelihood of your branded video content being shared and seen by an even larger audience – namely, outside of Facebook. Whereas YouTube hosts your video content while you sit and wait for it to be discovered, Facebook serves it to your friends/followers directly.
Internet Of Things
Facebook have launched ‘Parse for Internet of Things’ – a set of Software Development Kits for people looking to connect everything to everything. Its aim is to somewhat standardize the way these objects connect to each other in the backend.
Whether this is applicable to your products, your services or your brand in general depends on what you do with them. Regardless of your brand, wireless connectivity has fun potential in PR/out-of-home stunts.
If your brand’s services and products have internal connectivity, Facebook is leading the way for simple and compatible back-end language that will unify your customers’ experience.
Facebook will be helping developers to better understand who is using third party apps. The analytics platform will provide developers with demographic, usage and spending data for the people using your non-Facebook app.
Web apps and microsites are a staple part of many social media campaigns, so having access to even more information regarding their performance can only help you optimise the user experience and your audience targeting.
Nothing to do with trains – LiveRail is a Facebook-owned platform for selling ad space within apps to the highest bidder. It will now support video ads, and will have access to anonymised data to better target the right audiences.
Your Facebook ads could be performing well and you’d like to serve them to even more people, or you could know exactly who your audience is (and that they aren’t always glued to Facebook). Either way, LiveRail will allow you to extend your reach and maximise your engagement.
For many brands, paid social is a core part of their existing marketing strategy. For many more, the increasingly cost-efficiency of social ads mean that more and more digital budget is allocated to paid social. LiveRail appears to offer even more bang for your buck.
News publishers (including Buzzfeed an The New York Times) could soon allow Facebook to host their content directly on Facebook.
A new story hosted directly on Facebook will likely benefit from huge reach (as it won’t be redirecting users away from the ‘Blue garden’). we are already seeing publishers’ external links losing reach inside Facebook.
The move offers publishers the opportunity to take a share of the ad revenue generated by top quality content. The better your content, the more that ad space is worth. Top brands like the New York Times will be able to attract premium brands’ ad budgets.
However, much like with the decline of organic reach we’ve witnessed previously, Facebook has already shown signs of decreasing the visibility of external content in recent weeks.
The big breakthrough is that Facebook appear to be inviting developers and brands to build around existing Facebook products.
Competing publishers and media owners that provide services that Facebook is encroaching on will have to be savvy: E-commerce brands might find that they eventually have to pay for a premium customer service messenger API, while news brands’ display advertising revenue streams will be subject to Facebook’s edge rank at some point.
As ever, with new updates come exciting possibilities. The proof will be seen when marketers start making the most of the new toys they’re given to play with.
Over To You
What do you think? Which F8 announcements have excited you?