It’s been a busy month at Facebook, and that’s before it got accused of censoring certain political views.

Let’s look at some of the biggest changes recently.

Since the F8 conference in April, Facebook has been rolling out tweaks to its products on a weekly basis.

Obviously this means that brands will have to adjust their content strategies, but where should they be focusing?

Audience Network rolls out on desktop

The launch of Facebook's Audience Network increased the reach of its native advertising by redistributing it to third-party apps, but now the social network is looking to expand into desktop as well.

This will also inevitably come with increased tweaks and a more transparent view on statistics, in order to prove ROI and drive larger budgets. 

By expanding this model to desktop it seems Facebook is looking to go after the likes of Google and grab a larger share of the display advert world. 

With Google’s desktop equivalent, revenues were $4.14bn in Q4 of 2015 but targeting is limited compared to Facebook.

Facebook’s biggest asset as always is the sheer volume of audience data that it has access to.

The potential is there for Facebook to become the preferred platform for online advertisers, but I’m sure that Google will have something up its sleeve.

Facebook Live

Facebook has been seriously revamping its video offering, Facebook Live, and has also thrown up some very impressive statistics.

Reports show that live videos are watched 3x longer than pre-records, providing the knock-on effect of live videos ranking higher in Facebook's algorithm. 

This is reflected in their organic reach which reports show can be up to 148% higher than photo posts.

As well as this, Facebook is letting users know how good your content is. A recent introduction allows your audience to take control and see when others have been reacting during your video. 

When a Facebook user skips through a replay of a live video, they’ll be able to see when other viewers engaged with the video by either posting a reaction emoji or commenting.

The peaks will direct viewers to the moments proven to be most engaging.

There’s no doubt this will lead to countless painful prompts from the presenter to ‘hit Like now for X or post the angry emoji for Y!’.

This could benefit shows such as The X Factor which has recently announced plans to live stream its auditioning process.

However for Facebook's sports streaming service this could prove incredibly valuable, with viewers being able to skip to highlights without the need for the publisher to edit. 

La Liga recently signed up to be the first major European league to livestream a competitive football match to Facebook.

It’s very easy to see how this could provide many opportunities to engage its audience, with rival sets of fans eager to display their ire or joy during heated moments.

In yet another video development from the social media giant, there are tests underway to reply to comments using homemade videos. A feature that could have a revolutionary effect on brand engagement through events such as Q&As.

As well as this, Warner Music Group has teamed up with Facebook to trial a new music product called Slideshow, which will allow certain songs to be used as soundtracks to user generated video.

Virtual Reality

Following the F8 conference, virtual reality has been a topic on everybody’s lips. Facebook committed big in 2014 with the acquisition of Oculus for $2bn.

Oculus has now been given a London base with a former Google software engineer heading up the team.

This shows a ramp-up in what had been a relatively quiet area of Facebook’s output, but with similarly large competitors moving into the space there’s a desire to stay ahead of the game.

Well that only covers a few of the big (non-government suggested) changes Facebook has been rolling out.

Since April the momentum of its product tweaks and innovations hasn’t seemed to stop – and I doubt it will. 

Andrew Chrysostom

Published 24 May, 2016 by Andrew Chrysostom

Andrew is a Social Media Executive at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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