In 2017, we crossed some significant milestones like the 1.3 billion strong community actively using Messenger every month. We’ve also seen businesses and services becoming more active on the Messenger Platform – over 200,000 bots are now live, and businesses currently drive traffic at scale to their Messenger experiences thanks to click-to-Messenger ads and our recently introduced Messages Objective. We’ve also seen changes in how we communicate with friends and family – the rise of visual communication has been key with over 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs sent – that’s a lot!!
There were 17 billion video chats on Messenger for the year – two times as many as compared to 2016. With AR filters and effects, plus the ability to get together in one-on-one and group video chats (for up to 50 people at a time!), you were connecting with voice and video calling more than ever before. And over 100 million people interacted with M suggestions in November alone, across 10 countries and four languages. We achieved a lot but we have so much more to do.
Now we’re setting our sights on 2018 to make Messenger the best way to spend time together when you’re apart, or to make plans to spend more time together in the real world. We want to make Messenger the best way to organize a night out with friends, do your homework, or simply connect with the people you care about via text, photo, video, or realtime audio or video. We want you to be able to dream about a vacation with family and friends and plan it all in one place. We want you to save time and effort when communicating with businesses, and make payments even simpler.
Here’s a peek of what we’re thinking about for 2018:
2017 saw voice and video chat truly take off. This year, you’ll see us continue investing in real time communications to make sure that no matter where you are, you can easily stay connected to your loved ones. No one wants to miss a special moment, but real time communication is what connects us in times of crisis too… and we unfortunately saw more than our share of that last year. At Messenger, we want to make sure you can celebrate a cousin’s engagement from the other side of the world as well as make sure your friend is safe after a natural disaster.
Doing More Together
We are all social beings. And group chats make it easier for us to spend time together both on and offline. That’s where our everyday human interactions happen. We coordinate real life get togethers, we hash out our opinions on the latest news of the day, we dissect our favorite TV shows, and we replay and relive key sports moments. There are many ways we can make groups better. Identity is built in – it’s all about people, not phone numbers. Blazing fast ways to share photos and videos – incidentally our photo quality is better than ever (4k!) – plus ways to upgrade group chat into live video group chat. Messenger group chats already have lots of features like the ability to react to an individual message, the option to mention someone, add and remove people seamlessly, customization tools – but we have more in store for you this year. Messenger is cross-platform and truly global, and we think it’s the best way to find anyone you want to talk to amongst the 1.3 billion people who use it every month — old friends or new – and bring them into the conversation. Oh, and did I mention you don’t need someone’s phone number to add them to a group?
Simplify To Delight
Over the last two years, we built a lot of capabilities to find the features that continue to set us apart. A lot of them have found their product market fit; some haven’t. While we raced to build these new features, the app became too cluttered. Expect to see us invest in massively simplifying and streamlining Messenger this year.
Getting Way More Visual
Though visual messaging has been around for a while, it really started to reach ubiquity in 2017. I predict visual messaging will fully explode in 2018; people will expect a super fast and intuitive camera, video, images, GIFs, and stickers with almost every conversation. Even in the workplace where conversations can be more serious, we see people embracing emojis and video to help drive a point home. And Messenger Kids is a visual-first app: parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles can video chat with kids as if they were face to face (depending on who you ask, video chatting can be better than face to face if you use the right funny filter.) Not only will you see more from Messenger in visual messaging this year, but this is where the industry is heading, and we won’t be looking back.
Customer Service Will Transform into Customer Care
Calling a business ranks pretty high up on the list of things we don’t want to do on any given day. But as messaging becomes more popular as an additional channel for immediate, personal customer service, the expectations and experiences have started to meet in the middle – introducing messaging as a true Customer Care channel. In traditional Customer Service interactions, most people have simple, basic questions they want to ask and have answered. Messaging has now become a preferred way for people to communicate with businesses to get things done, and sometimes learn a little more about the brand. According to a Facebook-commissioned study by Nielsen, 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service, and 67% expect to message businesses even more over the next two years. And while calling still plays a prominent role in customer service, this has opened the door for brands and businesses to communicate with their customers in a variety of new ways to not only respond to issues or one-off questions, but to offer an up-sell opportunity to benefit both people and the business. Look for more creative ways that we’ll evolve Messenger as a true Customer Care channel in 2018, but even more importantly, this is clearly where the industry is moving as it not only benefits the growth of the business, but frees up Customer Care agents to support the business in other, more productive ways.
