Facebook™ and its associated platforms – Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp – are about to change dramatically from the way we knew them. At least this is the biggest disclosure that Mark Zuckerberg made during the annual F8 event hosted by the Facebook™ team.
The upcoming changes will affect not only individual users but also business accounts that use social media in their marketing efforts. The gist of the changes announced by the inventor of Facebook™ is: “the future is private”.
So, what does this mean for the way your business will be using Facebook™ and the other associated platforms for marketing?
Time to Adapt Before It Is Too Late
The first conclusion we got after looking over the announced changes is that it will be more important than ever to be social in your interactions and refine your ad targeting and audience selection criteria.
In this context, the true winners will be brands that nurture genuine interactions and dialogue with their followers. This is why, apart from a sound Facebook™ advertising strategy, you should focus on improving your social media management plan.
These being said, these are the key changes announced during the Facebook™ F8 Event:
1. Completely Redesigned Desktop App Focused on Groups and Communities
The design of the new Facebook™ desktop app is the most major visual change. The blue stripe at the top will disappear, being replaced by white space. The layout will place Communities and groups on top of everything else. The newsfeed will be relegated to the secondary position, towards the bottom of the screen. So far, this new design is being rolled out for US users.
What does it mean for marketers? With a reduced focus on the news feed, you will have to find other placements for your ads. Also, you will have to focus your efforts more on creating and growing a group around your page and maintaining constant dialogues with your followers.
2. Messenger Is Completely Rebuilt and Offered as Desktop App
The Facebook™ team vows to rebuild Messenger from scrap, making it faster and lighter. For instance, the new iOS app will be under 30 MB in size. Also, Facebook™ users who prefer the desktop platform will get a separate Messenger app, both for Windows and Mac.
What does it mean for you? Private and direct conversations become more important than ever. In this context, you should encourage your followers to agree to have private chats with you and accept your messages.
3. Templates for Messenger Lead Ads
After setting up the privacy bar so high (at least in terms of intentions), the Facebook™ team will do something for business accounts, as well. They will roll out a series of templates for Messenger lead ads that, according to Mark Zuckerberg, will help brands “easily create an ad that drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger to learn more about their customers”.
These templates will be also personalised for businesses that operate by appointments, such as cleaning services, stylists and car dealerships.
4. Business Catalogue on WhatsApp
WhatsApp becomes more attractive to marketers once the announced changes are implemented. The Facebook™ team will allow businesses to create product catalogues and display them within the direct messaging platforms.
Thus, if your followers show an interest in your products, they will be able to browse them without leaving the app.
5. Hiding Likes in Instagram
At present, Facebook™ is testing this feature with users in Canada. They will no longer see the public likes count on their newsfeed. According to the explanation appearing on the users’ Instagram page, this feature aims to encourage users to focus on what they share, not how many likes they get for their posts.
If the test is successful, most likely the Facebook™ team will implement it at a global level. For marketers, this means that it is more important than ever to switch from a personal to a business account on Instagram. Even if likes are no longer visible on the newsfeed, they will be found in the analytics area.