This week, Facebook will hold its annual F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco. Much like Apple’s WDC, this event has become the time of year when Facebook announces the biggest changes on their platform. Given the 800MM+ users on Facebook and the $2 billion plus in advertising spent on the site, that means F8 is in turn a must watch event for Brand Marketers.
So what should Brand Managers be on the lookout for this week? Based on rumors and leaks, it looks like there should be at least three announcements of interest:
Mini News Feed:
When Facebook is testing new features on the site, they occasionally leak out to the general public. One such escape into the wild was the “mini news feed” that appears on the top right hand corner of the screen, following a user throughout the site. This change is pretty significant because it has the potential of changing how people interest on the site, increasing engagement as updates become even more in your face. This has the potential to be a win for brands for two reasons. First, there is a good chance that Sponsored Stories will appear here, which only increase the visibility of that ad format. Second, Brand Page updates will also appear in this feed, increasing the chance that consumers will actually interact with the content your brand publishes.
The only area where MySpace still had an edge on Facebook was in entertainment, particularly music. That looks to change this week with the launch of Facebook Music. Apparently Facebook will be partnering with at least 5 music services including Spotify to launch a platform similar to Facebook Games. Much like the way Facebook uses game developers to do the heavy lifting on creating the games, Facebook will be the front end / dashboard for these music services. Given what Facebook already knows about a users interests / tastes, this will be an interesting angle for music discovery. It will also be interesting to see how deeply Facebook embeds their Credits system into the music services. Regardless, music is one of the most popular marketing channels of brands and there will be immediate opportunities for a multitude of music promotions with Facebook now.
Facebook iPad App:
TechCrunch confirmed the news of this launch several weeks ago but this one is way overdue. Tablets are a great viewing platform for Facebook and its been a glaring miss for both that no app existed. The launch of app itself doesn’t really create any new opportunities for Facebook but it does create another channel for increased engagement on the platform.