Last week Facebook hosted F8, its biggest developer conference of the year.
It attracted thousands of creators, developers, and entrepreneurs, who were eager to discover all the updates and changes coming to Facebook’s family of apps.
Since we had the incredible opportunity to attend the conference live, we’d like to share some of the most important things we learned with you.
1) Facebook gets a facelift:
After more than five years since the last major redesign, Facebook revealed a much cleaner and lighter look of its platform, going from the original blue to a modern white.
The new design moves the Watch, Marketplace, Groups and Messenger tabs to the top of the page. It also features the Stories section more prominently in the middle of the page, right above the newsfeed and all the posts.
Looking at the new design, it’s pretty clear that Facebook is shifting the focus away from the public newsfeed towards a more private experience via groups, stories, and messages.
2) Groups take the central stage:
Facebook wants to help you build meaningful connections with like-minded people by putting communities at the center of the platform.
To make it possible, Facebook is bringing a number of updates:
Inside the redesigned Groups tab, you will find a personalized activity feed from all the groups you have joined,
The new discovery tool will suggest relevant groups for you to join based on the interests you have,
More group recommendations will appear across the app like in the Marketplace, Gaming, and Watch tabs,
Members of health support groups will get a chance to pose anonymous questions to the administrators,
And members of gaming groups will be able to create new chat conversations within the groups for different topics.
By understanding this new direction, businesses can better prepare for the next years and adapt their strategies accordingly.
3) Messenger comes to desktop:
Facebook also announced the new Messenger Desktop application that will be released on both Windows and MacOS later this year.
As a user, you will be able to send messages and make video calls to your friends and family without having to open a web browser.
What I’m very curious about is whether Messenger Desktop will eventually become a Facebook ads placement too. If millions of people downloaded the app, it would definitely become super attractive to many advertisers who’d be eager to reach more of their audiences on desktop devices.
4) Messaging inboxes unite:
Talking of messaging, Facebook reaffirmed its plan to merge the backend of Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram inboxes.
What this means, is that in the future users will be able to chat with each other regardless of the application they’re on. For example, Messenger users will be able to send messages to their Instagram contacts and vice versa.
The decision also presents an enormous business opportunity: it will give companies, including Eddy Travels, an amazing chance to reach and build relationships with over 2.4 billion potential customers under one roof.
5) Messenger expands business tools:
Facebook introduced two new tools that will make it easier for businesses to engage and convert prospects into customers on Messenger: lead generation templates and appointment bookings.
With lead generation templates, you will be able to pre-qualify people by driving them to a simple Q&A experience on Messenger.
Facebook also recognized that booking an appointment is a crucial part of the messaging experience. The new appointment booking feature will make it easier than ever to reserve an appointment right inside a Messenger conversation.
With these changes, Facebook is taking steps to turn Messenger into a powerful marketing platform used throughout the entire customer journey - awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and even advocacy. I’m sure we’ll see many more business-related updates coming to Messenger soon.
6) WhatsApp prepares for more commerce:
More than 5 million businesses are already using WhatsApp to connect with their customers and sell products and services.
This will soon become even easier with business catalogs.
As a business, you will be able to create a catalog and showcase your products to people who interact with you on WhatsApp, encouraging them to buy from you.
And while it’s not possible to check out directly on WhatsApp yet, it feels like a natural next step that could turn the chat application into a true mobile commerce powerhouse.
7) Instagram adds new features:
Instagram is also gradually expanding its e-commerce features.
First, we learned that Instagram checkout will gradually roll out to more businesses.
Second, Instagram also presented its new shopping tags for creators. As an influencer, you will be able to tag the products you’re wearing in your photos, so that your followers could discover the items more easily and buy them directly on Instagram, without ever leaving the app.
At first sight, it seemed like any creator will soon be able to sell their products directly on Instagram. However, right now this feature is closed to a select number of influencers and only allows tagging products from businesses that are already part of the checkout beta.
Once these two features are open to all businesses worldwide, we will see a true explosion of e-commerce on Instagram.
8) Spark AR grows popular:
Since the last F8, over 1 Billion people have used augmented reality experiences across Facebook, Messenger, Portal, and Instagram.
To take it further, Facebook released a new Spark AR Studio version that will finally be supported by Windows devices too, making the AR content creation more accessible than ever.
9) More support for developers:
Facebook introduced the new Developer Community Platform to support developers.
It reminds of Stack Overflow designed specifically for Facebook - developers will be able to ask and answer questions, follow threads, and get the latest updates on Facebook’s platform status.
As the questions and answers will be indexed by Google, it would eventually become the go-to hub for all questions related to developing applications on Facebook.
As you can see, Facebook is trying to move towards a more private and personalized experience that will take place in groups, stories, and messaging conversations.
Together with that, they are also bringing more and more commerce-related updates to Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
We’re excited about these changes and we can’t wait to see how the platforms will evolve next!
Eddy Travels is a personal travel advisor powered by AI. With Eddy Travels you can find the best flight and hotel deals in your favorite chat app. The company is backed by Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed.