It’s been a busy week for Facebook, as the company has introduced a number of initiatives in the hopes of drawing in more content creators and brands. Among the four biggest components are:
The company first posted a blog earlier this week discussing the new video features being added. Specifically, a new mobile tab was added to the Facebook mobile app, making it easier to look up user videos. It also provides a huge upgrade to livestreaming by allowing users to broadcast to Groups and events.
What does this mean for marketers? Facebook is quite serious about expanding its video features, and expanding on experiences and possibilities for both content creators and brands. In fact, a lot more brands have taken interest in Facebook’s native video format, giving it a lead over YouTube.
With these new features, there’s potential for reaching out to new audiences, especially through events and fan groups monitored by a marketing team.
Speaking with Buzzfeed, company co-founder Mark Zuckerberg noted, “If you’re a public figure, the audience is unprecedented. If you’re Jimmy Fallon and want to go live, it’s not really worth your time unless you can reach an audience that’s similar to what you can reach on TV.” And while those numbers matter in aggregate for people like Fallon, they may even matter more on an individual level for regular people. “If you’re a person that just wants to share with your friends, it helps to have your friends there.”
Last month, Facebook released its new Canvas experience for its mobile app, enabling advertisers to bring products to life like never before. It’s the latest push in an effort to reach out to its billions of daily users, creating a unique experience instead of a traditional ad format.
What does this mean for marketers? Canvas allows marketers to become more creative with their advertising, putting together experiences that expand beyond the usual “banner ad” or “auto-playing video.”
However, it still needs some time to be effective, according to VentureBeat. The format is currently “not ready for the agencies of their advertiser clients looking to use it to drive direct, measured results.” However, they won’t have to wait long to see these results come to life, as it could reach that potential in just three-to-six months.
That said, impressions are positive, as some consider Canvas to be a “cool new toy” for agencies to try out.
Improvements To Native Ads
Some companies have been hard at work trying to make native ads work on Facebook, but the company’s recent changes to its branded content policy could make things a little bit easier. With the changes, verified Pages will now be better enabled for sharing content, even though some of it will still be blocked if it’s too promotional for its own good.
“This update is something that media companies, public figures, influencers, and marketers have been asking for, as branded content is a growing and evolving part of the media landscape,” the blog (written by Facebook product manager Clare Rubin and Nick Grudin, VP of Partnerships) notes. “People will now be connected to more of the content they care most about on Facebook as publishers and influencers gain an incentive to share more quality content—of all kinds—with their fans. We know that many of our partners have existing partnership deals with marketers, and this update gives them the ability to extend their branded content business onto Facebook.”
What does this mean for marketers? Provided it can produce its branded content the right way and utilize video features for a more effective campaign, then there’s no reason why a company can’t find success using native ads on Facebook.
“The marketer will be notified, can access post-level insights, and will have the option of sharing and boosting the post. We focused on designing an easy tagging experience to create a simple and streamlined workflow for both publishers and marketers,” the blog also states.
Facebook’s Messenger service could be seeing the most innovative push of all, making it easier to access its 900 million monthly active users.
The service now supports custom QR codes, like the ones Snapchat utilizes, where users can link up with one another and begin conversations. This lets users find and communicate with people more simply, even when they’re in the middle of watching an event or livestream.
What does this mean for marketers? While the full marketability hasn’t been nailed down yet, the social possibilities are endless. After all, we’re talking about a vast audience of people with a stronger way to communicate with one another. Imagine putting together a promotional campaign for a band or film where fans can connect with one another and talk about how excited they are. It worked for Twitter and yesterday’s launch of the Star Wars: Rogue One trailer.
It’ll probably be some time before we see a campaign that effectively utilizes Messenger’s social features, but the potential is definitely there. It has to be done right, so perhaps the cautious approach is the best way to go.