In late April, Facebook hosted its annual F8 conference in San Jose, California. Although F8 has traditionally been a developer-focused event, this year saw plenty of learnings for marketers being shared as well. Facebook introduced new features and revealed plans regarding the trends that will draw our attention in the following months.
Messenger Revamp And The Reign Of Chatbots
Facebook’s new Messenger platform allows brands to be ‘discoverable’, enabling a series of location-based services. Users will be able to find companies around them through a new Discover tab. Although it’s still unclear how these brands will be listed and served, it is assumed that likes and past interaction with the brand online will play a role.
Business discovery aside, brands are being further encouraged to use chatbots and benefit from instant replies to consumer requests and messages. Moreover, in a revolutionary move, brand apps will be able to recognise on Messenger users who have logged in using their Facebook credentials. This will enable them to reach their customers in a more efficient way, and offers plenty of remarketing opportunities.
In general, customer service through Messenger is expected to significantly increase in the next months, as companies begin to take advantage of this new addition to their marketing toolkit.
Stronger Ecommerce Options
Facebook announced a focus on ecommerce and mobile shopping by further expanding its Shop’s API, developing its alpha testing to additional third-party platforms.
Currently, companies can create a Shop section in their Facebook page, either via the network’s self-serve publishing tools, or via third-party ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. Facebook’s plans are about to allow further platforms to develop and offer their solutions, enabling even more SMEs to sell their products via the network.
Spaces Open New Horizons For VR
In the years to come, VR will have to find a way to reinvent itself as a more social experience. Facebook Spaces aims towards this direction, allowing users to virtually hangout with friends, colleagues, and family, using their VR headsets. Users will be able to interact with each other, harnessing thus one of virtual reality’s most impressive advantages. Facebook’s first priority is to make customer experience as appealing as possible.
Brands with 360 content will benefit from the sharing of their products within the Spaces environment, as users will be able to view them (as photos or videos) with their friends. This is a market with high potential monetisation perspectives, and one that companies should keep an eye on in the future.
Facebook Analytics For Accurate Measurement
Testing is an unsavoury process by itself if it’s not followed by proper measuring. But during the F8 conference, a series of updates regarding Facebook’s analytics service were announced.
These updates will enable businesses to better understand their customer journey, identifying potential opportunities and thoroughly testing new functions. Marketers will now have access to even more data, including Pages and Messenger, and even chatbot performance and offline conversions.
Facebook Analytics will offer a larger but even more detailed picture of their audience’s behaviour, as well as the chance to enhance engagement and conversion for brands across the industry, from giant corporations to quirky startups.
Chatbots are on their way to becoming the industry standard in terms of customer support, while VR is considered one of the principally emerging trends worldwide. Social media can prove a promising sales’ channel, especially regarding impulse purchases, and analytics… well, analytics will always be the digital star, since it measures everything we do. It’s clear that Facebook is leading the way- taking ecommerce and customer support to the next level. The announcement of these new features is going to help businesses of all sizes reach their customers in a faster and more effectively, as well as offer them additional choices to market their products and services. Early adopters will set the bar for social engagement and will set themselves up for success across the platform. The question is: who will take advantage of them first?