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5 Big Things Marketers Need to Know From Facebook's Developer Conference

Social giant unveils intriguing mobile and video innovations

Retailers like Everlane get new mobile-social capabilities.

Facebook is revealing its latest technology to the world this week at its annual Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco. And while the show is geared at developers, a good chunk of the news should apply to brands and publishers that regularly use the platform, particularly with mobile messaging and video.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, led off his keynote by revealing Share Sheet, which is designed to create more attractive, predictable and targeted mobile posts. In theory, brands should be able to transfer image-based information from their proprietary apps into Zuckerberg's social system.

"Today, there are more than a dozen ways of sharing from an app into Facebook," he said. "People want to be able to share into messages and groups and not be surprised about what it will look like."

Here are four more interesting items Facebook announced today that could have significant implications for social-minded marketers.

Facebook Messenger

  • Facebook is revamping its Messenger app that could put it in direct competition with big names like Snapchat, Kik and WeChat.
  • David Marcus, vp of messaging products at Facebook showed off how brands like Everlane will start using Messenger as a one-on-one communication tool, hinting at what Facebook's e-commerce play looks like.
  • When someone buys something on Everlane, a Facebook Messenger button shows up on the page. Clicking on the button triggers the retailer to send a receipt to people with their shipping information.
  • Shoppers can then see a map with their shipping information and change their order.

GIFs

  • The other big part of the new Messenger will turn the app into a hub for brands to push out content directly to their followers. Up until now, publishers and brands haven't been able to share GIFs and animated content on Facebook.
  • More than 40 companies—including ESPN, Imgur, Giphy and The Weather Channel—have developed apps for Messenger. A Weather Channel rep explained in an email: "You can take a photo with an overlay of the current weather conditions in the location where the photo was taken."

Mobile app installs

  • Mobile app installs are a staple of Facebook's ad business, and Zuckerberg said that his company had driven 3.5 billion app installs to date.
  • Building on that momentum, the social site launched Facebook Analytics to give developers and marketers more information about their apps, like when people open apps and what they look at.
  • Zulily has tested the new app tool and found that more women than men add things to their shopping cart. So, the fashion deals app ramped up on products geared at men.

360-degree clips

  • The social giant launched new 360-degree videos—dubbed spherical videos—that are shot with 24 cameras. If you've used Google Street View, the experience should be similar.
  • The idea is to get publishers who are already posting videos to the site to think about different ways that video is watched, much like the company's Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets.
  • Facebook also launched a embeddable video player, which will make it easier for consumers and brands to embed clips onto websites. It's the latest step in Facebook's huge bet on competing with YouTube.
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