Messaging as a Marketing Channel: No Longer “If” but “When”
People expect to find businesses with some sort of messaging experience – whether it’s a live chat functionality or something more complex like a complete platform experience on Messenger. But over the last year, we’ve heard from more and more marketers that they know that messaging is the next great channel – but how do they get started? We’ve been encouraged to see that bigger brand names are bringing a presence to Messenger (LEGO, Katy Perry, Apple Music) which signals the acceptance from CMOs that it’s time to create a unique and effective experience that can reach more people at scale. Look for investment in rich messaging experiences not only from global brands, but small businesses who need to be creative and nimble to stay competitive.
Good social media presence is not just merely an option, it is necessary for brands nowadays.
In the past couple of years, marketing in social media channels has grown rapidly. New features like ephemeral content by SnapChat, live feature by Facebook, are helping a brand to connect with their customers more effectively.
According to a study by The CMO Survey, the marketing budget spent by brands on social media is expected to double (from 11% to 24%) in the next five years. Also as per records by Statistica, 95% young adults follow a brand via social media networking and the count of social media users at the end of 2018 would be 2.5 billion. But even such highly convincing stats have not been able to convince the remaining ones about benefits of social networking sites and join the bandwagon.
Here are 7 reasons why your business needs strong social media presence these days:
1. Search Engine Visibility
Every business wants to increase traffic and user engagement but will it be possible if your prospects are not able to find you over the internet? Social media profiles help you dominate first search result page in a more natural way, which further increases profits. Consider the fact that millennials spent a large amount of time on social platforms, and their value will increase further.
Moreover, presence on social media channels will not only generate business for you but also stop brand negativity to reach top positions.
2. Company Mouthpiece
Whether you are new to the industry or have been a part of it for many years, a positive word-of-mouth will always help you gain customers. Social media marketing help business owners keep their clients updated about new launches, company policies and also team activities.
Online social networking gives you a chance to build narration to capture your customers’ interest. Each Facebook post and tweet can share company values, ethics, and much more. But don’t flood your followers with x number of updates every day. Make sure that everything is relevant.
3. Trust-building Channels
Social media presence has become vital to earn customers’ trust. You can survive without a physical store but not having a social presence will be scorned at. Be it online stores or startups, this is true for all online businesses. If you don’t have active presence on social media channels, then, you are missing out on brand critical profiles.
4. Competitive Advantage
Do you think your competitors also don’t care about social media presence? You may be wrong. There are high chances that they are investing their time and money into building a positive online social presence to gain business.
Not having a social media presence will derive you of all its benefits and they will be automatically passed on to your competitor. So, take a good look around and see what they have been doing.
5. Virtual Connect with Customers
It is critical for virtual companies to prove their credibility and gain customer confidence. Social media platforms give you the opportunity to create a bond with your customers. As a brand, you have to know that it is important to engage your customers and thus uses different social media networks to promote your services. For instance, Creative Facebook posts can be used to interact with customers and give them a chance to engage with your business.
6. Sales & Business Leads
Social media is immensely useful in generating leads. With modern social channels like Pinterest and YouTube that allow direct purchases, social media has become even more powerful. Instagram, too, launched a call to action button that helps its audience to shop and install applications.
Social media is evolving very fast and it will very soon drive sales in a big way. And if you will not be there when it happens, well, you will the losing party.
7. Marketing Channels
Driving sales is seen as one of the biggest merits of social networking sites. All the social media channels have well-defined marketing machinery in place to help brands connect with their target audience. Facebook’s Sponsored Posts and Twitter’s Marketing Campaigns are two of the most popular ways to market your products and services.
Every social media channel has unique marketing channels. Though you don’t necessarily need to have a social media presence to use these channels, having the same will multiply the gains. Global brands link their marketing campaigns with their social profiles to increase likes and followers.
