Facebook’s indigenous F8 Developer Conference for 2014 was hosted yesterday in San Francisco Design Concourse. The mobile first company which made 59% from mobile advertising in Q1 2014 focused its conference on key areas like – Build, Grow and Monetize great new apps.
Facebook intends to bring the community together once a year to talk about what the social network is doing for developers, stated Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder in his opening note. The event focused on some big mobile driven announcements that developers and users should be aware of to get the most out of the social network.
1. Audience Network
The much awaited announcement from Facebook came at the conference – the launch of its mobile ad network called Audience Network with three formats: banner, interstitial and native.
Facebook states: The Audience Network is starting with advertisers looking to drive app installs or app engagement. The Audience Network is a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps. The Audience Network brings powerful features of Facebook ads along with additional app-based mobile experiences, giving marketers even more scale for their Facebook campaigns.
The Audience Network will be available in all ad interfaces, as well as the API. Ads in the Audience Network are designed to help marketers meet key business objectives, like driving app installs and engagement. To drive results Audience Network right now is delivering ads in three creative formats.
Marketers can measure the Facebook campaigns and Audience Network campaigns separately to see what’s working, or results can be viewed comprehensively.
The Audience Network will be rolled out to more advertisers in the coming months.
2. Anonymous logins, updated Facebook login and a redesigned app control panel
The other big announcement Facebook made at F8 was Anonymous Login, a brand new way to log into apps without sharing any personal information from Facebook, along with a new version of Facebook Login with even better privacy controls.
Sharing personal information with apps has been a concern for many including me so from today onwards, Facebook is putting the power and control squarely in people’s hands with Anonymous Login, a new version of Facebook Login and a redesigned app control panel.
Anonymous Login lets people log in to apps so they don’t have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn’t share personal information from Facebook. People can decide later if they want to share any additional information, once they understand more about the app. In the coming months Facebook plans to open up the feature for more developers.
Facebook Login, one of the most preferred social login into apps and websites, has got a new Login look. With the new Login, people can select the data an app gets by unchecking categories of information, one by one. For example, if someone wants to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, they can make that choice with a couple taps. The new Facebook Login also won’t post to Facebook without permission. Again the new Login will be rolling out over the next few months.
Life becomes miserable if you are logged into too many apps and want to keep a track on them in a simple way. Facebook now wants to give users a clear and simple way to keep track of their Facebook-connected apps.
Facebook has also announced a newly designed dashboard where people can see a list of apps they use, manage specific permissions, or remove apps entirely. It will be rolling out over the coming weeks.
3. Mobile Like Button and Message Dialog
Facebook has also announced a new Like button for mobile app partners. The feature is currently in beta and will be rolling out over the next couple weeks. When the feature goes live, third-party developers will be able to drop ‘Like’ buttons into their apps so that users can share content with their friends.
Going further people can now share their content in a more personal way using Facebook Messenger with the availability of Message Dialog for Android and iOS app.
4. Two year guaranteed stability, four new public content APIs
Moving ahead Facebook now has a new, two-year stability guarantee for core products and API versioning to simplify development. This guarantee applies to Login, Sharing, and other core products and a new version of the Graph API to help developers build, grow, and monetize from their apps.
To protect developer information Facebook will issue app-scoped user IDs instead of original user IDs for people who first log in to your app using the new Graph API. Plus, the company promises to fix all major bugs within 48 hours.
During the conference, Facebook also announced 4 new APIs for media organizations: Trending, Topic Insights, Topic Feed, and Hashtag Counter, as part of its recently launched Public Content Solutions (PCS) program.
PCS showcases partners delivering market-leading tools and services to major media companies, sports leagues and teams and public figures. These companies are experts in integrating Facebook and Instagram into their customers’ experiences connecting audiences and fans. Current partners include Arktan, TimeLine Labs, Postano, among others.
5. FbStart developer tools
With FbStart Facebook is showing extra love for mobile app developers. It is a program designed to help entrepreneurs turn their mobile apps into successful businesses. Facebook is offering startups a package of useful resources, including Parse, mobile app ad credits, invitations to special events, and tools and services from other companies.
6. “Autofill” for simpler checkouts
Facebook wants to simplify the payment and shipping information process at the checkout to motivate commerce on its platform. At F8 it announced a partnership with e-commerce platform Ecwid to let its 450,000 merchants easily integrate Autofill With Facebook, a feature that lets customers pull in credit card, billing, and shipping info they’ve stored on Facebook.
At the conference Facebook also announced a test of an extension to Autofill that lets JackThreads customers to pull in promo codes if a user clicks through from a promo code-filled Facebook ad.
The rollout to Ecwid’s partners will get a ton more developers testing Autofill. For now the Autofill is free for use. Instead, the strategy is to gather data on what Facebook users buy and from where. Facebook wants to match this data to its ads data to see if a paid promotion in the News Feed eventually led to e-commerce sales. If Facebook can prove this in front of the eCommerce giants then it is already sitting on a gold mine of additional revenue.
7. Parse gets updated with pricing, growth analytics and offline datastore
Parse, which Facebook acquired almost a year ago, offers developers virtually all the tools necessary to build mobile apps without the need to manage their own servers, including storage, push notifications and analytics.
At the conference, Parse CEO and co-founder Ilya Sukhar announced that the company is significantly lowering its prices for developers. Going further until developers hit a certain limit, they won’t have to pay for using Parse.
All of the core Parse features will also be available for free and will include 20GB of file storage, 20GB of database storage and 2 terabytes of data transfer. Apps will be able to handle up to 30 requests per second for free, too. This will be the new pricing model for all new Parse users.
As part of this plan, developers will also get free access to Parse’s updated analytics package. The new analytics includes a redesign of the previous version, in addition to a number of new features to get data about an app’s audience and retention.
The other major new feature Sukhar announced is an offline datastore for Parse apps. This allows developers to use Parse to create offline experiences, something that wasn’t previously possible.
And finally, Zuckerberg announced that F8 is now going to be an annual affair with the next Facebook F8 developer conference going to be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on March 25, 2015.