Facebook F8 2019 updates and how they affect Online Marketing in Zambia.
Facebook had its annual F8 conference which first launched in 2007 as an 8 hour hackathon – hence, F8. The conference was initially designed to encourage developers to create tools centered on Facebook. It has since evolved to be more of Facebook’s announcements events with breakout sessions on topics announced. And Facebook F8 2019 had a plethora of announcements focused on the Future being private. These include Facebook’s mobile app and desktop re-design, introduction of Messenger Desktop app, changes on WhatsApp Businesss, Instagram and more. All the updates to come this year are themed around Facebook’s privacy upgrades. So, let’s dive into some of the major announcements and how they affect online marketing in Zambia.
Facebook mobile app and desktop website redesigned around Groups, Stories and Events.
Coined FB5 (version 5 of Facebook), the new design promises to be simpler, faster, and cleaner in appearance. It will be white in color (bye-bye Blue 😭) and has Communities at the center of it all. The new look has Stories at the forefront and prominently features a Groups tab showing personalized feeds and updates from all your groups. This new version also encourages private interactions within groups. Currently, you get notifications from groups you are a part of but this is now changing. Facebook is pushing Group updates into your News Feed and you’ll be able to see them on your timeline. “The goal is to make communities as central as friends to the Facebook experience”, Zuckerberg said.
For online marketing in Zambia, this gives us an opportunity to focus on products and services for Facebook groups. We have an opportunity to serve our customers within groups and turn them into ambassadors. Imagine interacting with a group of your customers and getting instant feedback about your products. In other words, get on board and make a branded group for your brand before it’s too late. Plan this well and execute it extremely well!
In a few months, Facebook will roll out an Events Tab. You’ll be able to discover events near you, organize outings with friends to attend events and discover local businesses.
Facebook Messenger gets a new and faster mobile app and a desktop program
Messenger also got an overhaul with a faster and smaller app with reduced size from 127MB to under 30MB. The app will focus on interacting with your closest friends and family with its chat capabilities and addition of status updates and stories. And building on WhatsApp’s success, the app will have end-to-end encryption by default. Messenger is also introducing video co-watching capabilities, albeit, to increase Facebook Watch’s awareness.
Are there any features in Facebook Messenger beneficial for businesses doing online marketing in Zambia? Glad you asked. For businesses, Facebook has created an automated system that allows customers to book an appointment through Messenger. In addition, there’s a lead generation template built directly into Ads Manager. The goal is to help businesses drive in-store traffic and to provide better customer care.
“People’s communication styles are migrating toward messaging way faster than anyone thought,” said Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger. “And people want to communicate with businesses the same way.”
Why pay attention to Facebook Messenger with regards to online marketing in Zambia? Messenger is the second most downloaded app in Google Play, world-wide (excluding default OS apps). And the same holds true for i-phone users. This statistic alone should prompt online marketers and businesses in general to make use of the app. It was announced as well at Facebook F8 2019 that Messenger will be getting its first ever stand-alone desktop app.
Instagram updates to help boost online marketing in Zambia
Instagram is also getting some improvements. One of which is the Camera. I mean, it wouldn’t be an Instagram update without its Camera functionality right? Instagram is calling it Create Mode. This new feature will allow users to create posts from scratch without the need to upload a photo or video. One can basically start creating a post with text and/or GIFs without the need to take a photo or video first. Marketers and creators alike can now share those ‘inspiring Quotes’ on the go, without the hassle of looking for stock images. Create Mode will integrate popular creative tools like effects & interactive stickers, just like the features in Stories.
Another big announcement at Facebook F8 2019 was the roll-out of an e-commerce integration within the app. Users will be able to buy from certain brands directly through shopping tags. The feature, announced last month, is now being expanded to influencers and only products from participating brands can be purchased from the app. Instagram plans to roll this out to more people soon. This will be huge for online marketing in Zambia especially when other products besides fashion are integrated. It will allow brands and companies to expand into the e-commerce space without building their own platforms from scratch.
Instagram is also launching a donation sticker for Stories to let people raise money for nonprofits from within the app. This is currently only available in the United States but there are plans of rolling this out to other countries. The company is also testing hiding like counts on a post from followers. Owners of the post will still be able to access this information from the back-end. “The move is in an attempt to make posts less about competition and more about what people care about”, the company said.
Facebook F8 2019: WhatsApp new features for businesses using online marketing in Zambia
Later this year, WhatsApp Business intends to add products catalogs. This feature will allow customers to view a list of products offered by a business within the chat. Customers will be able to discover different goods that the business they are chatting with have. For the small business that does not have a website of their own, this feature will help them showcase their range of products. Facebook also mentioned WhatsApp payments which is currently being tested in India and plans to expand to other countries. One future possibility is the ability for consumers to be able to search for businesses on WhatsApp. But that’s just a dream of mine. Lol
Whilst all these features are being spoken about and tested, marketers in Zambia need to position themselves for them. Don’t wait for the wave to start, rather equip yourself and be first to lead in online marketing in Zambia. What features excite you the most? Let us know in the comments.