While Messenger certainly wasn't a new feature this year, it has seen a significant number of updates. The three we'd like to focus on are:
- Payments via Messenger
- Pages responding to comments privately
- Pages saving message templates
In March, Facebook announced that users would be able to send money via Messenger. This free and secure service allows users to exchange money without being face to face. The sender and recipient simply enter their debit card information in the payment section of a new message and the funds transfer to/from the attached accounts.
In August, Facebook made it possible for Pages to respond to their customers' comments privately via Messenger. Next to the comment, a message will appear saying the comment has been responded to privately to show the concern has not been ignored. This move makes social customer service quick and efficient. A Brand can address concerns without asking Followers to contact them a second time, and this makes it easier to solve questions regarding personal information.
In the same efficiency vein, Facebook announced the same month that Pages would be able to save message templates. This allows Brands to answer FAQ quickly without taking the time to re-type the same response over and over.
Do you see where we're going with this? Facebook has made several improvements to advertising to make Marketing on the platform easier.
- Targeted product ads
- Dynamic cross-platform advertising
- Custom audience tools
- A/B ad testing
In February, Facebook introduced a way for advertisers to better promote their products. Targeted product ads allow advertisers to promote multiple products or their entire catalog at once. It also enabled advertisers to target a specific audience, particularly users who have previously visited the Brand's website.
Dynamic cross-platform advertising helps advertisers best reach their audience. This feature enables Brands to reach their audience on any of their devices, regardless which device they initially saw the content on. It shows users ads for products they are interested in or that they have searched for on the company's website, and automatically optimizes ads by device.
Custom Audience Tools is another way Facebook is helping advertisers develop their target audience. This feature allows Brands to create an audience based on activity on their website or based on users' purchase history. Targeting the right audience makes the ads more relevant to the users and worthwhile to the Marketers.
In April, Facebook introduced PlanOut, a set of tools designed for running online field experiments. These tools allow advertisers to change an ad's demographics without changing the content. This means advertisers can test how content performs with different audiences, which provides valuable user information.
In November, Facebook released Notify, a notifications app currently for iPhone users. Notify enables push notifications for news from topics the user is interested in. Users can select which subjects to receive notifications from and can share via text or social networks via the lock screen. This app keeps users to up-to-date all day on news stories without searching for an article or scrolling through a news feed.
In October, Facebook announced they had introduced and were testing Reactions with users in Ireland and Spain. This feature offers six emoji (love, haha, yay, wow, sad, angry) that users can respond to a status update with. Reactions allow users to interact with content beyond "Liking" or commenting. When Followers use these Reactions, Brands will be able to better understand how their audience responds to their content.
News Feed Controls
In July, Facebook updated how users view their news feed. Users can now choose which friends' and brands' content to see first, as well as find new pages to follow. This gives the user control over their news feed, making it a more personalized experience. For Marketers, however, it means that creating original, engaging content is more important than ever to keep their audience interested.
In May, Facebook introduced Instant Articles. Instant Articles is a fast, interactive way for users to read articles directly from their news feed and load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles. By making articles easier to read, Marketers gain more control over their content, and have more opportunities for their Followers to interact with them.
In September, 360 degree videos were introduced to Facebook. These videos allow users to see visual information from every angle. Marketers can now ensure their audience sees the full picture easily and in one video. The use of video is growing rapidly, and this update can change the way visual content impacts Marketing.
For more information about each of these updates, visit newsroom.fb.com.