During the Facebook F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, Facebook announced several updates to Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and Whatsapp. So in this article, I’ll run through five of Facebook’s major announcements for marketers:
1. Instagram Stories Create Mode and less prominent likes
Instagram has new camera features. The camera in Instagram Stories is getting an overhaul, making it easier to find and use some features. Create Mode will let you create an image for Stories that isn’t a photo or video. Now, it’ll be easy to just post a solid color background with text or GIFs over it.
Instagram will test hiding the like count from photos and view count from videos in an effort to get users to pay attention to the content itself and not their associated engagement metrics. The account owner will still be able to access their own metrics and see the total likes or views for a specific post, although they will need to tap through a post to view those metrics.
2. Instagram will test a feature that lets you buy directly from the app
The ability to buy products from certain brands and check out directly through shopping tags on the app was introduced last month. Now the company is expanding that capability to influencers, celebrities, athletes and brands. Among the list of accounts that are in test are Kim Kardashian West, Camila Coelho, Aimee Song, Candace Parker, etc. The feature is available now to people in the US.
Influencers having the ability to sell products through Instagram is huge for influencer marketing. Influencers will be able to link to their partner’s products right from a photo with a paid placement.
3. WhatsApp product catalogs
From now on, companies that use WhatsApp with their own profile and business description will also be able to show product catalogs directly from their profile in the app. According to Zuckerberg, “Now you can see what is available with a business”.
This feature could help millions of small businesses that do not have websites to place their products directly on WhatsApp.
4. Facebook Groups And Events
In 2017, Zuckerberg said that 100 million Facebook users were part of significant groups. In 2019, he said that 400 million people are part of such groups and it is for this reason that Facebook will continue to increase the prominence of the groups in their product.
Facebook will highlight groups (smaller online communities based on interests, where sharing feels more natural) and events, creating a prominent groups tab and a personalized feed from the groups you’ve joined — rather than a generalized update feed from your friends. The group interaction options will be displayed while you browse other parts of Facebook as well.
Facebook is improving the discovery, making it easier to share from groups and introducing a large number of new features created specifically for different types of groups, such as an anonymous publishing option for health-related groups.
5. Facebook Messenger is getting a desktop app and Messenger Lead Ads Templates
A new version of Facebook Messenger has been released for laptops, both for Mac and PC. Previously, people could use Messenger from a web browser, but they could not use certain functions on the platform, such as group calls. This new desktop version allows you to use these functionalities.
According to the company, the amount of time spent on video chat in Messenger has increased by 40% year after year, making private messaging one of the fastest growing areas of online communication.
Facebook is testing a "group watch" feature, where people can invite others to watch a video together in real time.
For businesses specifically, Facebook's also adding new Messenger lead generation templates to Ads Manager.
"We’re making it even easier for businesses to connect with potential customers by adding lead generation templates to Ads Manager. There, businesses can easily create an ad which drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger to learn more about their customers. And to make it easier to book an appointment with businesses like car dealerships, stylists or cleaning services, we’ve created an appointment experience so people can book appointments within a Messenger conversation"