It felt quite surreal to be invited to spend the morning with the world's biggest and most influential social platform to celebrate 15 years in existence. It's hard to believe, but Facebook has been around for 15 years.
Some people can’t remember a world before it and, if you were at the event, you could be forgiven for thinking it’ll be around long after we’re gone. Looking to the future, Nunu Ntshingila, head of Facebook Africa, took us through the four Cs – which are key trends directing their business for the next few years.
We’ve been seeing how important content has become and Facebook will continue enabling this, especially between brands and users. Content has always been king, but since the power to create is literally in the hands of each of us, it is far more important.
Of course, Facebook will want to drive how content is curated and distributed, especially for relevancy, allowing for bespoke servings.
We can’t argue that Facebook reaches far and wide but, ironically, more and more of its users want to feel a sense of connection to the community around them. This is what Facebook engenders so well.
Whether it’s for the local market, the church group, your favourite brand or, here in South Africa, the neighbourhood community policing forum, Facebook allows for information to be shared and discussions to be had. Future platforms aim to enhance this and, hopefully, help us build more connected communities.
When you look at the stats, you know why Facebook wants to continue driving conversations. Messenger is the second most popular app on iOS (after Facebook), while WhatsApp and Instagram Messaging have also grown phenomenally over the past few years.
*Source: Andrew Hutchinson, SocialMediaToday, 1 May 2019 from F8 conference.
The big drive will be expanding on how businesses and people can converse far easier. There are already 20 billion messages sent between people and businesses worldwide on Messenger each month, so it’s hard to imagine this increasing drastically, but if it will get us better service, decrease time spent resolving queries and provide a more efficient platform to shop, then I’m all for it.
The subject of shopping is, of course, the fourth trend discussed at FB@15. When full PayPoint integration lands then you’ll have very little reason to leave Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp.
It makes you wonder what will happen to the brands’ e-commerce platforms.
Thankfully, us South Africans won’t have to grapple with it right now as most of it will be trialled in America first. The upside is that when we finally have the function, it should provide seamless user experiences, bringing each of us closer to our favourite brands and them closer to us.
Technology-driven engagement is what most brands are embracing, some better than others, ultimately, it will be for agencies, brands and platforms to ensure that this is people-centred – serving the most relevant and interactive content.
From what the Facebook team showed us, they will continue to build the bridge between us and brands, futureproofing themselves to be more relevant than ever.