The 3 Announcements at F8 2017 that Impact Marketers Most
Just like last year, it all started with Mark Zuckerberg kicking off the F8 conference with a look at Facebook’s ten-year roadmap.With announcements ranging from AI, VR, and bots to Facebook Analytics, Facebook has made considerable progress towards its very carefully calculated goals, which all wrap up to Zuckerberg’s mission of
“building the technology to give anyone the power to share anything they want with anyone else.”
There were a ton of exciting announcements at F8 this year (cereal bowl surrounded by leaping, animated sharks anyone?)…
…but here are the five that we believe are going to impact social marketers the most.
1. Facebook Analytics Developments
Facebook announced new capabilities designed to help marketers understand and optimize their customers’ complete journey across their app and website, from interactions on brands’ Facebook Pages to website purchases. Supporting this initiative is Automated Insights (which incorporates advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence), Custom Dashboards, and Custom Audience.
What It Means for Marketers
Marketers will be able to measure and understand how the interactions people have with their Facebook Page affects activity on their website, app, and bot. This ability to track customer journey and behavior overall across different channels provides marketers with a unique ability to understand their audience better and optimize the entire customer journey to drive growth.
*Want help understanding this journey across multiple social channels simultaneously, while also gaining insight into awareness metrics? Check out the Simply Measured solution here.*
Automated Insights (image above) help marketers quickly identify areas that need deeper analysis and determine a plan of action. The Custom Dashboards will give brands and agencies more flexibility over the data they see. The ability to create Custom Audiences based on user behavior across the Facebook family of apps will help marketers get more targeted in their marketing efforts.
2. Messenger Bots
Two years ago, Chris Messina wrote about conversational commerce, which was “about delivering convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.”
Facebook’s developments for its messenger bots this year at F8 take us much closer to conversational commerce becoming a reality.
According to David Marcus, VP of Messenger,
“We think of Messenger as being like the new social living room for the world, where people can hang out, share, chat, play games or buy things, while still being able to reach nearly everyone, wherever they are.”
From bots who can play with you to bots that provide faster, more engaging, and cheaper customer service—messenger bots are here to stay.
What It Means for Marketers
Bots can help people discover new brands and businesses. Bots can provide seamless and prompt customer service 24/7. This could be a solid resource for marketers to reach and connect with their audiences, providing highly personalized service and ads. Well-executed extensions for bots could be another great way to stay involved in user experience across platforms and channels.
Facebook also announced the ID Matching API, which will allow marketers to connect a single user across Messenger and any of your apps or websites that use Facebook Login. This could help you understand your consumer’s behavior and path to purchase, creating a single view of this customer across devices.
3. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
If there was one message that Mark Zuckerberg wanted F8 attendees to remember, it was that Facebook is putting the camera at the center of our everyday interactions. Facebook plans to add an “augmented” layer, extending your physical world online.
With a screen in every pocket these days, Facebook believes that the phone camera should be the first AR device. Combined with Facebook’s AI, augmented reality can help display information like directions and messages, add digital objects to surfaces, and also enhance existing objects.
Zuckerberg imagines contact lenses that look and feel normal, but let us overlay all kinds of information and digital objects on top of the real world.
Facebook has been trying to bring virtual reality to life since they bought Oculus in 2014. With Facebook Spaces, Social VR is poised to become a reality.
What It Means for Marketers
Simply put, AR allows you to enhance the world around you, while VR immerses you in a world that has been totally created for you. These are both still emerging technologies.
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Marketers will be well served if they start thinking about their specific creative and business objectives. How can you integrate these technologies into your consumer’s journey? How can you use these technologies to deliver your story in a more immersive format?
It’s not about creating a completely new reality; it’s about enhancing what already exists, or creating something customized for consumers to experience before they buy. This can be very powerful if executed correctly, and it can help make shopping easier, more fun, and more convenient. The picture below is from the Houzz app (as an example). You can play around with different furniture and how it fits in your space. Imagine being in a room (virtual, of course) set up completely with the furniture and decor that you like so that you can experience it firsthand. You can bring your friends along to see it, too. And that is just the beginning.
While there were many more exciting announcements at F8 this year, these three stood out for us, from a marketer’s perspective. If you were there at F8 or have been following these announcements, we would love to hear from you about which other developments excited you most and which you think will impact marketers going forward.
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