Technology has developed at an unprecedented rate, with social media, more specifically Facebook, now utilising a range of features including machine learning, AI, virtual reality and more. Luckily for businesses, this means even more opportunities and ways to connect with potential customers. We take a look at some of Facebook's top features for marketers and advertisers in 2018.
Customers are spending more time on messaging apps such as SnapChat, WeChat and Messenger. Chatbots now give businesses the ability to connect with customers privately and directly, with marketers having the option to place ads directly into the messenger app and your buyer personas personal inbox. Acting as more than a typical messaging system, Messenger allows you to optimise your ads for customer replies, meaning that you can now deliver a truly targeted message. Further, because you can use a range of mediums such as video, images, polls, music and more, customers remain even more engaged with your brand.
Back in 2016, Facebook hit 100 million hours of video watched each day. Since then, the number has only grown, and businesses are realising the importance of integrating video and visual media into their digital marketing and advertising strategies. One particular nifty development from Facebook is their Live API which now allows users to live stream from their smartphones, digital cameras, video games and other programmatic sources. Further, since Facebook Live has allowed Live Crossposting, multiple businesses (and pages) can now easily host and share a single live broadcast, resulting in a larger potential audience.
With Instagram Stories growing in popularity (hitting 300 million daily users in 2017), Facebook has invested in expanding the reach of their own stories. Because these stories only last 24 hours, they offer a fun and new way to create scarcity and intrigue your customers through sneak peaks, limited offers and more. Nowadays, Facebook Stories are also available for groups and events, with each story having a private hashtag. By allowing users to create their own stories and generate their own content, you are able to build a sense of community, conduct customer research and encourage engagement across events that you hold.
As part of the trend towards a video-heavy strategy, Facebook is now offering "Watch". Still in its early stages, this video-on-demand style service allows companies to host episodic shows on Facebook. As with all of Facebook's other features, there will be personalised recommendations that allow your business to target viewers based on their interests. This will be done through highlights such as "What's Making People Laugh" or "Most Talked About" as well as categorised content bundles which will be created based on popularity and engagement rates. Although Watch is only currently available to selected users in the US, we expect to see this roll out globally within the next 12 months, so keep an eye on your business manager account.
Last but not least comes augmented and virtual reality, which are no longer just for fun and games. According to Cathy Hackl, AR and VR expert, "AR is becoming increasingly important for the shared social experience on the platform as well as how products are sold, from AR chatbots to Facebook 3D posts, AR Commerce or V-Commerce will be the next frontier for Facebook ads". The fact is that content is now shifting from 2D flat content to 3D content that is interactive, augmented and happening in real-time. This is evidenced by Facebook now allowing you to post in 3D. Maybe it's time your business looks for opportunities to future-proof your content.
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