The power of social media is huge, and it can open the doors of success for your business when used in the right manner. Benefits generated by social media channels are measurable and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using them.
Everything said, make sure you choose the right social channels and step in with a detailed strategy. Just posting images and status updates will not help your business. The right combination of informative and promotion posts are required to generate desired results. Plus, generating leads from social media advertising is entirely different ballgame that requires experience and insights.
To find out how we can take your business into the social-sphere and start generating business online, just ping us an email at [email protected] or visit our project page using the link in the red box below
There is no doubt that Facebook has changed the way people connect and communicate. And with the continued evolution of the platform since its 2004 launch, Facebook trends have increasingly influenced how digital marketers behave. This has made Facebook marketing as crucial an aspect of the industry as any.
Below are some of the Facebook trends you need to embrace in the coming year if you want to keep pace in the realm of Facebook marketing.
Video will still be huge
In 2017, video laid claim to being the undisputed king of content. And while different variations of video emerged throughout the year (ephemeral, live, etc.), in the coming year, video will remain an integral part of Facebook marketing.
There are various studies and stats that back this up, but perhaps none more convincing than Mark Zuckerberg saying that Facebook users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day. And the unfathomable amount of Facebook videos consumed have been found to get 135 percent more organic reach than photos.
These are just some of the reasons why, even though brands should already have jumped on the video bandwagon, 46 percent of marketers still plan to add Facebook video to their digital marketing plan in the coming year.
Utilising Facebook Live for marketing has gotten increasingly more important since it was rolled out to all users in April 2016. Search Engine Journal found that their average Facebook Live engagement was 178 percent higher than their average post engagement. The average reach of Live posts also increased to more than double.
Facebook Live videos’ organic feel (as opposed to curated ones), as well as the way it allows for real-time interactions between publishers and audiences are a big part of why the format has been largely successful thus far.
Here are some tips on how to best leverage Facebook Live for marketing:
- Create a Facebook Event: This is a good way of making your subscribers aware of a coming Live broadcast beforehand. Similarly, you should also publish posts (across all your social media channels) in the lead up announcing the schedule of Live broadcasts, so audiences know exactly when to expect them.
- Social shares: As the broadcast is happening, schedule social shares using a consistent hashtag, so it will be easier for your followers to find the live content. You should also include the URL of your Facebook page, and tag the pertinent people/brands involved in the broadcast.
- Recap: If you plan on having regular Live broadcasts, you could further increase awareness for it by publishing recap posts. Include links to the embedded videos, so those who missed out can get more of a visual clue to what went down.
The growth of AR/VR on Facebook
At its Facebook F8 2017 event, Zuckerberg made no secret of the direction they were taking AR and VR. The social media giant has never been known to stand pat, and with Camera Effects Platform, and Facebook Spaces, it’s looking to lead the way towards an exciting new realm of interactions.
Camera Effects Platform
There are three key aspects of Facebook’s new AR platform:
- Precise location: Precise location can place varying imagery in the camera’s viewfinder. During the event, Zuckerberg showed an image of a cereal bowl with sharks swimming around it, along with a graphic saying “It’s feeding time” rising from the table.
- 3D effects: The platform is designed to build out 3D environments using a 2D photo.
- Object recognition: With this, users can use real-time visuals to have new kind of interaction with images. Zuckerberg illustrated this with a photo of a plant, a wine bottle, and a mug. The plant had a thunderstorm graphic pop out to water it, while the wine bottle had an information card showing its price and origins.
In its current form, Zuckerberg admitted that it is but the next step in the evolution of AR, adding that what phone cameras can presently do are just primitive versions of what AR experiences will eventually be.
Initially launched in Oculus Rift and Touch, this platform allows people to interact with friends (as avatars) in virtual reality.
As Facebook’s promotional video shows, Spaces allows for friends to have a place to meet even if they’re not in the same physical space. In the virtual world, users can share various forms of media to each other live.
What it can do for marketers
As noted by Econsultancy, marketers have already had a taste of what sponsored Snapchat filters can do. Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform sees the former’s filters, and raises the bar exponentially.
