Marketers Globally Groan, As Facebook Shreds Social Strategies. Again.
It’s that time of the year again: F8.
The Facebook F8 developer conference is Big Blue’s biggest event of the year.
Mark Zuckerberg practises dad jokes for weeks, listens to ‘eye of the tiger’ on his Discman and then channels his inner Steve Jobs, sans black roll-neck (sadly), and hits the stage.
Agencies, brands, influencers and small businesses hold their breath.
Zuck then reveals a new vision for Facebook and in the process kills almost everyone’s 2019 social media strategy.
OK, that may be a slight exaggeration. He probably doesn’t have a Discman.
Nonetheless, this week’s F8 has seen some major game-changing updates for marketing and comms pros worldwide.
Many of the announcements at 2019’s F8 have been on the cards for a while, some of which SMK has been covering on courses for well over a year, while some were unsighted.
There are many Facebook marketing updates to get through, so today we will focus on those materially impacting Facebook proper.
We will pick up Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp in subsequent posts.
Let's start with the confirmation/expansion of stuff we already knew, before moving onto the F8 2019 newbies.
Private Is the New Public
As per the hero image above, privacy is the way forward.
Stop laughing; he is serious.
Much of the gist of this privacy shift we covered in March, so we won’t regurgitate.
In a nutshell, for marketers wanting to rock and roll within the Facebook ecosystem, it means:
- You need to double-down on Stories, for both organic and paid activity
- You need to launch Facebook Groups and reprioritise community management
- You need to prioritise Messaging, for both organic and paid activity
The more interesting addition this week was the announcement of the significant rebuild and redesign of Facebook to facilitate this. Both on mobile and desktop.
Major Facebook Redesign Prioritises Groups
The latest Facebook redesign makes it difficult for brands to ignore Groups, with smaller group interactions perhaps poised to supersede large redundant Facebook Pages in coming years.
“There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook.
And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful.
With this in mind, we’re rolling out a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and puts your communities at the centre. We’re also introducing new tools that will help make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests.”
Within the new Facebook app the new groups tab is placed in the middle row of the redesigned menu bar.
When tapping in, users will now get a personalised feed of updates from their various groups as well as recommendations to join new groups based on their interests.
Group functionality is expected to touch almost every aspect of the Facebook experience as this becomes an even more central platform function.
Major Facebook Redesign Prioritises Events & Local Content
Joining this in a few months will be a new events tab.
There is an existing events tab on Facebook for users, accessible via the hamburger menu, although it is a tad basic at the moment.
From what Facebook describes the new events tab should function like a hyper-local news feed, where users can:
‘See what’s happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses, and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.’
In this light, the new events tab almost sounds like a fusion of Facebook Local and Facebook Events (both in hamburger menu).
For marketers perhaps the main observation, outside of the obvious, should be the fragmentation of attention within the platform and its implications.
As social media growth has stalled platform growth can now only come from audience retention tactics. Requiring platforms to offer new kinds of experiences and content to keep users hooked.
For marketers, this means: More content. On more things. In more formats. Aimed at different experiences. Tailored for different audiences. All the time.
And lo, the marketers groaned.