The 3 Key Learnings from Facebook's F8 Conference

Each year Facebook holds a conference in San Jose for developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services around Facebook. This gives marketers just enough time to rip up their annual plan and adjust tactics to include the potential changes coming your way - if you know about them of course.


1. Groups are Good

Facebook recognised the importance and popularity of communities in closed ‘Groups’ on their platform. Photography groups, parenting groups, neighbourhood watch groups…. You might have noticed in their recent design update a new piece of Facebook real estate - a dedicated mobile tab for Groups.

There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful. With this in mind, we are rolling out a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and puts your communities at the centre. We’re also introducing new tools that will help make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests.
— Facebook

In 2019 & 2020, brands can no longer ignore groups. Back in the day, a user could comment on a Facebook page and it would be the most prominent post on a Facebook page for everyone to see, until an update saw Page posts become the priority content. This development is a return to true community management for marketers, but this time the opportunity exists in a Group not on your Page directly.

We’ve been working on a major evolution to redesign the Facebook app by making communities as central as friends
— Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Key questions For Marketers:
- What are some potential passion points for your customers?
- How can your products and services fit into your customer’s lifestyle?
- How can you stoke these passions within a group?


2. Instagram is hiding likes

Did you feel the earthquake the other night? Instagram influencers’ worldwide simultaneously fainted at the news that the very metric that determines their marketability will be hidden to some users.

Instagram is trialling giving users in Canada the option of opting out of seeing how many followers people have and how many likes a post has.
Instagram says this is experimenting with creating a ‘less pressurised environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves’. In a nutshell, they are encouraging more content to be submitted to the platform by removing the metric that people and marketers use to gauge quality.

For anyone still scratching their head as to why this matters at all… the songs on an artist’s Spotify accounts with the most plays are probably their best ones right? It’s a cognitive bias people have when faced with a discography of 10 albums and 140 songs to listen to. Popular = good. The concept of ‘Social Proof’ states that people take cues on behaviour or opinion based on those of others and when people are uncertain about the correct behaviour or conclusion. People are social creatures and tend to also want to be a part of the group rather than different from it. Therefore for brands, because people take action based on perceived popularity, popular content has higher organic reach and a lower cost per view or per click for paid promotions.

It’s not all doom and gloom for influencers though. When Instagram announced its intention to trial checkouts, it also let slip that users will eventually be able to checkout on influencer’s profiles as well - opening the door to allow key opinion leaders a way to make a buck and demonstrate their real influence.

Key Questions For Marketers:
- Assuming a significant group of Instagram users will not see how popular a post with your product in it is, how will your business work with influencers?
- What extra effort needs to go into your business’ Instagram posts?
- How will this affect the quantity and/or quality of posts from your business?
- Does the content source matter as much as the content? How will this affect your briefs?
- What other methods can you engage with your audience? Stories? Messenger? IGTV?


3. Events near me

Just like the increase in prominence for Facebook Groups, a likely future merger of Facebook Local and Events will occur, allowing users to see what is happening near them and giving brands the opportunity to use this yet unrevealed feature.

See what is happening around you, get recommendations, discover local businesses and coordinate with friends to make plans to get together.

The eventualities from this development are a no brainer - the opportunity to influence nearby people and engage with them in new ways in the real world beyond digital media.

Key Questions for Marketers:
- How will this affect the content we create?
- What will the effect be on our bricks and mortar stores? What needs to change first?
- How can we influence nearby customers with events?
- What new ways of promoting our brand will this open up?

Sam Clode