Yesterday, Facebook held Day 1 of their yearly F8 Developers Conference, where they announce new products and educate developers and publishers alike on how to best use Facebook’s tools. There were four innovative updates that rose to the top with direct implications for how marketers should use and plan for the platform— Updated Analytics, Messenger 2.0, AR Opportunities for Facebook Camera, and a new VR app for Oculus Rift that integrates into the Facebook Platform. Below is a deep dive into each update starting with the most actionable:
WHAT IT IS: Facebook updated their analytics tools to provide businesses with a much needed understanding of what works and what doesn’t on and off the platform, including:
- Omni-Channel Analytics for Pages and In-store Sales: Facebook will now provide analytics for a consumer’s complete user journey across mobile, web, bots on Messenger, Facebook Pages, and Offline Conversions (powered by a match key like email or phone number).
- Automated Insights: Rather than dig for the anomalies within data to make optimizations, Facebook will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to automatically surface these insights when they occur.
- Customized Dashboards: Analysts can now pin their most important reports all in one place to keep data easily digestible.
WHY IT IS CHANGING THE GAME: These updated analytics provide a more granular understanding of brands on Facebook, starting with a holistic look into a consumer’s lifestyle and how each channel is connected. This comprehensive dashboard helps brands make more informed marketing decisions (more supportive channel budgets, customized creative, etc.) to best optimize business results. Specifically, this dashboard can tell us which Facebook owned channel is most impactful at each phase of the consumer journey. For example, does commenting on a Facebook post lead to viewing the product on .com? Or do personal Messenger interactions drive offline conversions?
WHAT SHOULD MARKETERS DO NOW:
- Set it up: Get started by linking your brand’s different channels here
- Evaluate: While retroactive data will not be provided, brands should opt in as soon as possible to start understanding the true role (awareness, consideration, conversion) of each platform and content type for your brand and optimize towards business results.
WHAT IT IS: F8 2017 marks the one year anniversary for bots and Facebook rolled out multiple updates to make them even more impactful for consumers and businesses.
- Discovery: Facebook addressed a current problem with finding bot apps by making a “Discover tab.” Similar to Discover tabs on Instagram, this makes it easier for people to find the bots for businesses they care about in Messenger.
- Messenger Codes: Similar to Snap Codes or QR codes, this feature allows users to discover and interact with bots in the physical world by taking a picture of a code.
- Chat Extensions: Previously, many bots were a 1:1 user experience. New chat extensions enable multiple people to chat with the same business at the same time and integrate other apps (e.g. Spotify, OpenTable, etc.) to enrich the experience.
- Interaction: Game bots and Rich Gameplay (turn-by-turn games) are now available. With 1.5 billion games played in just the last 90 days, this is guaranteed to increase time spent on the Messenger platform.
WHY IT IS CHANGING THE GAME: These updates make bots a more viable option for brands. While we have understood the impact of 1:1 communication and the effectiveness of Messenger, these updates provide the user with more meaningful experiences and brands more guaranteed business results. With new discoverability, shareability and interaction features, bots can be a touchpoint at multiple phases of the consumer journey.
WHAT SHOULD MARKETERS DO NOW:
- Plan for an experience with bots: Consumers have been using social platforms for customer service since the beginning. Chatbots will make it easier for them to connect with brands and get what they want/need, making it essential for a long-term strategy.
- Leverage Open sourced software: Facebook’s Chatbot TaskBot software is now open sourced making it easy for brands to build task-oriented (i.e. collaboratively building a grocery list) bots for individuals and groups.
WHAT IT IS: The Creative Effects Platform allows artists and developers to create customized interactive effects, 3D masks and augmented reality for the Facebook profile. This includes the Frame Studio—a web editor that allows you to design frame overlays for profile pictures or other assets and the AR Studio—a desktop editor used to create advanced effects for animated frames, masks and interactive effects. Three inputs can be used to trigger AR effects including a face tracker, sensor data like location, and scripting APIs which pull in data from other apps in real-time.
