Following a Facebook stalk of Facebook, we’ve not only discovered new and secret services, we’ve also uncovered an entire trend.Follow closely as we put the puzzle pieces together and construct an overall picture of the secret Facebook services we’ve uncovered.
Here’s the secret Facebook doesn’t want you to know!!
If you love to be the first ‘to know’, you would have sought outcome across an abundance of Facebook updates and changes over the past year. To help trace your mind back to the major updates from 2016, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
A New Facebook Business Page Layout
It was around the end of July 2016 when we really noticed Facebook’s drive and focus – Business. The new business page layout featured noticeable changes that are all designed to increase user experience, encourage business content creation, and drive conversions.
Some of the key changes to the Facebook business page layout included:
- Call to Action Button
- Top Navigation Bar
- Promote Button
- New Display Image
This update was rolled out across both desktop and mobile devices.
Yes, it’s all about Business. But there is more to it, and we are yet to get to the good stuff, so keep reading on.
Facebook Messenger Updates for Business
Back in April, Facebook made a push for businesses to get closer to the user through messenger. The Facebook Messenger updates for business included the following key features:
Customised Page Usernames
Links and Codes
Businesses can now generate a short link. When the link is opened by a user, a new chat thread will open with the business. Messenger Codes provide businesses with another medium for users to make contact with them, through photographing the code.
When users open a new messenger thread, businesses have the option to create a personalised greeting as the first point of contact.
Facebook Local Insights
This update was rolled out fairly closely to Facebook Messenger for business, so it almostslipped through the cracks.
Facebook released ‘Local’ insights to assist businesses in better understanding their audiences, trends, and competitors in their physical store’s area.
For businesses struggling to see the value in maintaining a community on Facebook, this update was an answered prayer.
There is real potential for small to medium multi-channel businesses to increase revenue through changes made based on these insights – and that is exactly why we see the value in this update.
By no means are we stepping away from the Facebook focus we set out in this piece. If anything, it’s integral to think of Facebook and Instagram as the one entity – a really sexy virtual couple.
In May, the sneaky strategic folk at Facebook made the decision to release Instagram Insights for business, alongside an algorithm update. Similar to the ‘Friends and Family First’ algorithm update on Facebook, this update abolished a chronological movement and drifted focus to user interests and engagement history.
With this algorithm update came a trend in decreased engagement with business account posts.
Unfortunately, as businesses changed their accounts to a Business Profile to receive these insights, they also began to lose engagement on posts.
What were they to do? Advertise, of course. If you are yet to set up Instagram Ads, please know that to create an ad that displays in Instagram, it needs to be set up in Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor.
The most recent major update to be introduced by Facebook is Marketplace. The concept is simple and derivative from their pre-existing concept of buying and selling in Facebook Groups.
Facebook Marketplace connects local buyers and sellers through the mobile-only app. Users can browse to buy, post items to sell, and search the Marketplace community for specific items to purchase.
The key takeaway is that this is a form of fast local eCommerce, designed to connect Facebook users, who don’t necessarily have an intent to buy.
Facebook is currently encouraging the use of Marketplace, and this knowledge is purely based on its forefront position in the Facebook app. Once users begin noticing and using Marketplace, its position will no doubt be replaced by something new and more financially beneficial for Facebook.
Before we move on to our next major point, it’s important to ask the obvious question: What’s in it for them?
We’ve taken a seriously good moment to think about this question and here is the answer:
If there is an opportunity to monetize a concept, then they will invest time into developing it. There is hugepotential for Facebook to introduce an advertising model into Marketplace.
Finally, one by one, Facebook will knock-out any business, website, or general reason for users to leave their app. In the case of Marketplace, Facebook is taking on the likes of Gumtree and Trading Post, in Australia anyway.
Now that you are completely up to date, here is the secret we’re busting to tell you about…
Facebook Professional Services
At this point in time, everything about Facebook (Professional) Servicesscreams beta.
We noticed the desktop site back in May, however, not knowing exactly what it was and how long it would take to develop, we just kept it in the back of our minds.
Fast forward to the now – and we can no longer ignore its existence.
The site surfaced around December 15th, 2015, and since then, there has been some minor front end updates and development, but nothing to write home about.
Here is what we know about Facebook Services
The key message that is attached to Facebook Services is: ‘Find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings.’
From this very core message, we know that local business is the focus. More specifically, local businesses in professional services. Furthermore, we can see that there are over 80 service categories, which users can explore.
As the search function is currently not enabled, we took the liberty to explore the Plumbers category.
What we found is actually really cool, smart, and somewhat familiar.
Similar to Tripadvisor, Facebook Services orders businesses by ratings, allows users to search by moving and zooming in and out of a map and features relevant filters per service line.
The advantage and sweet-spot that Facebook absolutely own with this are providing users with a social filter element. Social proof and word of mouth are the most influential forms of promotion, and there is no other search engine with this ability.
Let’s bring more perspective to this point. In Google search engine results pages, ratings are assigned to some results, but imagine if these ratings we based on your friends or social circle’s reviews? Now that would be a game changer.
Going back to the point we made earlier – ‘Facebook will knock-out any business, website, or general reason for users to leave their app.’ Facebook Services will be going up against powerhouses True Local and Yellow Pages.
We suspect that building a local business search engine is the finishing touch on a theme that has prevailed in 2016.
The overall theme we have identified is local business.
With over 1 billion users, Facebook’s user base doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. But are users, more specifically, consumers enough? Facebook is focusing on business because it’s fundamental to their future.
The key is a dependency, and what Facebook seem to want to create is beyond brilliant.
There is no doubt that Facebook users will become accustomed to buying, selling, and engaging with business on Facebook.
And from where we sit, it seems like Facebook is influencing a future where business is unable to run without its presence.