What did you miss from the Facebook F8 event?

15 Apr, 2016 by Vera Hartmuth

Held in San Francisco, the F8 conference is intended for developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services around Facebook. But its implications for retail are huge, especially when you consider our own survey data released in our research paper, Reaching Millennials: Attraction and Influence, that showed that Facebook was the clear leader when millennial consumers were asked to name sources of influence prior to making a purchase decision.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg traditionally starts the event with a keynote speech, and this year was no different. For those who paid to attend the event, they didn’t leave disappointed. They were all treated to Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headsets and Samsung smartphones to power them and he introduced his 10 year plan.

Just in case you missed it, here are the highlights from Zuckerberg’s keynote:

Sponsored chats

At the event it was announced that retailers will be able to send sponsored messages to those using Facebook Messenger. To be able to do this, marketers will need to match the phone numbers of their customers to those who give permission to receive messages from advertisers.

Could apps replace TV?

Zuckerberg made the bold claim that he predicts $1 apps “will replace TV” someday. On top of that, he said Facebook are increasing their efforts to create lightweight apps, which will take up 25% less space than current apps.

Virtual reality is becoming reality

The Facebook CEO stated that his company is developing touch controllers to go with the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. “It’s going to add a whole new layer of immersion,” Zuckerberg said, “We are working on a whole new level of social experience.” Could this breathe new life into Second Life? Pardon the pun, but it’s absolutely within the realms of near future possibility for consumers to be wandering around virtual shopping malls.

Whole articles on the news feed

There will be an instant articles program made available to all publishers. This will allow them to publish full articles that will appear on users’ news feeds. Given the stats that the company released about the feature, indicating that Instant Articles are read 20 percent more often, have 70 percent better retention, and are shared 30 percent more often than regular pieces it’s easy to see why retailers might get excited about this potential opportunity to influence.

Save to Facebook

Soon, you will be able to send content from anywhere on the internet and save it to your “saved for later” section on the main Facebook portal, potentially extending the lifecycle of influence e.g. a friend shares a link to a cool new product or new piece of clothing that link no longer needs to rely on impulse for it to translate into a purchase.

Spreading the internet via satellites and airplanes

“If you told me 10 years ago I’d be building a plane, I would’ve said you’re crazy,” Zuckerberg said. Well, it’s finally happening. Zuckerberg said his team will be beaming a satellite into space very soon, and Facebook will also be building planes. Both of these ideas are designed to spread internet connections to remote areas – potentially bringing new customers to retailers, but also opening up the global market to more retailers.

360-degree camera

Zuckerberg has introduced a high-end video camera called Facebook Surround. It looks similar to a flying saucer and is capable of obtaining pictures in 360-degrees and automatically rendering them. The mind boggles.

So if you thought Facebook’s influence was starting to plateau, time to think again.

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