On the first day of F8 - Facebook’s annual developer conference, the social networking company announced quite a lot of interesting stuff! Listed below are the eight major announcements Facebook made at F8 on day one.
1. Facebook messenger as a platform
At the F8 conference, Facebook announced its new Messenger Platform that will allow its 600 million users to create and share content with third-party tools, and communicate directly with businesses rather than calling or emailing them. With more than 40 new apps, people can enhance their conversations with GIFs, photos, videos, audio clips and more.
The content tools platform and apps from initial partners include ESPN, JibJab, and Giphy. The Messenger content apps will be accessible from a triple-dot button in the composer next to options to add photos or stickers. From there, users can create content like animated GIFs and special effects-laden videos, or discover content, and then instantly share it to friends through Messenger.
Rather than add the functionality of these apps directly into Messenger, which might make it feel cluttered and confusing, Messenger platform apps are their own separate companion apps.
2. Facebook Messenger for Business
Facebook gave a preview of Businesses on Messenger, that enhances communications and interactions between people and businesses.
With Businesses on Messenger, people can have rich and personal conversations with businesses. For example, after purchasing something from a website, people can choose to receive updates in Messenger and continue their conversation with the business in the app. With this feature Facebook is removing the pain of customer service calls or the endless emails.
Messenger for business will allow customers to receive relevant messages from the business including order confirmations and shipping status updates, and will be able to take basic actions like modifying, tracking or returning an order. People will also have the option to ask a business question, make requests and get quick responses. This whole set of interactions and features are unified in a single, ongoing thread between the person and the business.
For now Facebook is working with an initial set of partners including Everlane and Zulily to change how people contact them. For example, if you buy something through Everlane, but want to modify, track, or return your order, you’ll be able to contact the business through Messenger.
3. Facebook has now real time comments
Facebook unveiled a new commenting system at F8 that should help keep conversations in sync across Facebook itself, on brand pages and on sites that use its embedded comments. The revamped commenting now lets you see comments both on the web pages where they appear, and on links shared on the network itself, and also see replies made in either place across both essentially in real-time.
The new commenting tools are currently in testing phase with Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and a number of other publishers before they are available for a wider audience.
4. Facebook embeddable videos
Facebook now makes embedding of video easy peasy like YouTube videos. At F8, Facebook announced the ability to embed Facebook videos on other websites. Earlier embedding of video was a pain but with Facebook’s growing interest to dominate the video space, now you can do it in a matter of a click.
Just click the “embed” button and paste the code that you get into your blog/website, and the Facebook-hosted video should be ready for working at your end. With Facebook convincing content creators to create native content only for Facebook, features like this will enable the internet to be flooded with Facebook videos.
5. Spherical Videos
Facebook is following YouTube very closely. After the popular video sharing network announced the ability for 360-degree video uploads for YouTube, Facebook has released a similar feature. Talking about the feature Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg informed Facebook is going to support spherical video in News Feed, and in the Oculus hardware it creates through Oculus VR. The immersive video experience will also eventually support live broadcasts.
6. Analytics for apps
Facebook had good news for marketers. Analytics for Apps, a new tool revealed at F8 will allow marketers to better target campaigns based on aggregated social data. Available today, Analytics for Apps gives you a web dashboard that lets you see a cross-platform look at how your apps are performing in terms of audience engagement and conversion rates.
With this app in hand marketers will have the ability to go beyond who simply clicked on an ad in Facebook. It would give the ability to see how far different groups got in the sales process, so a marketer could change their strategy to introduce more products that might appeal to a lagging group or focus on the demographic that requires the least effort to land a conversion.
The app will hopefully benefit marketers who are looking to get users back to the apps after they have installed.
7. LiveRail’s support for mobile ads
LiveRail is Facebook’s existing ad server for video ads, which Facebook had acquired last year for $400-$500 million. Till now LiveRail was helping publishers manage their video ad inventories and ensure the right ad appears for the right user.
But that is going to change now, Facebook is expanding LiveRail’s ad management capabilities to mobile display advertising, meaning publishers can use the technology to sell both video and display ads on their mobile apps. Until now, LiveRail’s exchange was limited to video ads. With the update, publishers can fill ad vacancies for mobile display ads as well. Besides LiveRail will also be able to tap into Facebook’s anonymized people-based demographic information to help publishers more accurately target and serve their impressions.
This is big news for publishers since they no more have to reply on web cookies to target ads, from now on they will be able to use Facebook’s user data into the mix to get a better idea of who’s watching the ad.
With this announcement for LiveRail Facebook now competes with both Google’s DoubleClick and Twitter owned MoPub. However Facebook thinks that it has better user data than Twitter or anyone else, for that matter.
This move of allowing publishers access user data on Facebook will also bolster Facebook’s big idea of bringing publishers on its platform to post content. Speaking to TC, Elizabeth Closmore, global head of product evangelism, strategy, and partnerships at social media company Sprinklr said that the main reason publishers would make these deals would be in the hopes of increasing their reach.
8. Parse for Internet of Things
Facebook is getting Parse, the platform-as-a-service company for Internet of Things, Enhanced Sessions to improve app security, support for React and a new debugging tool.
Parse, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013 started out as a mobile backend service, but as more and more devices come online, the service also wants to offer services for the Internet of Things. The first step here is the launch of an SDK for Arduino, but Parse also plans to launch SDKs for other platforms.