WHY IT IS CHANGING THE GAME: In the world of AR, Creative Effects might not seem game changing on the surface. In fact, many have said it appears to be another copy of Snapchat who released their world lenses yesterday. However, Facebook’s innovation comes in putting the creation in the hands of the developers and the technology in the hands of users. As Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in his keynote, “We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform.” The ability to pull in data from other apps in real-time is especially exciting as it allows brands to create cross platform experiences. This update makes AR creative more turnkey for developers and brands and with Facebook’s scale, this may be the nudge needed to make AR mainstream.
WHAT SHOULD MARKETERS DO NOW:
- Enhance their Live experiences:
- This or That effect: allows two hashtags to be displayed on the live feed and users are able to pick this or that in the comment stream. The event then surfaces the most popular hashtag.
- GIPHY Live: allows broadcasters to know what topics their users are most interested in. Users can comment with hashtags during the live video which are shown as a ticker across the top of the video. The broadcaster can select one of those hashtags to cause a related GIF to show on the screen.
- Get familiar with Frame Studio – anyone can upload simple, static image filters that will appear for friends or Page’s fans. Note: Facebook is not allowing any branding or advertising of this feature unless pre-approved.
- Apply for Beta access – Facebook is accepting applications for Developers in a closed beta. For those brands who are interested, they should consider creating experiences that 1) augment objects in the physical world 2) layer virtual objects into reality (ex. Pokémon Go) or 3) enhance objects with effects (ex. Snapchat Lens).
WHAT IT IS: An Oculus Rift app that allows you to hang out with your Facebook friends and family while sharing experiences as if you were in the same room. Within the app, you can experience past memories by exploring content on your own or your friend’s timelines and experience new content by discovering and interacting with 360 degree photos and videos together. You can create new experiences within this virtual world by playing with the app’s different features (i.e. drawing tools). While this is an Oculus Rift product, the experience expands to the standard Facebook platform by enabling Messenger video calls to people in the physical world and sharing capabilities to post photos and videos of yourself within the experience.
WHY IT IS CHANGING THE GAME: Virtual Reality has mostly been seen as a personal experience with small adoption rates. Facebook Spaces is the first example of why Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 as it harnesses the connection power that the Facebook platform is known for by making it more inviting and expanding the singular experience. Though Facebook has connected the Oculus and Facebook app experiences in the past, this is the first time there is a level of discoverability, shareability and connection to propel the platform forward, indicating that mainstream VR may be in reach.
WHAT SHOULD MARKETERS DO NOW:
- Rethink your 360 degree content – users will now be able to bring those videos or photos into their Spaces environment to view with friends. Brands should consider content not just for the enjoyment of one person, but how this can become a shared experience.
- Prepare for branded opportunities – As of now, Facebook is focusing on the consumer experience but promoted opportunities could be close behind.
While a majority of these features are being billed as user-focused experiences, we can expect monetization to fall close behind. Facebook has been testing bot advertising within the platform, and we expect this to be further prioritized as users adapt bots as a part of everyday social activity and the Discover tab to become crowded. Facebook has been transparent that monetization for VR is still far off. As of now, AR should be marketers’ focus as it is more likely to be monetized in the near future and has increased from 50% accuracy to over 80% in just four years. Monetization and branded opportunities for Creative Effects is most likely in the near future.
While Facebook has been seen as replicating popular Snapchat features (AR, Stories, etc.), Creative Effects is the last major copy Facebook can make besides wearable tech. Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that he is not investing in additional AR tech for the time being but instead focusing on the camera users already have. We still anticipate a landscape in which both platforms coexist due to the platform’s different user base and user behavior.
Marie Goldstein, Social Marketing Manager, Amy Peterman, VP of Paid Social Strategy, Fitz Maro, Senior Innovation Strategist at 360i also contributed to this post.