The Future of Facebook
Regardless of how you look at it, Facebook is one of the most successful companies of all time. Despite only being in existence for less than 20 years it is already one of the five biggest companies on the planet with a total estimated worth of about $ 450 billion and more daily users than any other social media platform.
With that being said, it is important to keep in mind that July 2018 marked the first time in three years that the company failed to meet user and revenue predictions. Likewise, the 185 million users in Canada and the United States combined remained flat for the first part of the year, and overall additions were at their lowest point since 2011. In some ways, this is hardly a surprise as Facebook can only grow so far after a certain point, and the scandals that the company has been involved in haven't been much help. Finally, Facebook front man Mark Zuckerberg had previously expressed his opinion that the changes the company was making to improve its News Feed would naturally reduce overall growth as well.
Ad space to spare: Nevertheless, the fact remains that of the three billion people who currently have access to Facebook nearly 75 percent use it on a regular basis which means that devoting time to Facebook-based advertising is still going to be a worthwhile value proposition. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to target an individual group or a wide swath of the market, Facebook has the data to make this type of transaction a reality. In fact, thanks to its mobile app, Facebook is actually the largest overall seller of display advertising in direct competition to Google’s previous hold on this position.
Bots: Facebook recently began allowing companies to create bots which are automated lines of code that can be used from within the Facebook Messenger app to allow users to do a wide variety of activities such as find out the weather and even buy everything from food to flowers. The bot interface is surprisingly straightforward, and many of the bots react in much the same way a person would, albeit with a list of responses that are programmed by the developer so the conversation rarely gets off topic.
For example, the bot for 1800 Flowers provides you with the opportunity to buy flowers as well as reach out to customer support directly. You can enter all of your relevant delivery details as well as additional options. While more and more companies are releasing their own apps, there is still room in the space for a number of stalwarts which will reap the rewards of a new community when things ultimately settle down. While there is certainly nothing stopping users from performing these functions outside of the app, the fact that it doesn’t require interacting with any unique interfaces should be seen as a significant benefit.
Increasing reliance on video: While there is no denying that both watching and sharing video is extremely popular on Facebook, the site is currently working to ensure that this is an even larger part of the overall experience. In fact, it is now possible to stream live video from virtually any device, even a wide variety of drones.
The fact that Facebook can tell who else is in a picture with you is nothing new, what is new is that soon its software will be capable of recognizing virtually anything that happens inside the picture in question thanks to advanced artificial intelligence algorithms. This will ultimately let users search any of their uploaded pictures using general search terms regardless of whether or not they tagged the photo with the identifier in the first place. This technology is based on the same deep-learning software that powers Google Photos which means this service might be coming to Facebook sooner rather than later.
This technology will ultimately be used to help categorize all of the live video that Facebook anticipates hosting in the near future. This means users will eventually be able to do a search for their favorite sports team, for example, and pull up all of the live video that is currently being streamed that has to do with the team in question.
Facebook VR: Facebook is already heavily invested in the virtual reality space as it owns the Oculus Rift, one of the premier virtual reality systems on the market, as well as a portion of the Gear VR which is developed by Samsung for use with Smartphone technology. While the VR market hasn't exactly taken the world by storm since its reintroduction in 2015, Zuckerberg has already indicated that he pictures virtual reality to be something that people use to socialize with each other like never before. In fact, the Oculus group is already working on a wide variety of ways to help make socializing in a virtual space feel more realistic by using high-tech cameras to study the body language of an individual who is moving through a virtual space.
Facebook Shop: While you may not see people using Facebook to purchase items much now, the Facebook shop button is anticipated to see a widespread rollout in early 2019 so it will likely become far more common in the coming months. As the name implies, this addition to the Facebook business page tab will allow users to sell a wide variety of items directly from the page which promises to make directing traffic to your wares a more straightforward experience than ever before.
This makes it even more important to have a good idea of not only what your homepage looks like but your collection page as well. Finding one instance of missing pictures or placeholder text is enough to ruin the brand message you are working so hard to cultivate. What’s worse, you run the risk of missing out on potentially viable SEO optimization options.
It is also possible to integrate your Facebook shop with a variety of existing online stores including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify.
Ads are still important: While not as much of a sure thing as they once were, traditional Facebook ads are sure to continue to be viable as long as a large portion of the planet’s population continues to use the site on a daily basis. This is useful for a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that it allows you to target specific products which, in turn, allow you to determine which types of ads are the most important for your target audience. Additionally, this will ensure that if a customer sees a specific product that they like they will be able to click on it and be taken to that item specifically.