Are you up to date on changes from Facebook? Wondering which recent Facebook updates are important to marketers and business owners?
In this article, we explore Facebook changes that affect your marketing.
#1: FacebookAI Features
Meta AI Virtual Assistant
Meta is evolving its Meta AI virtual assistant to provide more detailed responses and accurate search result summaries. Meta AI is also being used to enhance experiences across Meta's products, like suggesting Facebook post comments or group chat topics and improving Marketplace recommendations.
Meta AI Reimagine
A new “reimagine” feature in Messenger and Instagram group chats lets friends collaboratively riff on AI-generated images. Meta is expanding access to its image generation capability “Imagine” through a new standalone website for hobbyists called Imagine with Meta AI.
Transparency around AI content remains important, so invisible watermarking to trace images will be added along with other responsible AI efforts.
Our Take: The new AI assistant features Meta is rolling out, like better memory and image creation, which could make using social media more fun. But leaning too hard into personalized AI risks watering down real human connections on social platforms. The goal should be bringing people together, not isolating them in bot-powered bubbles. As useful as suggestions from AI may be, they'll never replicate the spontaneity and humanity of posts from real people that spark discussion. Facebook marketing expert Allie Bloyd is of two minds – AI assistants may draw more people in, but augmented reality glasses feel invasive. Overall, while AI may improve parts of the social media experience, focusing too narrowly on it risks losing the communal, shared spirit that gives social media its richness. There's value in friction and the diversity real people provide.
Meta AI in Your Facebook Group
Facebook Groups started showing an invitation for members to join a waitlist for “Meta AI in your group.” Meta AI is an artificial intelligence that will help answer questions in Facebook Groups. If a question goes unanswered for over an hour, Meta AI will post a comment trying to summarize related previous discussions or share relevant posts from within that group. Group members or admins will be able to delete Meta AI comments or turn the feature off at any time. They'll also be able to customize Meta AI for their specific group.
Our Take: The integration of AI into Facebook groups has significant potential to improve group experiences if implemented thoughtfully. Summarizing previous discussions and surfacing relevant prior posts could greatly reduce repetitive questions and facilitate more meaningful dialogue. However, complex member questions demand nuanced human answers; misguided AI responses risk confusing or frustrating people seeking help. Safeguards like identifying AI content and empowering group owners to correct bad information are critical. Overall, AI assistance shows promise to enhance community knowledge-sharing but should remain supplemental. The most valuable Facebook group interactions will likely continue arising organically between real people united by shared interests, challenges, and goals. No bot can replicate the empathy, wisdom, and support such human connections cultivate.
Meta has started rolling out end-to-end encryption for all one-on-one chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook, providing users with enhanced privacy and security. This end-to-end encryption offers additional features beyond basic messaging, including the ability to edit sent messages, higher quality for shared media, and disappearing message functionality.
Our Take: Enabling end-to-end encryption by default for all Messenger conversations is a prudent move to secure sensitive user information better. Many people rely on Messenger for personal and professional discussions that can involve private details or data not intended for public consumption. Without robust encryption safeguards in place, it's unclear how vulnerable these exchanges might be to potential data breaches or hacking. This elevated level of built-in protection will likely encourage more users to leverage Messenger for a wider range of communications, whether one-on-one talks or group discussions, without worrying their privacy is at undue risk. While encryption doesn't make Messenger an absolutely foolproof venue for sharing extremely confidential information like financial data, it meaningfully strengthens integrity and trust for the countless daily interactions occurring on the platform.
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Notes in Messenger
Messenger is launching Notes in Messenger to let users post text prompts that will then be visible to all of their contacts within the app.
Our Take: The addition of Notes in Messenger mimics a popular Instagram feature aimed at younger audiences not flocking to Facebook. While its long-term viability remains uncertain, Notes enables easy creation of quick shares to briefly engage connections. Much like Stories, brevity seems key – despite room for lengthier text, only a snippet displays unless tapped. Strategically using Notes to tease content could successfully drive traffic optimally when tailored to existing follower interests. Still, many newly introduced capabilities flop soon after being launched. Until data demonstrates strong user adoption, particularly the critical youth demographic, viewing Notes as simply supplemental content with mild potential feels realistic. With feeds, private messages, audio rooms, and more, Messenger hardly lacks options. Notes expand the toolbox but may prove redundantly forgettable. Only consistent posting and response tracking will reveal if this feature meaningfully moves the needle or fades to background noise.
Cross-Platform Messaging for Facebook and Instagram
The integration that previously allowed cross-communication between Instagram and Facebook accounts is coming to an end. Beginning in mid-December 2023, Instagram users will no longer be able to chat or start new conversations with Facebook accounts on the Instagram platform. Any existing Instagram chats with Facebook accounts are read-only, meaning Instagram users cannot send new messages in these conversations. Facebook accounts also won't be able to view Instagram users' activity status or read receipts. To continue conversations with Facebook accounts after this change, Instagram users will need to initiate new chats from their Facebook account using Messenger or the Facebook app.
Our Take: Discontinuing cross-platform messaging between Facebook and Instagram reflects the reality that most users compartmentalize the two services. When browsing Instagram, connecting with other Instagram accounts via DM makes sense; Facebook likely doesn't come to mind. The exception could be businesses lacking an Instagram presence that advertise there anyway. For followers seeking to contact those pages, crossing to Facebook DMs was convenient. But for individual users with both profiles, keeping communication within each platform streamlines things and reduces confusion from merging inboxes and usernames. While technically advanced, cross-messaging created more complexity than value. Letting each platform retain its own discrete messaging ecosystem better aligns with user mental models. Though once touted, this integration clearly proved redundantly cumbersome.
