Facebook Introduces New Features; Updates Existing Ones
When people talk, brands must listen. In the absence of a listening and attentive ear, brands risk losing their value and place in society and become extinct. For all the wrong reasons, social media giant, Facebook has been in the news in recent months. There have been reports of security violations, invasion of privacy and selling of personal data to third parties. Users and brands felt violated and lost trust in the Facebook brand. Either Facebook was going to listen to its audience or chance being relegated to the annals of history as a ‘has been’ brand that refused to listen. Having listened to the people, Facebook has introduced new and exciting features and updates that will make your Facebook experience safer, pleasurable and worthwhile. Let’s briefly explore what has been cooking in the Facebook corridors in July.
Info and Ads Feature for Pages
This allows any user to view all the ads any Page is currently running– even if they aren’t following that Page or a member of the ad’s targeted audience. This will help with transparency, and it also gives users the ability to see the general history of a Page.
Cross post to Instagram
Here a user must upload a single image at a time or the cross post option won’t be available to them. This is an easy and nice benefit to have; allowing the user to maintain a presence in both platforms simultaneously. It is worthy to note that, because they are separate platforms, both Facebook and Instagram have different sets of best practices i.e., what applies to the one isn’t necessarily true with the other and vice versa. As a result, in this manner, a user cannot use this method to manage their profiles.
Facebook Tests Augmented Reality Ads
These ads currently allow users to use Facebook’s native in-app camera to see how products (like sunglasses or a certain lipstick colour) would look on themselves. For brands, augmented reality (AR) has immense selling potential. It doesn’t require heavy investment in tech as is the case with virtual reality. Many Facebook users cannot afford to invest in technology and, by adding this feature to their platform, Facebook Ads will make the platform even more competitive and effective, especially since users don’t have to leave the app to access the features.
Facebook Workplace for Good
This is a new, free version of Facebook’s Workplace that’s been created specifically with non-profit organisations and educational institutions in mind. This will help them to communicate and consolidate functions on Facebook more efficiently. It will be open to anyone with a Workplace account and will help users to create and manage their own online communities. Elements of this new feature include: HD video calls, instant messaging, high-tech and file-sharing integrations as well as chatbots that can help do everything from access payroll to timetables.
This will be welcome and good news for many NPOs. Pages that represent public figures or brands can now donate directly to non-profit fundraisers. A pilot test of this tool has already raised millions of dollars. Users can also now make recurring monthly donations to a non-profit fundraiser. This will increase non-profit donations across the board on-platform, which could make it a more appealing option than crowdsourcing sites.
In Prototype: Your Time on Facebook Tool
This tool will come in handy when users want to go through a digital detox. This prototype version will let users track how much time they spend on the mobile Facebook app. They’ll be able to see average time spent per day, and total time spent within a 7-day time span. It also will let users set a daily reminder that alerts them when they’ve reached a pre-set time on the app.
In Testing: Tools to Make Facebook Less Intrusive
This is an extension of the above feature and could result in users spending less time on Facebook. Additional features here have been designed to help reduce exposure to certain aspects of the platform. These will include a keyword snoozing button that lets users keep posts that contain certain keywords out of their feed. Snoozing certain keywords can keep certain content out of your feed, and out of your sight, for up to 30 days. Apparently, the social networking site is also working on Do Not Disturb button but this is yet to be confirmed by Facebook. These features likely won’t affect brands much, but if you notice that certain types of posts containing certain words are having non-existent reach, you might want to switch it up in case your followers are snoozing a certain keyword.
In Testing: Subscription Groups
Facebook is also testing a new paid subscription group model that will give admins the ability to create subscriber-only subgroups that grant members access (and exclusive content) for a monthly fee. Members can sign-up and manage the subscriptions to these groups through the mobile app, and they can leave the groups at any time. This new group model is being tested by a small number of group admins.
A word of caution though, as exciting as these developments and updates might be, do not expect them to be perfect the first time you try them out. While others are fully developed, some are prototypes in testing stage. So, Facebook user, would want you to try these out as much as possible and report back to them. If you have a pleasant experience and they serve a purpose, it is well and good. if not, then, Facebook has shown itself as a brand with an ear that listens and they will go back to the drawing board and develop new and better tools for a greater Facebook experience.
Let’s engage! What do you think of these new features? Do you have access to any of them yet? Share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments below.