Back in February, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published his revised vision statement for The Social Network, he made specific note of the need to encourage both 'civic engagement' and 'community inclusion' as key areas of focus for the platform moving forward. Part of this, of course, is events, getting people out into their communities to meet, which is why Facebook’s been putting increased focus on event promotion and placement within their apps this year.
The next phase of this is the re-launch of Facebook’s dedicated events app – which, unsurprisingly given the context, has been renamed ‘Facebook Local’, and will aim to showcase not only community events and meet-ups happening in your immediate vicinity, but also bars, restaurants and attractions within your area.
Facebook launched its dedicated events app last October, but it never really took off. In order to give it a boost, and to better align it with the company’s wider mission, this new version will bring focus to a wider array of things happening around you, along with what your friends are interested in, in order to boost engagement.
As you can see from the above screenshots, the app gives you the option to filter your search down to restaurants, cafes, bars or attractions, along with nearby listings. In addition, you can also see what your friends are doing (or have registered an interest in), and there’s also an option to view what events are coming up at specific locations or from Pages you follow on Facebook.
That connection is important to note – part of the app’s power is that it pulls data from Facebook, so it’s using Facebook’s already established graph, helping it better identify the events you and your peers will like. If the app takes off, that could also make Facebook events an even bigger consideration for marketers – if users start referring to the app to find out the latest happenings, you’ll obviously want your events to be showing up in the listings.
As noted, since Zuckerberg’s revised mission statement, Facebook’s been putting increased emphasis on events. They added a new, dedicated ‘Camera Effects’ option for events back in August, and rolled out ‘City Guides’ to help users better locate attractions and functions in any city earlier in the year. They’ve even been testing a dedicated ‘Events’ tab within the main function bar for some users.
Facebook Local adds another layer to this push, and while it may be difficult for Facebook to get users to download, and use, another, dedicated app, if successful, it could become an important platform for those brands looking to better promote their upcoming functions, and local businesses, in order to capitalize on local audience interests.