At This Year’s Facebook F8, the Future Gets Remade
After last week’s Facebook’s F8 developer conference, it’s time to evaluate how several big announcements will reshape the platform -- and how they will affect investments made by marketers, e-commerce leaders and customer service executives.
The future of Facebook is private.
In his keynote, CEO Mark Zuckerberg drew a clear line between the “town square” and the “living room.”
The town square is where we go to discuss things in public, and the living room is where we have our private conversations. Mark used this metaphor to lay out his vision that the future of Facebook is going to be focused largely on the living room: ephemeral stories and private messaging. This means the platform will be investing more time and energy in Messenger, WhatsApp, Stories and Groups, and significantly less time on the public feed.
The impact for marketers: advertising and marketing solutions are likely going to move further down the purchase funnel, from awareness to consideration, purchase and care. Use cases that are attributed to transactions will take priority over experiences that drive awareness.
Related: The Day Messaging Replaced Social
Messenger gets an overhaul.
The Messenger app got an upgrade this year with improvements to performance, support on more platforms and integrations with its sister apps. Highlights:
Focus on speed: The Facebook engineering team has managed to shrink the Messenger app size and make significant speed improvements. This makes Messenger the fastest over-the-top messaging application in the market, which will increase usage, adoption and retention, especially in global markets, and secures its place as a key marketing target.
Desktop app release: Messenger released a full desktop app that will support all of the functionality that marketers leverage in the current mobile app. This will increase engagement with businesses, who will now have desktop access to their users.
Integration with Instagram and WhatsApp: At the platform level, Facebook is integrating Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. All three apps will have end-to-end encryption, so that Facebook will not be able to read messages that are sent in-thread.
Another coming change is the merging of content and address books between the apps. For instance, Messenger users will now be able to view stories from friends that were created in Instagram. We will also be able to message friends across apps (e.g., you can message your friend in Messenger and they can receive the message in Instagram). Overall, this will increase engagement, usage and retention across all three apps, increasing their appeal to marketers.
Native payments in WhatsApp: Facebook is beta testing peer-to-peer payments on WhatsApp. While not immediately useful for our customers, this is another step (along with the new Instagram check-out) in Facebook’s evolution toward becoming a transactions company.
Peer payments on WhatsApp will lead to payments from WhatsApp for anything: food, transportation, clothes, etc. In five years, we can predict that WhatsApp will be one of the largest payment platforms in the world and, by next year, we’ll see payment features of various kinds across the entire Facebook ecosystem. (We have no specific knowledge about this, but all signs point to transactions as the future.)
Shopping looks from creators, on Instagram.
In addition to checkout, Instagram is launching tools allowing public figures, artists and other influencers to tag products for sale that they’re wearing or showing.
For marketers with existing influencer strategies, this adds another layer for presenting and selling products, and really ties into Facebook’s vision of evolving from driving media to driving commerce.
Messenger is increasingly employed as a channel for customer care.
To encourage that movement, Facebook is adding new Messenger capabilities for authentication, automation, personalization and routing. Air France’s experience was featured. They are currently handling 24% of customer requests on Messenger automatically with a virtual assistant, resulting in a 50% reduction in resolution times and a 15 point increase in customer satisfaction scores.
Facebook has begun a tectonic shift in the way it thinks about its core business model, shifting from an impressions-based business to one focused on transactions and customer service.
For anyone interacting with customers and potential customers -- marketers, advertisers, customer service and eCommerce managers -- this similarly requires a strategy shift for this massive social network and its apps.
Snaps is changing the way brands build relationships with consumers through conversation. Global brands like Nike Jordan, Marriott Rewards, Live Nation, VICE and more leverage the Snaps Conversational Marketing Platform to acquire new customers, increase lifetime value and improve customer experience with messaging technology. Snaps is an Inc. 100 business, one of the few companies listed in Facebook Messenger’s Partner Directory, a designated Leader’ by Opus Research and frequently covered by Forrester research on conversational marketing.