Zuckerberg at F8 2019: “The future is private!”
Facebook held its annual F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, California, on April, 30th and May, 1st. In a nutshell, Facebook particularly focused on privacy, direct interaction, and messaging, confirming the new business trend of engaging with customers 1:1.
GotU team members from Milan and London, Giuseppe Guerra, Product & Account Director, and Alberto Pedemonte, Head of Project Management, attended the event and share with us news and tips from F82019.
F8 isn’t just about Facebook, though. The company shared updates on its whole family of apps – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, – and news about the Oculus Quest and Rift S virtual reality headsets, Augmented Reality experiences and new features for Portal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg embraced privacy and security in his speech: “Privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves … so it’s no surprise that the fastest way we’re communicating online is small groups,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s why I believe the future is private.” It clearly demonstrated Facebook’s emphasis to highlight its efforts towards encryption, secure data storage, and private interaction.
Company CTO Mike Schroepfer and other Facebook leaders delved into the latest technology and innovation awaiting users and marketers.
We at GotU are looking in depth at announcements that directly affect us as marketers.
Facebook: New look highlighting groups and events
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a complete redesign of the Facebook desktop and mobile experience at F8. In an announcement blog post, Facebook said that the new design “puts your communities at the center.”
The platform aesthetic evolution translates into bigger buttons, a top bar with quick access to different Facebook functions, Facebook stories placed above the News Feed, and a Groups quick button pinned to the top of the app. The News Feed becomes significantly smaller as Facebook is clearly moving away from the News Feed to a more friends-and-family focused platform.
But the redesign is more than just aesthetics—Facebook is redesigning itself around Groups, with 100 million people members of meaningful groups in 2017 and already 400 million as of today, according to Zuckerberg.
Firstly, this transformation means that marketers need to adapt their Facebook marketing plans accordingly by creating branded groups for client brands so that they are not left in the dust. While organic reach from pages continues trending down, groups continue to trend upwards on the News Feed.
Moreover, groups-centric content means that brands and marketers need to embrace Facebook ads to boost the visibility of their branded page posts, with 1.56 billion Facebook daily active users as of March 2019, according to Facebook First Quarter2019 Results.
Instagram: Shopping tags & tests of hidden like counts in-app
Facebook announced that it’s giving influencers and creators the ability to sell products directly from their Instagram accounts through a link to their partner’s products right from a photo with a dedicated placement.
From the looks of it, all creators will have to do is to tag products in their posts. Instagram users will be able to order the desired item by simply tapping on the tag and purchasing right from the Instagram app – no external web browser and experience required. This uber cool shopping feature is not available to the public just yet: Instagram is only starting with a small beta test with well-known influencers after having launched last March check out beta.
This is huge for influencer marketing, tracking will be so much easier for all parties involved (brands, influencers and marketers): marketers will gather the exact ROI, influencers will be able to better price their services and prove results for potential partners, while brands will keep track of all sales received through Instagram.
And we are not done yet with Instagram innovations: in fact, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced that the Instagram team is testing (in Canada) hidden like counts in-app to create a “less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
It is interesting to see how Instagram is retracing its journey back to its creator-centric origin, pushing influencer marketing to be once again both quality- and result-focused by cutting off engagement bots.
Messenger: Customer care tool
Facebook Messenger is getting a big customer-centric refresh, to guarantee its users the best possible user experience and enhance the features that users want most.
The newest version of Messenger will be shrunk from 70MB to under 30MB, which is helpful in countries where data is costly. This will allow the app to run faster and open in just under 2 seconds. Besides, Facebook is launching dedicated desktop apps for both Windows and MacOS later this year.
Messenger will also have a Friends Tab where you can see messages and updates from your friends first. Users will be able to chat with friends and family without having to navigate to Facebook.com or Messenger.com, and watch videos together via Messenger, while chatting in real time. A true digital living room experience.
Facebook is also exploring possibilities on how to make Messenger work better across platforms: it is expected that users will be able to message in WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram without having to switch between apps depending on who they are chatting with, relying on a principle of interoperability.
According to Facebook, 20 billion messages are already exchanged between businesses and users every month, with 40 million businesses currently using Messenger. Understandably, Facebook is keen to explore easier ways for customers to get in touch with businesses and brands, further promoting Messenger as a tool for business communication.
New Messenger features will also include appointment booking capabilities, directly in the Messenger API. Messenger will also let users message businesses in order to make, cancel, or reschedule appointments.
Furthermore, taking a cue from WhatsApp, Facebook is working to make end-to-end encryption the standard for Messenger. With a particular focus on privacy and encryption, potential customers will be relieved to see that messaging brands and businesses is just as secure as a phone call or an e-mail.
WhatsApp: Businesses to display entire product catalogues directly on their profiles
“Now you can see what is available with a business,” said Zuckerberg, meaning WhatsApp will now let business display entire product catalogs directly on their profile within the App (already containing business description and contact info) for customers to browse through.
This new feature can help small businesses, without a website, establish their digital presence and lay out their goods within customers’ reach directly on WhatsApp.
This pretty much sums up Zuckerberg’s intention to create a “private social platform” across all its family of apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram and Facebook. We will most likely see a lot more in the months to come.