Facebook F8 Conference - What does it mean for marketers?
Facebook’s annual conference F8 may be aimed at developers but it is when the company announces its biggest products for the year and the growth strategies for the future. A social media marketer must keep a close watch on the updates given by Facebook to leverage its advantage at the earliest. This year Facebook announced the much anticipated feature updates on Messenger platform which was center of attraction in the F8 conference. In this blog, I have tried to summarize the important announcements and what impact it will have on marketers.
Chat bots, yes you read it right. As I said in the introduction, this was one of the biggest announcements in the conference. Facebook revealed that it will now allow business to take full advantage of the messenger platform and even set up bots to take over the customer support.
The bot era has officially begun; I wrote a post on how AI will be driving Google search with the help of RankBrain, now even Facebook has embraced bots and expects them to drive major channels of commerce and open new opportunities for them. Facebook provides API for the developers to start building their own bots for the messenger widgets for the web. If you want to try out how really these bots work, open up your messenger and try Poncho - the weather bot.
Right now, Messenger bots are in the infancy stage and the scope of bots is limited but as it is open to public, I am sure it can make a difference. Marketers can use bots to capture customers in real time and never miss a customer because now onwards bots will be working for you day and night. (wink)
“Surround 360”: Open source VR camera
Surround 360 is a 360° VR open source camera through which Facebook intends to boost its VR Oculus and 360° videos which we all know of. Surround 360 looks like a high end flying saucer like camera, it uses a 17-camera array accompanying web-based software to capture images in 360 degrees and render them automatically. It has an aluminum casting; it is designed to be portable, durable and can produce 4K, 6K and even 8K videos.
Brands and marketers can use the surround 360 to increase the engagement among their audience and to attract new audiences as well. Facebook has made it an open source project so that anyone can have their build their own VR 360 camera and start publishing it on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t intend to be the manufacturer of the camera; instead it has decided to put it on Github to let the community explore it. It will cost $30,000 to buy materials to build a Surround 360.
Instant articles open to all
Until now, Instant articles where only open to a few publishers; I mentioned that in my blog on new Facebook features rolled out in 2016. Now, all the publishers having a Facebook page can take advantage of instant articles. Instant articles loads insanely fast and provides a rich experience to the reader. To take advantage of instant articles, you have to sign up for it first, and then select the pages in which you would like to access instant articles. Once you have access to instant articles, you can markup your articles according to the Facebook. You can check Developer tools to get started with Instant article. Make sure you follow all the policies and checklist given by Facebook before giving it under review. Instant articles have been criticized to decrease the traffic on the website but that is not true for all, If you follow best practices and use Instant articles to your advantage, I am sure it will bring more amount of engagement to your article.
Facebook live opens to developers
Facebook has opened its API to the developers who wants to plug into Facebook Live. It means that developers can now integrate live into their app and connect it with any camera they want. Mark Zuckerberg showed off its capabilities in the most awesome way with the help of a DJI drone. He broadcasted an aerial view of the conference live on the social networking platform. Facebook has been pushing live in the people’s news feed for a good time now and it is reported to have thousands of concurrent viewers and millions of total viewers. A live video has a greater weightage on news feed than a general video, marketers can use live videos to publish their events engage more people.
Facebook save button
It has been almost 4 years that Facebook has rolled out its ‘Save for later’ feature with the help of which you can save articles, pictures, videos to see on a later date or just to save in case you want to refer it in future. Facebook says it has 250 million users though being obscure and Facebook wants to take it further by adding a save button to the web as well. At F8 developer conference Facebook introduced ‘Save to Facebook’ for web. Publishers can now add a Save to Facebook button to their article template and whenever the user clicks that button, it will be saved to their Facebook. This save button can be really helpful for eCommerce stores as it helps the user to save the product for a later date or for reference. You can check out the developer guide to see how to implement it.
Facebook F8 conference was exciting with roll out of many new and expected features. Do comment your views on what do you think about the new features and how you plan to adopt it to your business.
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