"Reprise REThink: Facebook F8 2018 Recap"

F8 2018 marked Facebook’s 11th annual developer conference where the brand releases major updates to its product roadmap. Below are the key takeaways and announcements from the event.

Journeys

Facebook introduced a new reporting feature within Facebook Analytics called Journeys. Built to be omni-channel first, Journeys will provide brands a tool to better understand user journeys across multiple platforms to ensure advertisers can see what actions are resulting in conversions (or not).

Journey’s capabilities include:

  • Auto-detection of user funnels: Robust machine-learning algorithms will enable advertisers to identify the most frequent paths users take across their respective POE ecosystem with apps, websites, Facebook pages and Messenger. Unique data visualizations will allow advertisers to quickly uncover, understand and react to opportunities for optimization.
  • Automated Insights: A major upgrade sees the addition of custom parameters giving brands the ability to build in unique events that are important across their consumer journey, and fuel the machine-learning engine to surface unusual patterns or anomalies faster. This applies to the entire omni-channel journey, not exclusive to the Facebook family of apps.

Why is it important?
Journeys will be able to surface key insights that may have previously not been available through cookie-based omni-channel analytics tools. The data is aggregated and anonymized and not tied to any specific individuals’ identities, enabling it to provide results without jeopardizing the privacy of customers

A.I. & Security

A collective bundle of security and A.I. updates highlight the responsibility that Facebook has taken to safeguard its users’ data and privacy, especially in the wake of GDPR laws that are being rolled out across Europe.

These updates include:

  • Clear History: Allows a user’s Facebook habits to be erased from the platform and includes an option to never log history, a carbon copy of the same feature on web browsers. The drawback for users will be a less personalized experience within the platform.
  • Updated AI: An advancement to the A.I. system identifies and remove fake news and unsafe content at a rate of 99% before a user is ever exposed to it. This will ensure that advertisers’ ads are not served among any undesirable content that may be in conflict to their core business beliefs.
  • Independent Auditing: Screening of 3rd party apps will be conducted by independent auditors in an effort to avoid another Cambridge Analytica situation. These auditors will ensure 3rd party apps are adhering to all terms and conditions, while Facebook will be showing users which of these apps has access to their information within the platform and allowing users to remove that access at any time.

Why is it important?
Facebook is continuing to try and regain back trust by unveiling these updates to data-privacy and security. For advertisers, there should be little concern that the “clear history” feature will quantifiably reduce Facebook’s data or targeting accuracy. This feature has been available within the most popular web browsers for years, and those platforms have never faced an impactful reduction in addressability due to it. When possible, advertisers should focus on collecting data with pixels/CRM in an effort to build a more robust 1st party data set to relieve an over-reliance on Facebook-owned data that may not always be available in the future.

Stories

The Stories format is evolving, and this is particularly apparent on Instagram, with a significant number of Stories coming from screenshots of apps. To create a more seamless experience, third party apps such as Spotify can enable sharing directly from their app to Instagram stories so when a user then sees this story, they can then drop straight into the song with one click.

Why is it important?
Facebook predict that across its portfolio of platforms, Stories will overtake feeds as the primary way that users are sharing visual content. The third-party app integration creates a huge opportunity for brands such as Spotify and GoPro with users now able to share directly from their app or camera into a story, streamlining an existing user behavior. More broadly, the Stories format creates a growing opportunity to connect with an audience through an impactful, visual format, though there is a job to be done to help advertisers see vertical creative as an opportunity, rather than a challenge.

Augmented Reality

While AR lenses have been available in various forms across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, open development was restricted to Facebook. Now open development is being rolled out on Messenger and Instagram. Though the AR effects that brands design and use will only show up in the camera of their followers, when a creator’s lens is used by a follower, their followers will be able to access to filter when they see it used in a story or DM.

Facebook also made announcements around the technology that powers AR, tracking more human features, such as more precise hand and precise body tracking, as well as recognizing and augmenting objects such as trees, cups of coffee, and dogs.

Why is it important?
AR is giving brands a new medium for storytelling - one that is immersive, exciting and personal. While some products and brands may have a more straightforward fit for AR, such as using it to immerse you in a world from a new movie release, there are also many ways to utilize AR when there doesn’t appear to be a natural asset. For these brands, they need to think about what is the message and emotion they are trying to convey, with the same framework that they would think about this for a print ad or a TVC.

Explore

Instagram’s Explore section is getting a new look and feel to better organize Explore’s content suggestions into topical channels based on the users’ own interests and tastes. This includes the addition of topic buttons in a scrollable, horizontal row across the top of the Explore page. The new Explore section is powered by AI, which is being augmented with content classification and curation signals from the Instagram community to make the experience more personalized.

Why is it important?
Instagram is widening its stance as a discovery platform, and is providing new paths to discovery for both users and businesses alike. Brands should remain cognizant that while Instagram is increasing in prominence as a reach platform, discovery is intrinsic to the user experience on the platform. It will be interesting to see if paid placement within Explore becomes a feature down the road, but until then brands should focus on serving relevant content, delivering compelling imagery and being the source of inspiration that users seek on the platform.

Oculus Go

Facebook is taking its first step in providing a scalable VR product with the announcement of the untethered, Oculus Go. By bringing the Oculus Go price point to $199, Facebook is enticing consumers to be early adopters, while spurring developers to create programs for a growing user base. This strategy – Facebook hopes – will place them as the frontrunners within VR, which will eventually open the door to monetization via VR ad placements. Currently, VR ad supply is quite limited, but publishers such as Netflix and Hulu can be streamed via Oculus TV; concerts and sporting events can be watched live via Oculus Venues; and friends – in virtual form – can hang out and play board games via Oculus Rooms.

Why is it important?
Oculus Go will allow advertisers to extend their buys into the virtual world via pre-rolls, banner ads, and commercials across top networks, OTT, VOD, and digital/social platforms. Advertisers should consider this world a second layer of ad placements, and start ideating on how they will live within the virtual world.

For further information, reach out to Reprise team members:

  • Elijah Harris
  • Greg Merwede
  • Pete Sfirse

All videos from the conference are available to download and watch: https://developers.facebook.com/videos/?category=f8_2018

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