Facebook has updated their IQ Insights blog, which is their home for their various research and data reports, looking at user and consumer behaviors and trends.
The new look aligns with their recent update of their advertising blog, and puts more emphasis on more specific insights and information, with reports sorted by vertical and focus.
But there are also a couple of interesting additions. Most of the content is the same, it's just been re-categorized, but they've also added a new 'Tools and Resources' segment designed to make it easier for business users to connect with their various guides and options.
In the listing, you can get direct access to Facebook's 'Audience Insights', an under-rated analytics tool which they first released back in 2014. You can also click through to their new 'Creative Hub', which enables prospective advertisers to test out the platform's various ad options before allocating any spend, or you can connect to Facebook's Blueprint education courses, while there are also links to more information on Facebook and Instagram for business, specifically.
All of these resources have existed for some time, but are definitely worth checking out, if you haven't already.
But there's also a new section that looks to further broaden people's minds as to the cross-border potential of Facebook for business.
In 'Cross Border Insights', Facebook has provided a new tool which enables business users to get more insight into key international market opportunities by entering their location and vertical.
First, Facebook gives you some basic stats on your location, in terms of where it ranks for various metrics.
You then choose your industry and your campaign objective, and click 'Find Opportunities'
Facebook will then give you an overview of the best international opportunities for those parameters, with potential reach and competition stats.
It's an interesting way to highlight Facebook's potential in this regard - which is actually a key element Facebook has been working to bring more focus to for some time.
In September last year, Facebook released a new International Handbook to help businesses "go global" with Facebook. The guide outlines all the ways brands can use the platform to expand their opportunities across borders, with specific regional market stats and insights.
At the same time, they also launched International Lookalike Audiences which enable brands to reach people in other countries who match the traits and behaviors of their existing customers.
This is all part of Facebook's wider mission to "connect the world", which, in one sense, refers to literally connecting the world through initiatives like internet.org and their Aquila drone ships, seeking to bring web connectivity to all regions.
One of Facebook's Aquila drone plans that will help connect remote regions to the internet
And while the goals of those initiatives are generally altruistic - or at least framed as such - the side benefit of connecting the world is that you're also connecting more users to Facebook, boosting the company's business interests.
This potential conflict is what's seen Indian regulators balk at letting Facebook control internet access through such initiatives, due to concerns Facebook could simply block all non-Facebook platforms coming through internet.org and the like. But really, on balance, Facebook don't even need to do that.
Right now, Facebook is used by around one in every five people on the planet - but if you take out the regions where Facebook is not accessible, either through connectivity limitations or government restrictions, it's actually more like one in three, and growing. Given this, Facebook doesn't really need to put limitations on who can use what through their internet connection efforts - the stats would suggest that most people who can utilize Facebook do, a trend that looks set to continue as they connect more regions.
So definitely, there is a commercial interest there, but Facebook can push forward with the more media-friendly 'greater good' angle in good faith. Because that's true, but also, Facebook will win out anyway.
Essentially, Facebook's looking to create a world without borders, where anyone can connect with anyone digitally - and where businesses can reach huge new markets, no matter how big or small their company is. In utilizing these tools, your audience potential increases exponentially - we may not have all the shipping and cross-border transaction exchange systems at their peak as yet, but they're getting there. And Facebook will be at the forefront of the international shopping revolution.
It's almost impossible to get your head around the possibilities in this regard, but that's what Facebook's new tools are designed for, to help highlight the possibilities in these foreign markets, which you can, absolutely, reach. Through this, Facebook's working to boost the potential of its platform, while broadening horizons for business owners.
There are billions of new potential customers available through such systems - expect Facebook to continue promoting such as they develop new tools and options in future.