"A decade ago, you wouldn't have expected a social media site to be a leader in digital innovation, but Facebook remains one of the most dynamic tech companies around today-and its strides are affecting businesses and marketers everywhere," writes Jayson Demers in an article in Forbes.
As 2015 comes to a close, what innovations can we expect from Facebook in the new year? Demers presents seven new things to expect from Facebook in 2016.
1. Virtual Reality.
"It's no secret that Facebook acquired Oculus, the leading competitor in the recent resurgence of virtual reality (VR) technology, earlier this year," writes Demers.
Expect more 360 panoramas on Facebook. And think about how your company might use virtual reality to communicate with your social network.
2. Instant Articles.
"Facebook actually released Instant Articles earlier this year, but only to a limited selection of publishers. Designed to keep users in the app for as long as possible and maximize exposure for publishers who might otherwise lose traffic to social media tire kickers, Instant Articles was theoretically a mutually beneficial feature that served as a win for everyone; readers get faster content, publishers get more readers, and Facebook gets more users to stick around," writes Demers.
Expect Facebook to do some redesign of Instant Articles to make it more robust and to increase inbound traffic. It should also become available to more publishers.
3. Facebook M.
"With digital assistants like Siri and Cortana already hardened in the mainstream, Facebook is hoping to get a piece of the action with Facebook M, a Messenger-based digital assistant," writes Demers.
How is Facebook M. different than Siri? While Siri is entirely digital, Facebook M. relies on a team of human assistants operating in the background to "handle more complex or ambiguous tasks."
4. Advertising Changes.
"Facebook's advertising platform hasn't stopped changing since it first emerged more than a decade ago. The platform saw a number of updates in 2015, including a "call now" button, carousel-style ads, and mobile ad management," writes Demers.
Expect more Pinterest-style social/e-commerce hybrid functions and a more robust ad management platform.
5. Organic Reach.
We've all noticed how much Facebook's organic reach has dropped. "Though Facebook's official response to this objective decrease is to improve overall user experience by only showing the most relevant content, it's not hard to read between the lines," writes Demers. Low organic reach makes paid advertising more necessary, which means more money for Facebook.
Expect even greater decreases in organic reach in 2016.
6. Customer Service.
"Facebook is making a big push for its Messenger app, particularly for businesses. Already, businesses can harness the power and convenience of Facebook Messenger to reach certain members of their audiences or respond to inbound inquiries, but this functionality is somewhat limited for now," writes Demers.
Expect more functions from Facebook's Messenger app in the new year.
7. Greater Video Emphasis.
"It's no secret that users are craving more and more video content. Apps like Periscope and Meerkat are surging in popularity, and mainstream apps like Facebook and Twitter have already included auto-playing videos in news feeds," writes Demers.
Facebook will release a live streaming video function, with Periscope-like functionality. Expect Facebook to prioritize video content heavily, "which means it could see a major boost in organic visibility."