With the platform’s ability to recognize any object (as opposed to just faces), there is now a myriad of creative branding possibilities. Product information will just be the tip of this new creative iceberg, with the possibility of users pointing to virtually anything (shoes, cars, clothes, food, etc.)—and have all sorts of info (and interaction) pop up. With Facebook Spaces, the platform is dependent on 360-degree content—something brands will be more than willing to provide.
It’s interesting where brands will take this new available technology, but if you’re going to place a bet on anything, it’s on that leading brands are already exploring the vast possibilities.
Other innovative visual content
If a picture paints a thousand words, then GIFs can express what words can’t. And while its entertainment value has long been appreciated by netizens, brands are increasingly seeing what GIFs can do for business.
Naturally, shorter videos get more complete views. This is why GIFs have become increasingly valuable. As noted by WordStream, not only does it stand out from static images, it does not require the same amount of investment, effort-wise compared to videos, carousel, and lead ads. Additionally, you can even repurpose existing video assets as Facebook GIF ads—making it a win on repeat.
And if you need further convincing of how huge GIFs will be in 2018, according to Forbes, Giphy has over 100 million daily users sending 1 billion GIFs each day. It’s become such huge business that Giphy runs its own studio in Los Angeles for massive clients like Nike, Paramount, McDonald’s, and FOX.
Here are some tips on using GIFs for Facebook ads:
- Keep it smooth: Choppy transitions and strobing effects do not work for this format.
- Keep it simple: Trying to do too much with your GIF defeats the entire purpose of using it. Make sure that both the message you’re trying to relay, the transitions, and the CTAs are as simple as possible.
- Use as part of a strategy: Sure, some GIFs just have that viral magic about them, but you can’t count on yours being one of them. Instead of trying to create magic, use GIF ads as a complementary part of a series of visual content. Make sure you understand how to use GIFs before aiming to make it your main strategy.
Press and hold videos
If you haven’t encountered a photo with a CTA to press and hold, then chances are you’re an Android user. The feature (only available for iOS users), basically allows people to physically press a photo before taking them to either a video or an image slideshow. When they lift their fingers off the screen, they’re taken back to the static photo (here’s a guide on how to make one).
What it can do for marketers
Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to Facebook marketing, and this format allows you to interact with audiences in real time right on their newsfeeds. Because the format is still relatively new, you can surprise your subscribers with interesting content—at least while its novelty lasts.
Considered by some to be a form of VR, 360-degree media keeps right in line with the need to create more immersive brand experiences. And because most of the leading brands will continually increase their pivot to video, you’re going to have to find a way to stand out from what will inevitably become white video noise.
What it can do for marketers
Anthony Holland Parkin, head of VR at Getty Images, notes that technological advancements in 360-degree cameras have provided brands with the tools to tell stories from new vantage points. He cited people going to social media during Fashion Week to have a real-time look at next season’s trends.
“Now, instead of just viewing photographs from behind-the-scenes or on the runway, it’s possible to explore the entire show from all vantage points, as if you were there.”
Another possibility Parkin points out, which could be developed in the future, is the ability to purchase an item within a 360-degree media experience.
Continuous rise of chatbots
According to Facebook, there are now 100,000 monthly active bots on Messenger, providing an instant connection between brands and customers. Customer service remains the main realm of chatbots, addressing basic queries and issues, and providing an automated interaction to drive sales.
Here are some tips for creating chatbots:
- Create a character first: Chatbots are meant to feel personal, and as such, you need to think of a persona first before focusing on the code.
- Keep it simple: You want to acclimate your customers to the technology. One way to drive them away from chatbots is by making the process too complicated. Keep it simple, and give them a reason to use it.
- It won’t be perfect: Customer service is always tricky, and you’re never going to get it perfectly— whether it’s a human or a bot.
The development of new technologies has birthed more creative possibilities for brands to engage and interact with their customers. And with Facebook making the integration of these innovations to its platform as seamless as can be, marketers need to jump at the opportunities to stay ahead of the competition.
Which of these trends can you integrate into your Facebook marketing strategy? Experiment with some of these elements, and test how it works. It could lead to the spark your brand needs to stand out.
Need help with your Social Media and Digital Activities in 2018? Visit outsidemediagroup.co.uk and request a FREE consultation.