F8 2019 took place on April 30th & May 1st 2019 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA:
2019 marks Facebook’s 10th F8. What started as an 8-hour hackathon has evolved into a 2-day event for developers, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world.
Note: the “F8” name (pronounce “eff eight”) is a reference to the traditional 8-hour hackathons held at Facebook.
Both Loomly Co-Founders Noémie & Thibaud Clément attended F8 2019 and below are their main takeaways for brands & marketing teams.
This article is not meant to be an exhaustive summary of the entire conference, but rather a high-level analysis of the direction the Facebook ecosystem is taking and the resulting opportunities for businesses. You can find all announcements made during the conference here and all videos from keynotes and sessions are available here.
Available on Facebook, Instagram and even WhatsApp (under the name Status), Stories were one of the heroes of the conference. That’s only fair, given the staggering stats that speak for themselves, presented by the Facebook Team in a session titled Spotlight on Stories: Creative Considerations for Effective Stories Ads:
- There are now more than 1 billion stories shared every day across Facebook family apps.
- 56% of people say they use Stories on three or more platforms at least once a week and 57% agree that stories make them feel part of a larger community.
- 82.5% of visitors to video-centric web sites hold their smartphone in portrait orientation.
- 1 in 2 people surveyed say they have visited a website —and 31% have gone to a store — to buy a product/service as a result of seeing it in stories.
It’s no surprise then that, in that same session, the Facebook Team made it clear that Stories were far from being a fad and were here to stay: in fact, the long-term potential impact of Stories was even compared to the one of News Feed.
What’s in it for brands: with a full-screen, distraction-free and immersive format (which is rare on mobile), Stories — and Stories Ads — allow marketing teams to inspire their audiences to take gesture-based CTAs (swipe up) and trigger direct-response outcomes. Coupled with the power of Facebook’s targeting, audience reach and measurement solutions, this is a new virgin territory with endless possibilities.
More than 400 million people are members of meaningful Facebook groups, which enable them to get together in person as well as online. In an effort to “make communities as central as friends”, the Facebook team is introducing FB5, a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and puts communities at the center of the experience.
This new major version of Facebook — the biggest change that has been made in the last five years — aims at making it a lot easier for users to find and connect to Groups that they are interested in. This is a significant step towards an interest-centric social platform.
What’s in it for brands:
Pages can join Facebook groups and participate in group discussions, all in the Page voice that is representative of their brand, business, or organization. Pages can enrich and contribute to group discussions by engaging with members, sharing content and events relevant to the communities, and serving as subject matter experts on shared interests.
3. (Customer) Messaging
Messaging is a key component of social interactions:
- Every day, people send more than 100 billion messages across the Facebook family of Apps (Messenger, Instagram & WhatsApp).
- Every month, 20 billion messages are sent through Messenger between people & businesses.
This puts into perspective what Asha Sharma, who leads the Messenger product team, announced on Day 1 during the Keynote:
We believe that people should be able to choose to talk to anyone, anywhere without thinking about where to reach them. So, for the first time, we are building the ability for Messenger users to be able to call and message, not just their friends on Facebook, but their close friends and family on Instagram and on WhatsApp.
On top of that, the functionalities of each app are growing:
- Messenger: appointment booking is made available through the API to allow instant-booking, real-time availability and reminders, and lead generation templates are coming to Facebook Ads to drive customer acquisition through Messenger.
- WhatsApp: the WhatsApp Business API and the WhatsApp Business app are two tools that respectively help larger and smaller businesses to communicate with their customers and increase sales.
What’s in it for brands: this is a significant opportunity to expand the reach of private customer interactions with businesses and then transform online conversations into in-store experiences.
Historically, the Facebook ecosystem has been a great place to discover brands — either organically or through ads — and consume their content. More recently, the Facebook family of apps has been making a very interesting move in the direction of commerce and transactions.
- Facebook: through native support for shipping, sellers can list items for sale across the US and buyers can checkout directly on Facebook, which serves as an escrow service, with money being deposited into the seller’s bank account once the buyer has received their order. In addition, buyers will now be able to place orders directly from Live streams.
- WhatsApp: WhatsApp Business Product Catalog (in the WhatsApp Business app) is making it easy for businesses to list their offering and Payments make it as easy to send money as it is to send messages (this is currently being tested in India, where a million people have already been able to send and receive money, coming soon to other countries). In other words, WhatsApp is becoming a frictionless e-commerce platform.
- Instagram: beyond the ability for brands to tag products, a dedicated Shopping channel within Explore, a dedicated tab within Profile and more recently Checkout (currently in Beta), a brand new feature called Shopping from Creators is rolling out. In a nutshell, this allows content creators to tag products from sellers into their posts and users to buy those products without leaving Instagram. This is: content creation meets influencer marketing meets affiliation meets e-commerce. All in one platform.
What’s in it for brands: the Facebook ecosystem is progressively becoming a new sales channel, appearing as an alternative and a complement to Shopify, Etsy & Amazon for businesses. Most importantly, this provides brands with the opportunity to cover the entire consumer journey, from discovery to transaction and shipping, all within one platform, reducing abandonment and tracking issues.
Connecting The Dots
What emerges very clearly from F8 2019, is the ambition of Facebook as a company, through their entire family of apps — Facebook, Messenger, Instagram & WhatsApp — to become a single-destination platform empowering brands and businesses to reach out to communities, create and publish content, find customers, sell products and interact with them in a one-to-one way.
At Loomly, we are more convinced than ever that for Facebook, the future is private, and for brands, the future is Facebook. As a brand success platform, our mission is to provide marketing teams with the tools and resources they need to succeed online. We are committed to developing new features allowing our customers to make the most of the Facebook ecosystem, today and tomorrow, and we have exciting new announcements coming your way very soon: stay tuned.