Facebook; Mentions, Buy Now and Messenger

5 minute read

As a marketer in a digital world, most of us are instilled into the ecosystems of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter for personal use and for work. They may not be the rapid-fire start-ups of yesteryear but they are still innovating at a speed that can take us by surprise. Every now and then it’s useful to sit back, take a deep breath and look at what they are doing and how it impacts how we use the service, particularly for our businesses.

Given Facebook’s incredible and non-stop rise to profitability, it’s clear that it is not resting on its laurels. Just recently Facebook announced that revenue was up 61% to $2.91bn and it attributed this to the growth of mobile advertising, among other factors.

Facebook timeline

A string of announcements it has made recently reflect this mobile future that Facebook is already reaping the rewards from. Paying close attention to these and adjusting your marketing and communications can mean that businesses using Facebook (alongside other platforms) can likewise cash in on this new mobile scale. Three announcements of note are the Mentions app, a Buy Now button on ads and the consolidation of its private messaging functionality into just the Messenger app.

The Mentions app is a new mobile solution for celebrities, public figures and influencers to better manage the engagement they have with people and topics that are related to them. It isn’t for brands to use but understanding how this may impact Facebook is important. Many businesses now rely on a relationship with public figures and influencers to help disseminate messages, Facebook finding a mobile-first way of managing this is significant.

The app helps surface the most important and trending messages and content for public figures and provides a direct and real-time way for them to publish content directly to followers from their mobile phone. For festivals and events, or publishing that have content related to public figures, or any businesses or any businesses that links to celebrities, optimising posts and content to make it easier for people to interact through Mentions is a smart way to engage.

The Buy Now button comes at a time when Twitter is reported to be doing the same thing. Facebook has an arguably tarnished background with introducing commerce into its environment but this means that it should be treading more carefully this time round. Facebook has released a blog post which doesn’t give away much but details a trial of a button that’ll allow people to buy from both the newsfeed and pages. Facebook doesn’t separate whether the tool will be only within sponsored posts or within any post, but the important part is that it takes commerce to the newsfeed, instead of expecting people to seek it out.

Removing the friction from commerce is what is going to be the key point for Facebook if it is to help businesses monetise its website in a much more immediate way.

The final announcement it has made recently is that it is taking the messaging functionality out of the Facebook app completely, so users have to download the separate messenger app. After buying Whatsapp, Facebook’s own messenger app has come a long way, borrowing some of the key features and integrating into its own app.

This mobile-first approach is important for anyone involved in the Facebook ecosystem to take note of but Mark Zuckerberg himself has noted that these elements may not be the biggest of money makers in the short-term.

Discussing mobile messaging, virtual reality and Facebook search, Zuckerberg said, “We think it is going to be years of work before those are huge businesses for us. I really can’t underscore this enough that we have a lot of work to do. We could take the cheap and easy approach and put ads in and do payments and make money in the short-term, but we’re not going to do that.”

But as mobile ads now account for two-thirds of Facebook’s ads in a very short amount of time, we can see that once Facebook is convinced of the user case, it’s not long before the ad dollars follow suit.