Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, leaving no room for outdated social media platforms – Facebook being no exception. Alongside catering to the trends behind consumer behaviour, one of the ways that this social media giant keeps up with and sometimes surpasses current innovations lies in its collaboration with other companies. Collaborations offer a unique opportunity to create something new for viewers, with the added bonus of Facebook’s scores of data and active users. This is especially valuable for video advertisers where short-form and live have given way to digestible, entertaining and seemingly more ‘authentic’ content. For the fourth and final installment of our spotlight on tech giants, here are the consumer trends behind Facebook’s innovations.
1. Content à la Carte: Facebook X Apple, Amazon and Samsung TV
In early 2017, Facebook teamed up with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV to allow users to watch and scroll video content on a new, Facebook-launched app. Facebook described how “with the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommend videos based on your interests”. And in an effort to make this app even more convenient, smartphone users will be able to keep a video playing in a pop-out window while they continue to scroll through their news feed.
Convenient, on demand access to content has created a fragmented audience, making it challenging for media brands to target and retain viewers. The partnerships established by Facebook cater to the 51% of global consumers that watch videos online at least weekly.
2. Conversational Commerce: Facebook Messenger branded chatbots
In May 2017, online gambling brand Paddy Power announced that it would be releasing a Facebook Messenger chatbot, in collaboration with platform provider Onionsack. It allows customers to access their betting account, check balances, and place wagers, all through the Messenger app. Customers can also use the chatbot to receive personalised sporting updates through push notifications, as well as access Paddy Power’s array of videos, podcasts and blogs. This platform can also translate the natural language of written messages into executed bets.
Brands like KLM the airline, Masterpass and Burberry have also adopted Messenger chatbots. This is useful for delivering different types of content to engage the user in a warm and personal brand experience. With a global average of 41% claiming that interaction with a chatbot has encouraged them to make a purchase, we see that they are also an effective sales tool.
3. Performative Perfection: Rimmel’s Facebook Camera Effects
In August 2017, make-up giant Rimmel launched interactive filters on Facebook’s Camera Effects platform. The in-app camera uses augmented reality to take users through four different eyeliner looks. To activate it, all the user has to do is say “wow”. The user can then share their new look on their Facebook Story. According to research by Rimmel, 55% of its audience use Facebook for make-up inspiration, so it hopes this app will catch users’ attention.
Currently, 23% of consumers use AR apps on a monthly basis, which we forecast to reach 42% by 2025. And as of July this year, with a reported two billion users on Facebook, the share-ability of such branded AR applications are likely to be a driver of its popularity.
4. Peer Power: the Watch tab
Also in August 2017, Facebook announced a new streaming service Watch tab for original video content. Partners will produce media exclusively for Facebook, who will keep 45% of ad break revenue. The platform will deliver original programs to its first users (think Netflix originals), and feature personalized recommendations in categories such as “Most Talked About”, “What’s Making People Laugh” and “Shows Your friends Are Watching”. By connecting directly with a user’s list of Facebook friends and the television shows they are enjoying, it allows for a more connected viewing experience. Users can also engage with other dedicated viewers by using the Watchlist – a feature that allows the user to subscribe for new episodes of their favorite shows and connect with other fans while watching.
Our trend Peer Power usually speaks to the influence of consumers that shape the power balance between brand and customer. The Watch tab prioritises recommendations based on what’s popular, suggesting that our peers are becoming sources of authority on which we base our entertainment choices. And our own research corroborates – we found that 66% of people agree or strongly agree that they watch suggested content shared on social networks. By facilitating this behavior, Facebook has expanded from a community platform to a major player in content showing constant evolution alongside its user base.