#3: Facebook Video
Organic A/B Testing API
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Facebook is introducing an Organic A/B Testing API that allows Page owners to test up to four different variants of a new post with a subset of their audience to determine which version performs the best before publishing. The variants can be the same piece of content, like a video, but with different titles. Page admins choose optimization metrics like Reactions, Shares, Views, etc., and Facebook circulates the variant posts to parts of the intended audience. At the end of the test, the top-performing variant based on the selected metrics is automatically published to the full-page audience.
Our Take: Enabling organic A/B testing for Reels and videos through Facebook's API allows third-party social media management platforms to integrate the feature. This significantly expands testing capability, especially for agencies and marketers handling multiple clients. Rather than conducting time-consuming manual tests directly on Facebook, the API connection permits easier experimentation at scale to optimize performance. Though Facebook recently introduced organic testing natively, leveraging widely used existing tools that manage campaigns collectively saves huge effort. Marketers relying on third-party software should contact their provider to request this integration that facilitates more efficient content iteration. The capability to effortlessly test video content variants already demonstrates strong platform potential to amplify reach; expanded API functionality now unlocks smarter enhancement for creators of all sizes.
#4: Facebook Ads
Facebook is informing users that the Hobbies feature will soon be removed from the Facebook app.
Our Take: Removing Hobbies information from Facebook profiles isn't to significantly impact ad targeting, given the increased reliance on observed user behaviors. While interests listed in profiles offer helpful context, people's actual habits on the platform – accounts followed, content engaged with daily – better indicate current inclinations that translate to marketing appeal. Self-reported hobbies may misrepresent or fail to capture genuine areas of spending. After years of narrowing targeting capabilities, Meta now leverages advanced tracking to identify receptive audiences through organic activity patterns. Though interests can evolve over time, individual browsing and shopping choices made frequently in the app itself better spotlight relevant topics and products primed for promotion. For ad accuracy, real-time actions speak louder than profile fields that risk conveying outdated or inflated interests. So rather than view this update as limiting, the shift toward behavioral intelligence and away from potentially misleading claims means ads may find their way to more qualified eyes.
Facebook Lead Generation Campaigns
New lead-generation campaign objectives are being added to Facebook and Instagram ads that click through to WhatsApp chats, enabling more lead nurturing via messaging. Advertisers can also now offer coupons to people who complete Instagram Direct messaging Q&A flows for their ads, and a new “instant form” ad format lets people efficiently submit info to multiple businesses at once.
Our Take: The expanding lead generation capabilities for Facebook and Instagram ads unlock valuable options for businesses to connect with interested prospects. Allowing advertisers to build multi-message conversation flows for WhatsApp closes a frustrating gap for those relying on the globally popular platform. While promotions may not fit all industries, sending follow-up codes after form completion can powerfully incentivize action. However, the proposed ability to append extra opt-in checkboxes risks overstepping perceived relevance without context; people complete forms intentionally, not arbitrarily. Enabling Messenger calls from business pages also holds meaningful potential if paired strategically with complementary touchpoints. Overall, most additions meaningfully facilitate outreach if applied judiciously, not just enabled reflexively. As with any untested feature, vigorous experimentation matters most to determine actual campaign impact. However, intentionally consolidating channels through which leads can engage strengthens the ecosystem's continuity and expands the definition of a qualified follower.
Meta Advantage Automation
On the AI front, Meta is testing full automation of lead gen campaigns powered by Meta Advantage, reducing workload and costs. Through new integrations with Zapier and HubSpot, capturing leads from ads and managing them can be easier for businesses.
#5: Facebook Ecommerce
Meta has partnered with Amazon to enable customers to connect their Facebook and Instagram accounts with their Amazon account. This account linking allows users to shop directly within Meta's social apps, leveraging their saved Amazon payment methods and shipping addresses for expedited checkout. By integrating Amazon's ecommerce capabilities, Meta is providing its users with a more streamlined shopping experience without leaving its platforms. Users can now browse and purchase Amazon inventory seamlessly via Facebook and Instagram, benefiting from linked account conveniences.
Our Take: Allowing Facebook and Instagram users to connect their accounts to Amazon for streamlined checkout could meaningfully boost on-platform product sales. Past attempts at proprietary payment integration achieved limited adoption, but Amazon's universal recognition and immense purchase data facilitate frictionless buying within social apps. The valuable ability to apply Prime eligibility, preview shipping estimates, and strengthen post-click urgency leans into the e-commerce giant's proven strengths. While beneficial for marketers and advertisers, the ease risks impulsive overspending for deal-sensitive consumers. Still, reducing the steps between product discovery and transaction through a trusted third party stands to pay dividends across various industries. And for Amazon itself, tapping into social audiences forges a vital new channel beyond standalone website browsing. As online shopping behaviors continue shifting, this strategic alignment powers monetization while upholding user targeting preferences.
Allie Bloyd is the founder of Allie Bloyd Media, a leading training and consultancy specializing in social advertising for small businesses. She also hosts the Marketing Ink Podcast.
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