During early May 2019, Facebook hosted F8, their annual conference about the future of technology.
During the conference, Mark Zuckerberg introduced a series of changes that are being rolled out on Facebook and Instagram in the coming months. He states that Facebook is focused on ‘building a more privacy-focused social platform — giving people spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most.’
While desktop changes will be released over the next few months, most of these changes can already be found on the new mobile app.
Redesigned Mobile App and Desktop Site adds focus to stories, groups, and events
The new Facebook redesign features a clean, more immersive experience. Most of the changes are cosmetic changes to put the focus on stories, groups, and events. (New events features will come later this summer, we’re told). We see more whitespace and a new shade of blue being used. After doing a study last year, Facebook found that the blue that has been part of the brand for years wasn’t a ‘trustworthy’ colour to consumers, and with all the privacy issues going on with Facebook it makes sense why they changed it!
First impressions: Stories got bigger, the blue bar disappeared, and it looks like the newsfeed has been demoted.
A new ‘Meet New Friends’ tab to make it easier to, well, meet new friends!
This new feature simply lets you browse people from shared communities, such as your school, work, or city. Different from ‘people you may know’ because it has nothing to do with mutual friends and more to do with your interests and behaviours.
First impressions: Similar to people you may know but way bigger
Facebook Messenger new products and features
This is where it really gets good for us businesspeople on Facebook! Announcing the arrival of a faster, lighter app for more reliable messages, Facebook has rebuilt the architecture of Messenger from the ground up. The new Messenger allows for a button on websites that will directly lead to Facebook messenger where a chatbot or staff will begin a conversation, or they can land on one of the 3 new business tools coming out with the update:
- Easy authentication - Directs customers who have already been authenticated on a mobile app or website into a personalised thread based on where they clicked from and why.
- Appointment booking - Book appointments through messenger.
- Create lead gen ads for Messenger with a new lead gen template in ads manager - ads manager already has some templates, but they are rolling out a new one specifically for lead generation in Messenger.
In addition to these three business tools, Facebook will now let Admins change their display name and photo on Messenger for more personalisation. So instead of having the company logo, you can change the picture to a real picture of you, and change the name to your name or your position.
We will also see a new way to share videos through Messenger and a standalone desktop Messenger app. These will be completely rolled out later this year and will focus on your close friends and the 3 new business tools.
First impressions: Looks like Skype!
So, you might be thinking, will all this affect Instagram at all?
The features discussed above won’t change anything on Instagram, but Facebook did mention the following features that you will soon see on Instagram:
Shop Fashion from Creators
Instead of commenting and asking for more details, Instagram will now allow you to simply tap to see exactly what your favourite creators, (influencers), are wearing and allow you to buy it on the spot without leaving the app. This is still being tested in a small group and will expand over time.
First impressions: Going to be huge for ecommerce, we can see it building to all products
Donation Stickers to Stories
Branching out from Facebook birthday donations, they’ve now started implementing a sticker for Instagram stories that will let you raise money for non-profits. This is currently only available in the US but plans to move to other countries. This is something to consider for companies who may partner with non-profits or to keep in mind when doing so in the future.
Facebook updates have been a long time coming, and what has been announced is bringing changes for Business Profiles. While it is already hard for business profiles to get organic traffic, with the design shifting away from newsfeeds, this is going to be even harder. Meaning a bigger influence needs to be put on paid advertising on both platforms.
We also see the promising features being introduced on Facebook Messenger that will make it easier for businesses to drive in-store traffic, generate leads, and provide customer care.
Instagram updates are few this time, but extremely important for fashion businesses. We recommend staying up-to-date with this new shop from creators feature and making sure your site is mobile friendly before the new feature rolls out.
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