This week marked Facebook’s Annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco. A number of new features and the 10-year Facebook plan were announced. Let’s take a look at what was announced and how these announcements will shape the future for brands and Facebook users.

1. MEET THE BOTS

“We think you should be able to message a business like you would message a friend” – Mark Zuckerberg

We’ve been hearing about bots nonstop since Microsoft’s bot framework launch two weeks ago, now Facebook has entered the stage with its new Messaging Platform for brands. Messaging Platform aims to help publishers and businesses communicate with users on Messenger with automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content, and experiences.

What are Bots? Artificial Intelligence tools that send live, automated messages or images to FB messenger.

Who’s onboard? CNN can give you news updates and 1-800 Flowers lets you send flowers with personalised messages.

What’s in it for Facebook? Facebook also announced that it will charge businesses to send re-engagement messages to users who have already started a conversation with the brand.

Why it Matters? Messaging platforms have been on our radar for a long time now. This is the first big opportunity for brands to interact with consumers in a place where they are already spending their time. AI is coming sooner that we think, so we may as well start exploring these platforms now.

2. VR FOR ALL

Facebook has been serious about VR for a while now, but now they have taken it one step further with a new open-source Surround 360 camera rig. The rig features minimal post-processing for content creators and is designed to be portable and durable.

Why it matters? By making it open-source, anyone can build their own 360 camera and produce 4K, 6K…. even 8K video. There has never been a better time for brands to create VR engaging and interactive experiences for consumers.

What else? Touch controllers for Oculus Rift will be shipping later this year, making VR even more interactive. The controllers will enhance VR experiences even further by allowing users to actually touch and manipulate objects.

What’s Next? Zuckerberg has his eyes on Social VR. Teasers included multi-player features and an Oculus VR selfie stick. When this available, you can bring all of your friends on holiday with you by sharing VR footage from anywhere in the world. He also discusses ditching VR headsets for normal eyewear ten years down the line.

3. FACEBOOK LIVE API

Facebook launched a Live API that will allow developers to live stream to Facebook from any app or device. Broadcast methods now include multi-camera and drones.

What else? A tiny live video specific camera was also announced, letting Facebook users and brands alike live stream even higher quality content.

Why it matters? This is expected to bring live video mainstream and publishers like Buzzfeed and Livestream are already on board. Live video can make brands seem even more authentic especially to millennial audiences.

4. VIDEO TAKEOVER

A new API allows 3rd party developers the ability to publish video profile pictures to Facebook. Big players like Instagram, Vine, boomerang and MSQD are already working on this offering.

What else? Facebook will also be able to tag friends automatically in your videos with upgrades to image recognition and AI platforms.

Why it matters? Video has bet big on video, and so far, it’s working. Basic video upgrades are being developed alongside VR. Imagine when these features are merged… VR profile videos and live VR video could be next.

5. ECOSYSTEM UPDATES

And last but not least… Facebook has created tools to build out the basic ecosystem even further.

Account Kit: The “Login with Facebook” feature is already extremely popular but was only available for users with Facebook accounts. Now this is not the case, as Account kit streamlines the account signup and login process for users without Facebook accounts.

Save to Facebook: Facebook’s “Save for Later” feature has been around for four-years now so it’s been upgraded to “Save to Facebook”, a button that allows users to save content from third-party sites to read or watch later in the Saved tab on Facebook.

Instant Articles: Facebook’s Instant Article platform has now been released for use by all publishers. Since launch, Facebook says posts in Instant Articles have logged 20% more opens and a 70% lower abandonment rate than other content.

This week marked Facebook’s Annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco. A number of new features and the 10-year Facebook plan were announced. Let’s take a look at what was announced and how they will shape for future for brands and Facebook users.

By Maddie Wirthman – Client Solutions Manager, Ansible