06 December 2022 19:57

DIGITAL

The Facebook of Future is Now

Facebook F8, Facebook’s annual two-day developers conference,hosted thousands of entrepreneurs in San Francisco for a look at new products, tools, demos and speakers to guide the growth of apps and services on the platform. Although F8 originally began as an eight-hour hackathon, today it is a critical event for users, publishers, brands and especially marketers, as it offers a glimpse into the future of Facebook.

This year Facebook lived up to the hype surrounding F8, announcing multiple, big impact updates and products for the platform, as well as many updates for its previously spun-out Messenger app. Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the conference with a keynote detailing Facebook’s 10-year technology roadmap and set the stage for two days of dynamic updates, most of which are widening the opportunities for marketers.


KEY UPDATES IMPACTING MARKETERS

Below is a summary of the key announcements that will guide marketer decision making in 2016 and beyond.

• Messenger Bots: Integration of bots, a bot API and store for Messenger

• Analytics & Account Kit For Apps: An expanded toolkit for app developers

• Instant Articles & Branded Content: A huge expansion of publisher capabilities and
monetization

• Live API: The next step in bringing professional destination content to Facebook’s Live
product

• Copyrights Management/Policies: More options and safeguards for rights holders

• Profile Expressions Kit: A new way for audiences to spread a brand story through their
profiles

• Crossposted Video & Insights: More flexibility and unified metrics for video content


I. BOTS: TRANSFORMING MESSENGER

Bots are already becoming one of the hottest stories of 2016 with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies entering the market in a big way. But what exactly are bots? A bot—or chatterbot/chatbot– is an artificial intelligence computer software program designed to simulate human conversation and automate the kinds of tasks one would usually do on his or her own. Using natural language to communicate, they often live inside messaging apps (like
Kik, which also rolled out Bot support) and can assist with scheduling meetings (think X.ai), making reservations, fetching information, and other everyday tasks.

For Facebook, this is a key way for Messenger to leapfrog other messaging apps and to take advantage of the direct connection with the Facebook platform.
Below are the key bots announcements made at F8:


Bots for Messenger Platform

The Facebook Messenger platform will now feature bots that can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather or traffic updates to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages. Those getting in the Facebook bots game early include: CNN with its breaking news bot, a weather bot from Poncho, an eCommerce shopping bot from Spring and a bot that orders flowers for you via 1-800-Flowers.

Wit.ai Bot Engine


To aid in bots development, Facebook also introduced a new product that will help businesses create bots to manage common conversations. Businesses will be able to "train" the bot on how to address common questions, freeing up customer service reps to tackle the most complex/challenging of needs.
Messenger Send/Receive API

Powering bots are a new set of APIs that allow businesses to create the sorts of experiences that we've seen rollout over the last year. Businesses with these new APIs will be able to send text, video and images to customers as well as new message bubbles that feature dynamic content (like shipping updates and receipts) and custom call-to-action buttons. On the receive side, businesses will be able to receive text and images, maintain a record of a full thread history (including previous conversations) and also trigger events (like canceling a reservation or upgrading a hotel room)—all of which will be supported by the Wit.ai Bot Engine.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BRANDS?

Bots in Messenger have the potential to transform the ability for brands to add utility and service to their relationships with customers and truly create a personal relationship. The key however is to offer something useful and of value, not spam. This can be anything from troubleshooting customer service or product issues to commerce and custom information. This also cements the move away from community building and audience growth on fan pages and builds a customer service orientation with content distribution and discovery (primarily through paid media). To truly unlock its potential, marketers must partner with customer service as well as direct sales teams to develop a roadmap for success.

II. LIVE API

At F8, Mark Zuckerberg committed to Facebook’s live streaming product, Instant Livestream, noting it as a key priority for 2016. One of the drawbacks for Instant Livestream content, similar to Periscope’s issues has been smartphone sound and camera quality. Twitter’s partnership with GoPro was a step to up the quality for Periscope. Now, Facebook has taken this a step further potentially allowing a whole range of cameras and sound setups to gain direct access to the platform. Additionally, given it’s an API there is also potential for further innovations such as instant translation tools.

III. INSTANT ARTICLES & BRANDED CONTENT

Facebook announced that they will be opening up the Instant Articles program to all publishers—of any size, anywhere in the world—who want to join. In addition, Facebook introduced an ads policy and product updates for Instant Articles that include allowing video and animation (rich media) for publisher direct-sold ads and increased ads density for publishers. Audience Network updates include plans to support new native formats like video and carousel ads. Their new tool also makes it easy for publishers and influencers to tag a marketer when they publish branded content.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

Facebook wants to create more destination content through Live and higher quality tools to up the potential to do so. While initially the possibilities for Live have been around inthe-moment product launches – the loosening of branded content restrictions opens up brand and publisher collaborations around things like episodic live content. One example is Fusion which has already announced that they will use Live to stream the Chris Gethard
Show.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

The immersive nature of Instant Articles is an opportunity to leverage publisher content creation expertise with reach to an audience that can be highly relevant and endemic to the brand. This is especially true as more publishers see referrals from Facebook drop as more people consume content inside the Newsfeed instead of clicking off. As mentioned above, this change in policy allows for integration of branded content into products like Facebook Live as well.

IV. ANALYTICS & ACCOUNT KIT FOR APPS

Initially announced at F8 2015, Facebook Analytics for Apps is a free mobile analytics tool that helps developers better understand how people use their apps, improve people’s experiences and grow their businesses. This year at F8 2016, Facebook announced new updates to Facebook Analytics for Apps including deeper audience insights, push and in-app notifications (beta), powerful breakdowns, and an App Events Export API to analyze data offline. This allows advertisers to better understand how their mobile app impacts their business. Additionally, the Account Kit announced for apps helps app developers because it is an easy way for people to log in with their phone number or email address, making the password remembering problem no longer an issue.

V. COPYRIGHTS MANAGEMENT / POLICIES

Facebook has updated its intellectual property (IP) rights management, introducing technology and policies that enable owners of video intellectual property to surface, monitor and take action in response to other parties’ uploads of their copyrighted content to Facebook.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

Deeper analytics help brands learn more about the people who use the app. In turn, this will not only help build audiences for Facebook ads through segmentation tools, but also help advertisers see the impact of their mobile apps. Additionally, marketers encouraging brands with apps to implement an Account Kit for their apps will see their apps’ user experience and engagement increase positively because of the ease of app signups this update creates.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

Since the update ensures that the owner of a video is able to take action against copyrighted content posted on Facebook, it will keep the brand dignity and ensures all views are accounted for. This update is a signal that Facebook expects user-created content to grow on the scale of YouTube. Facebook hasn't yet taken the next step which is to allow right holders to potentially monetize unauthorized usage of content if the use case is deemed brand unsafe.

VII. CROSSPOSTED VIDEOS & INSIGHTS

Crossposted videos is a content management capability that lets publishers reuse the same video across multiple posts and/or Pages. The Insights updates give publishers a view of total performance across these multiple uses of the same video.

VI. PROFILE EXPRESSION KIT

Similar to Snapchat Lenses and Filters but aimed at users profiles, Facebook announced a new identity expression platform which includes profile picture frames for Pages and Profile Expression Kit. Profile picture frames enable certain verified Pages to submit and post frames for their fans to create new profile pictures with. The Profile Expression Kit also enables people to post a profile video from third party apps with one click.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

For those with a lot of video content this is very important. Crossposted videos and insights is a way to give marketers more transparency and allows them to better understand how their marketing initiatives are performing across Facebook. This is similar to YouTube's rolled up video views which show video views across any placement.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

Facebook will be picky about use cases but for the right brand, especially around social good initiatives, people can customize their profile with a branded overlay. For big entertainment properties this is also a huge boon (think Star Wars, Walking Dead profile makeovers), all of which can add a brand touch to a personal profile and highlight the brand personality.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MARKETERS & FACEBOOK?

Facebook is determined to make their platform a destination beyond just a place to connect with family and friends. As Facebook strives to achieve this its investing in a big way in original content, customer-service and even commerce. But, the only way to keep growing their already massive user-base is to wring as much value as possible out of the platform and make users see it as indispensable. Facebook wants to be the platform of choice—always.

For marketers and brands this is good news because of the many more opportunities it will and does bring forth. From richer and better content through Live, branded content partnerships with publishers, and profile expressions, there is an opportunity to create scalable brand experiences that can identify audiences receptive to sequential content which can lead to meaningful results – whether that’s brand lift, a subscription or even a sale. The other piece of good news is that the 1-1 environment Messenger is providing can now be harnessed as part of that journey in a variety of ways, in addition to being a potential resource for existing customers.

BEYOND SOCIAL

All of this cements Facebook’s place as perhaps the most sophisticated digital platform for marketers and brands. Facebook’s 10-year plan makes clear that they don’t see themselves as a social network – at least when it comes to brand and media. Instead they are a full-fledged digital experience destination. Entertainment, Commerce and Information combines to make Facebook the indispensible portal to everything a consumer wants online. It’s an old dream, one that AOL, Yahoo and later Google have all taken a shot at achieving since the late 90s. It’s just possible that Facebook could actually achieve their ambition.

Read 1802 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April 2016 03:51
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