We’re only two months into 2019, but you wouldn’t know it based on the Facebook updates that have already been released and announced even within the past four weeks.
Zuckerberg has big plans for this year, so this isn’t shocking.
In a public Facebook post, he recently proclaimed that this year will be focusing on improving the user experience and safety, increasing authenticity, and working hard to tackle social issues.
Since the company was in hot water throughout most of 2018 with concerns about privacy and transparency issues, they’ve worked hard to address these concerns and overcome them.
They’re still working hard to do so today.
The Facebook updates from this month really reflect these goals, and they improve not only the user experience but marketers’ experience as a result.
And with all that being said, it feels like the best place to start is with Facebook’s Q4’s report.
Facebook Shares 2018 Q4 Report
Facebook recently released its Q4 2018 earnings report. Here are the highlights worth taking away:
- Revenue increased $3 billion from the following quarter, coming in at $16.6 billion.
- More than $2 billion of the revenue growth came from Stories Ads, which are available on both Facebook and Instagram.
- More than 2 billion people use at least one of Facebook’s services each day (which include WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger), and 2.7 billion monthly users.
Despite the ever-present reports that Facebook is dead and gone for good (which have pretty much been circulating since before I even started content writing in 2013), clearly the platform is alive and well, and only strengthened with their new offerings and sister companies.
New Group Features, Formatting, & Management Tools
There are some big additions for Facebook Groups, all of which are either rolling out very soon or have already been released.
These new changes include:
Expansion of subscription groups, which has been rolled out to more partners.
Certain Pages can create groups that require paid subscriptions to maintain membership, giving them a new way to monetize their social accounts. As a note, businesses should be careful when using this option unless they’re offering value in the form of courses or education, or they risk alienating their audience.
New guidelines about adding members to your group.
Now, members are no longer automatically added to your group when they’re simply invited by other members or admins; they’re listed under an “invited” tab until they choose to accept and join themselves. This prevents groups from artificially inflating their numbers, and it actually works in your favor by ensuring that only people who want to engage with your content are seeing it.
New management tools.
Like those that allow admins to semi-anonymously notify users when one of their posts have violated the group’s guidelines or searching through new membership requests with specific names.
Mentorship is coming to all groups.
This will allow interested mentors and mentees to partner up in groups, offering more value with your brand at the center.
Last year there was an enormous push for new features in Facebook Groups, making it easier for brands to find new ways to establish communities and offer value to their target audience that nurtures relationships.
We saw additions like courses being added, allowing brands to create in-group course materials and modules to educate and even train their members, and now the mentor programs expand that possibility further.
There’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot more group features this year, and you know as soon as we do, we’ll be here to let you know about them.
Facebook Admins Can Respond to Instagram Messages Through Inbox
Last year, Facebook released the ability for admins to view and answer comments on their Instagram posts through their Page inboxes. This streamlined the process for accounts who didn’t have social management software yet.
Now, Facebook is taking this a step further, allowing admins to even access and respond to Instagram’s private messages.
This is a capability that hasn’t been released yet on third-party tools, and it aligns with Facebook’s plan to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct in order to let users reach each other cross-platform.
As of right now, the only other access to Instagram’s direct messaging is through the mobile app.
It’s not otherwise available on desktop or through third-party tools, though this will likely change soon, especially with rumors that Instagram is testing direct messaging online.
New Brand Safety Certification Program for Marketing Partners
Facebook Marketing Partners are companies that have established partnerships with Facebook, and essentially their seal of approval as a result. AdEspresso, for example, has been a marketing partner for several years.
In light of the issues Facebook faced in 2018, they’ve worked hard to improve on-site safety, but they’re also encouraging their marketing partners to develop third-party brand safety features, too, and they’re doing so with a new brand safety certification program.
The first two companies to receive certification are OpenSlate and DoubleVerify, and you can expect that more companies may release tools in the future to help keep the platform secure.
This month, Facebook has focused on improving the user experience partially by giving Pages and marketers more functionality to serve their followers well.
We’re seeing this with the increase in group features and new placement control, which certainly benefit marketers in the most obvious way, but improve the experience for your followers, too.