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.
It’s All About Smart Targeting Now That Geo-Blocking Rules are in Place
Recently Facebook has come up with the new tools for locally targeted campaigns that are aimed at preventing online advertising from being used for foreign interference. In a nutshell, the social media giant tightened paid ad rules ahead of EU parliamentary elections.
Our colleagues at 77Agency have already provided a comprehensive guide of the new ads transparency rules versus political campaigns, while we @GotU are most interested in exploring how to apply the new rules for better targeted political campaigns.
The very first reaction of anyone learning about the strengthening of rules on political advertising is, predictably, that of annoyance, with the nth hindrance. It is thus important to underline that it is all about modernizing and simplifying the whole process, and not complicating it.
There are namely two big novelties that will affect anyone who is interested in running political campaigns at social media. Both can be summed up in short as Transparency-Targeting-Protection.
Novelty No 1
The first novelty concerns political and issue ads on Facebook and Instagram in the EU that will be now clearly labeled, including a “Paid for by” tag. The extra information on advertisers will also be available to non-Facebook users to avoid the company being blamed for trying to get new users as part of its transparency drive.
Its Impact on Your Political Campaign
“This means that you can see who is paying for the ad and, for any business or organization, their contact details,” Richard Allan, Facebook VP Global Policy Solutions, told press in a video-conference. “When you click on the label, you’ll be able to see more information such as the campaign budget associated with an individual ad, how many people saw it and their age, location and gender.”
It is important to remember that the rules will not affect groups who bought ads before then, but any new ads that do not comply will be taken down from mid-April onward.
The solution will be to adhere, the faster the better. Facebook invited all political campaigns to start the ads authorization process now, otherwise the social media giant “will start to block political or issue ads that have not been properly registered from mid-April.”
Novelty No 2
In the second place, political and issue ads will be restricted to their home countries: in order “to help prevent abuse and interference all EU advertisers will need to be authorized in their country to run ads related to the European Parliamentary elections. We will ask them to submit documents and use technical checks to confirm their identity and location,” the senior Facebook executive explained.
Its Impact on Your Political Campaign
The geo-blocking rules that would prevent EU-wide campaigns mean that EU political groups will not be able to use the social media platform to run Pan-European campaigns.
The solution will be a custom campaign with guaranteed results and automated multi-location targeting technology. Precisely the things that we @GotU do daily.
Novelty No 3
“We will be using a combination of automated systems and user reporting to enforce this policy,” Richard Allan said.
Its Impact on Your Political Campaign
Its use of automated software to filter content also means that some of the policing will be done by robots, while public is also summoned up to report on suspicious ads.
“Importantly, this means that all the people who are reaching you with ads identified as related to politics or issues have been authorized as being in your country and will be required to provide accurate information about who they are. This will help relevant authorities investigate them if they have any suspicions.”
No need to alarm yourselves, though, about the word “suspicious”.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg during his recent April visit to the company’s European headquarters, declared “These are important steps, but on some level, I think people don’t want a private company deciding what is political speech and what isn’t. It seems like these are broader democratic questions that having regulation or legislation or more government involvement defining what that is and what companies need to do would be healthier overall and more sustainable.”
Apparently, Facebook does not intent becoming an online policeman but, seeking to comply with requests EU heads of state to “ensure higher standards of responsibility and transparency”, also seeks to address eventual fragilities on its end and invests into smarter targeting and transparency.
Facebook intention to explore new technologies to protect the identity of its users, politicians or not, on our side can only translate into smart, precise and sustainable political campaigns at social media.
Online shopping is now with Instagram: why brands should consider Social Networks to boost sales
This week Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform launched in the US its own e-commerce with in-app shopping button partnering with vendors including Adidas, H&M, Nike, Uniqlo, Zara and luxury brands as Balmain, Burberry, Dior, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Prada.
We @GotU are excited about this new e-shopping feature and convinced that Facebook with its new Checkout on Instagram is writing a new chapter in e-commerce right as you read this article.
Our colleagues at 77Agency have already explained the ins & outs of the new Instagram shopping checkout but here is how we @GotU see its impact of SMB marketing.
After edging towards eCommerce for some time, Facebook took a plunge with ‘Checkout on Instagram’ to facilitate in-app Shopping.
For now, only organic posts (Stories, feed posts & Explore content) from the launch partner merchants, 23 in all, will feature Checkout buttons, and ads aren’t eligible. But Facebook will found its Eldorado with its instant picturesque social network going e-commerce, as exactly what CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans for this 2019.
Today, we’re introducing checkout on Instagram.
When you find a product you love,
you can now buy it without leaving the app.
Given Instagram’s 120 million monthly active users in the US and the visual focus of the photo-sharing platform, it will be safe to assume than more brands will be willing to embark on the new e-commerce process.
The thing is, Checkout on Instagram can convince brands that the social network producers better return on investments as there are fewer steps to complete the purchase. Remember, we are talking in-app shopping checkout here.
When you tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post,
you’ll see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page.
Tap it to select from various options such as size or color,
then you’ll proceed to payment without leaving Instagram.
You’ll only need to enter your name, email, billing information
and shipping address the first time you check out.
Once your first order is complete, your information
will be securely saved for convenience the next time you shop.
You’ll also receive notifications about shipment and delivery
right inside Instagram, so you can keep track of your purchase.
Everything is neatly stored and kept handy in one place. “With their protected payment information in one place, they can shop their favorite brands without needing to log in and enter their information multiple times,” Instagram explains. This is smart, as the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is as much as the shocking 70%! Saving merchants from abandoned shopping carts left by users frustrated with having to sign up with each different brand is the key value offered here.
Consequently, Instagram’s ad business can get a boost with Checkout-equipped ads.
Checkout on Instagram is currently in closed beta
for businesses and available to people in the US.
The brands below will begin rolling out today and
over the coming weeks — and more will be coming soon!
Instagram has been recently spotted prototyping a Pinterest-style feature that would render private Collections of Saved posts visible to public. Now, that would mark a break-through for social influencers to recommend Checkout-equipped products. And it IS really astute and smart thinking in terms of proving superb UX.
And when it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers find customer experience more important than price. According to the Guardian, by 2020, the quality of customer experience provided by a brand will be more important than price and product as a key differentiator.
Equally smart is the choice of PayPal as a partner to process the payments. A new study has found that PayPal transactions have 82% higher checkout rates than non-PayPal transactions (PP-powered checkout converts at 88.7%, as of May, 2018).
This is a big move for the Social Network.
What are the hot topics regarding Facebook marketing? How about the latest challenges and trends in local marketing? What does an SMB need to take into consideration when planning their marketing? How about an agency or a marketing partner?
Listen to our CRO Lorenzo Pireddu discuss all this on the In Target podcast hosted by Greg Sterling from the Local Search Association. Tune in!
Rising above Advertising Clutter: Digital Strategies for Small Local Businesses to Beat the Big Guys
GotU has published a whitepaper in collaboration with BIA/Kelsey as part of the “Vantage Points” series: Rising above Advertising Clutter – Digital Strategies for Small Local Businesses to Beat the Big Guys.
The paper taps into the challenges of small local businesses today. As digital marketing usage grows, so does the competition. Consequently, the main question most small businesses are trying to find the answer to these days goes: “How can I make sure my ads are noticed?” The same question applies to business directories, as well as local agencies and marketing partners. When even the big national companies with big budgets are using the same digital channels and targeting the same, if not bigger, audiences, the small players need to find a way to stand out. And luckily there is a way to stand out – an easy one.
Read the paper to learn insights and tactical strategies for local businesses trying to find success and beat the big companies in digital advertising.