30 Apr Facebook Updates in Lieu of F8 2020
Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, was supposed to be held next week but was canceled several months ago due to COVID-19. In place of Facebook’s biggest annual event, Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook leaders will be doing a series of updates throughout the year. The first of these rolled out earlier this week via a 36-minute live stream by Zuckerberg.
Below, we’ve broken down the latest updates as well as key takeaways to help inform your social marketing strategy.
- Facebook’s focus continues to be around keeping people connected
- Live video products were the focus of Facebook’s first F8 announcement
- Product updates include those around: video calling, new video rooms, and additions to Facebook Live video
Facebook and COVID-19
The first part of Zuckerberg’s F8 video focused on what Facebook has been doing throughout COVID-19 to help people stay connected during this time period. He talked extensively about how they’re helping to deliver authoritative information and limiting the spread of misinformation. Many of you have probably seen the COVID-19 information center that is at the top of your newsfeed. Zuckerberg reported that this information center has had over 1 billion page views and they are currently building chatbots to reach people around the world with COVID-19 information. They are also working to help prevent the spread of misinformation, something that has plagued Facebook for some time, with over 4,000 articles about COVID-19 being rated and reviewed by independent fact-checkers.
Facebook is using their data for good by assisting with the public health response. They have partnered with Carnegie Mellon to distribute widespread symptom surveys, producing a daily county by county map of the prevalence of certain symptoms across the country and helping inform decisions like where to distribute PPE and which areas are safest to re-open.
Finally, Zuckerberg touched on how Facebook is helping small businesses with the distribution of $100M grants program in the form of cash and ad credits. If you are a small business, you can learn more about the program here.
F8 Product Updates
Moving onto the product announcements by Zuckerberg, Facebook’s focus remains on bringing people together and helping them stay connected. They have further refined their attention to connect people through live video. Zuckerberg announced three major product category updates: video calling, video rooms and live video.
Video calling is Facebook’s most used type of video presence, typically for one-to-one communication between users. Between WhatsApp and Messenger, there are more than 700M users participating in daily calls. Facebook is expanding the number of participants in a video call from 4 to 8. Within Messenger, they are launching new AI-powered tools which allows for 360 degree immersive backgrounds and more effects.
Key takeaways for brands: Honestly, we think video calling will remain more targeted towards users as opposed to brands, but we will keep an eye on it if it does become available for pages.
Video rooms are something new and Facebook’s take on enterprise video conferencing technology. These rooms are natively hosted in Messenger and you send out a link for anyone to join. They don’t have to have a Facebook account and people can join at their leisure. If you do have an account, Facebook will put a list of active/open rooms at the top of your feed. These video rooms will be integrated with Facebook Events to help people plan online events. The organizer also has the ability to make the rooms private or remove people as necessary.
Key takeaways for brands: If this feature becomes available for brands, brands could setup video rooms for an exclusive feel around product announcements or sneak peaks. Another potential use case would be to setup a video room for a focus groups with some of your top fans.
Update: After speaking with our Facebook rep, this feature is likely going to stay just with users and not be available for brands; however, Rooms could be a way to involve influencers and fans.
Facebook Live video isn’t new, but it is getting some updates. Zuckerberg reported that 800M people engage with Live video on a daily basis. The first update is that the “Live With” feature will be coming to Facebook. This is currently available on Instagram where it allows you to go live with another person instead of it being a solo live stream. The second update is that businesses will soon be able to charge a fee for people to access a live stream. This is ideally for businesses that rely on in-person services.
Key takeaways for brands: Live video is still a great way for brands to broadcasts to large groups. The “live with” feature could be used for interview-style content with brand ambassadors or influencers. Also, the ability for brands to charge a fee to join a live stream could be applicable for some businesses. Some applicable activities that come to mind are teaching a class, hosting a performance or possibly raising money for a charity event.
If you’re still trying to find the best way to utilize these streaming features, check out our post on social media live streaming best practices.
Those are the F8 updates for now. We will be following these updates closely, so make sure you’re in the loop by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter, Social You Should Know.
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