5things marketers should know about the new Lessons learned at F8 and observations on its social media aftermath. Prepared by:
On September 22, a few of us from WDCW and United Future hitthe streets of San Francisco to join a large herd of nerds gathering at Facebook’s F8 Developer’s Conference.We learned that Facebook is making a lot of changes. Some pretty exciting ones. And the jury is still out on others ...What we do know for sure is that most of these changes will have atremendous impact on brands that leverage Facebook for their social media marketing efforts (e.g., just about everyone).The next ﬁve pages address what we ﬁnd to be the most interestingopportunities to come out of F8 and the conversations that ensued.
1 It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Facebook “Gestures” take brands beyond the “Like.”Nobody can argue with the success of Facebook’s “Like” button, which inone year, has become a standard addition to any site or piece of contentworth sharing on the Web.But to some, the “Like” has started to lose its meaning and marketers arestruggling to deﬁne its true value. Over time, people have grown morereluctant to “Like” content because of the implied endorsement.Enter “Gestures,” the next step in integrating Facebook with the rest ofthe Web. “Gestures” are actions deﬁned by developers to describe whatpeople are actually doing on Facebook. So instead of just liking a song ormovie, you can tell your friends you’re “Listening” to a song or “Watching” amovie. Simply put, Facebook is integrating verbs into their languageoutside of “Like”... and “Poke,” which seems to be on its way out.In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “We’re going to make it so you can connectto anything you want in any way you want ... you don’t have to ‘Like’ a movie,you can just ‘Watch’ a movie, which is pretty good because you’ve probablywatched about 10 times as many movies as you’d want to like on Facebook.”“Gestures” will have major implications on how fans interact with your brandand how you understand their behavior. Brands that can successfullymove beyond building connections (“Likes”) and instead start cultivatingconversations, will have the best opportunity for growth and engagement.
2 Facebook wants you to spend more of your life online. Real-time “Serendipity” will keep you hooked on what friends share.In addition to “Gestures,” changes to Facebook’s Open Graph will havea tremendous impact on the amount of content a user can consume in asingle session.At the core of this change is the new Ticker feature, a stream that allowsyou to automatically publish “lightweight” content from apps and othersocial interactions and, conversely, see what your friends are doing inreal-time. Facebook calls this “Real-time Serendipity.”Prior to Ticker, there was no way to publish this type of content withoutposting to your wall, running the risk of being hidden by friends who don’twant to see things they aren’t interested in, like your daily horoscope.Now, you can browse your newsfeed, but also see what your friends aredoing right then and there, like “Listening to Led Zeppelin on Spotify” or“Watching Alice In Wonderland on Netflix.” Better yet, you can click on theiractivity and join in the experience with them via Facebbook chat.Facebook’s strength against competitors like Google has always been theamount of time people spend on site and in turn, potential advertisingopportunities. With Real-time Serendipity and Ticker, Facebook is hopingto keep users on for longer and provide a richer experience, which willresult in more unique advertising opportunities. Image Credit: Jezebel.com
3 Real-time interaction with friends means real-time advertising solutions. The next generation of social ads are coming soon.In late January 2011, Facebook introduced a new spin on social advertisingwith Sponsored Stories, a unique ad unit that allows brands to advertise toyour friends when you interact with their page or app on Facebook.To date, Sponsored Stories have gained in popularity but have been limitedto a few units that tell you when a friend “Likes” a brand, installs an app,or plans on attending an event, as well as a few others related primarily toapplication interaction.However, with the improvements to the Open Graph and introduction ofverbs to the Facebook vocabulary, Sponsored Stories will play a wholenew role as a real-time advertising solution with implications for brandsseeking real-time results, such as broadcast television shows.Think about it. The best way to extend beyond your existing customerbase and grow your brand is through word of mouth. This is theopportunity that improvements to the Open Graph and subsequent adinnovations will provide to brands on Facebook.In the next couple of months we anticipate seeing a lot of changes in theadvertising opportunities on Facebook, from improvements in SponsoredStories to Graph Targeting (advertising based on what people post). Infact, we’ve already seen that Facebook is testing new ads, such as thisexpandable unit uncovered by Mashable. Image Credit: Mashable.com
4 Get a better understanding of your reach. Facebook’s People Talking About metric helps you understand how content is shared.While the improvements to Facebook’s user experience and advertisingplatform are exciting, something that hasn’t been discussed much yet isimprovements in Facebook Insights, the social networks internal analyticsengine.Of particular interest is the recently announced “People Talking About”metric that will measure user-initiated activity related to a page, includingposting to a wall, liking, commenting, sharing a post or piece of content,answering a question posed to fans, mentioning a page or checking in at aphysical location associated with a page.According to a report from Mashable, other new metrics, which aredesigned for administrators of brand and media pages, include “Friends ofFans” and “Weekly Total Reach.” Friends of Fans is the number of friendsyour fans have, and weekly total reach will assess how many total peoplehave posted something about your page, giving you an idea of how yourpage elements are being shared “virally.”Facebook Insights also will begin offering more data around speciﬁcupdates. Facebook will list the user’s last 500 posts and count the totalnumber of engaged users -- people talking about it and virally.To some this will be seen as the missing link for Facebook, since up untilnow, sharing was behind closed doors to brands due to privacy concerns.
5 Self expression for brands. The new timeline has big promise for the future of brand pages.When Facebook announced Timeline at F8, the ﬁrst question to beasked at the following Facebook Pages Q&A was: “When will thenew user experience be available for brands?”While Facebook has no immediate plans to roll out Timeline for brands,both because it wants to test the user experience for consumers andbecause it doesn’t want to alienate brands that have worked hard tobuild a presence and applications for Facebook Pages as they standnow. However, there is no denying the potential Timeline holds forbrands moving forward.From the real estate offered by new Facebook Covers (the largebillboard at the top of the page) to the more visual layout, Timelinewill give brands the opportunity to “make the logo bigger” and providefans with a more sensory experience. It also will make applicationsdeveloped by brands more front and center for users to discover.On the ﬂip-side, Timeline also will make brands more accountable fortheir social actions and interactions, since they will be documentedand more easily accessible to consumers.Mashable has compiled a great collection of initial Timeline forBrands designs, which you can ﬁnd here. Image Credit: Mashable.com
Thanks for reading. Share your thoughts, questions and comments with @wdcwagency or on facebook.com/wdcwagency. Written by Justin Johnson / Digital Strategist • Follow him @justinmjohnson