People considering Facebook as a social network for unserious chats and conversations are obviously reading an old playbook. Far beyond what other people may have considered the simple evolution of Facebook, it is gradually bringing a lot of media channels, tools and marketing strategies into the thriving online community. only last year Facebook generally consolidated its leadership as the king of mobile with Facebook Inc. claiming ownership of four of the world’s top ten most downloaded apps of 2015 – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
While most people were writing off Facebook with the evolution of mobile and the entrance of a million other mobile apps, Facebook’s rapid embrace of mobile technology and the ability to integrate features and buy-out prospective competitors were key to the brand coming out stronger by the end of 2015. With the Facebook Inc. being able to bridge user experience across its propriety apps and platforms, and the ability to use intelligent analytics to track, understand and predict user behaviour, the social network is set to become a powerful media giant and darling of brands and entrepreneurs alike. So when the Facebook announced its F8 Developer conference, not only developers were awaiting ground breaking announcements, from advertisers, agencies and partners everyone was waiting to understand the implications around the digital media landscape and its implications especially for Africa.
Early in the month of April, while representing Insight Communications, I was privileged to join about thirty-four other people across Africa representing top media agencies for the Blueprint Live Training in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim of bring together several agency ambassadors in order to build and foster a medium for interaction, engagement and education especially as media agencies are in direct interface with advertising agencies who are presently making important decisions about whether to invest in digital media advertising, the metrics to track and how to understand the behavior of customers in today’s connected world. It was a weekend of fun, engaging discussions, exciting competition and sumptuous meals but I will not bother you with that. In combining learning from these two events, here are the insights and leanings for publishers, advertisers and entrepreneurs.
Follow Reach and Frequency, not Likes and Shares
As Facebook dominated the social networking world and people were joining in droves; people chased friend and fans counts while brands and celebrities were busy amassing followers and chasing likes and share likes it was the holy grail of social media advertising. This gave rise to click-baiting, a whole underground industry that shows off click based metrics at the expense of accuracy and effectiveness.
The thrust of Facebook advertising is now encouraged to focus on Reach and Frequency which is also the standard metrics guiding other traditional media channels like Television and Radio.
The Launch of Facebook Live
Facebook has steadily staggered the release of Facebook Live over the past few months. Though it had released the feature to select public figures August last year, it has now not only released the feature to select people on their personal profiles and then to all verified Facebook pages it has definitely put all other social network on notice. The brand has also released APIs. The Facebook Live API allows developers, advertisers and publishers to join forces to build immersive and interactive live video experiences on Facebook using Desktop Apps, Drones and Cameras.
.. and a Slew of other Features
While the 2016 F8 Global Developer Conference was for developers, it had a lot of implications for users, content creators, advertisers and startups. There was the launch of the Facebook Analytics for Apps which helps businesses understand how people who use their app impacts their business. It has also included new features that allow specific hashtag and quoting features, Facebook will soon be able to save and archive products, pictures and other interesting updates in one place.
Facebook is networking Africa:
In a bid to reach out to the emerging markets, grow its user base and advertising revenue, Facebook is deepening its roots in emerging markets with Africa being a major focus., Facebook is working offline to network directly with governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders in order to empower content creators, marketing agencies, educate and re-orientate brands and corporations. Facebook has also created an online leaning platform in order to help entrepreneurs, media planners and advertisers deepen knowledge.
What are you going to do about it?
The future of marketing engagement will not more be about the abundance of technology tools and devices, it is more about social media and sociology. The tools may change and Facebook is learning and teaching the world that it doesn’t matter the kind of business you do, the kind of products and industry you play, keep focusing on the customers; as long as you are focusing on the customers, you are more likely to suceed