This month marks the nine year anniversary of when Facebook (then known as TheFacebook.com) was first conceived and created by Mark Zuckerberg.
Since then, Facebook has grown by leaps and bounds, currently supporting over one billion active users (as of December 2012) and over 618 million active daily users.
Facebook’s capabilities and layouts have undergone the most obvious changes over the last nine years, and the way that marketers have learned to connect with users has grown, as well.
For marketers, the next nine years bring a variety of opportunities to further connect with their online audience, including using video and making pages more interactive.
Custom Page Tabs
Custom tabs on Facebook pages aren’t a new thing, but the applications that support the way they are built and designed continue to grow. FBML (also known as Facebook Markup Language) can help programmers create custom tabs that can help users subscribe to a mailing list, get more information about a company, or even enter into a giveaway.
However, in the next nine years, it is easy to surmise that custom Facebook tabs will continue to get more fluid and diverse, offering users a custom browsing experience, right in Facebook.
As capabilities continue to expand, marketers can look forward to creating entire websites or online shopping experiences in Facebook Pages. As it stands now, this is an extremely difficult and almost impossible feat: to have an error-free, robust interactive tab that allows the user to stay within Facebook. Application developers will continue to make custom tabs a lot easier to use and build, making great design more accessible to more page owners.
Video And Voice
Facebook recently announced an update to its mobile application, which allows users to record and send videos directly from the Facebook application. While we can assume this is a response to the growth in applications like SnapChat, this could hold potential for marketers.
Just as Google+ has had some success in promoting the easy-to-use video hangouts, Facebook already has a massive existing user base that could begin holding their own video chats, right from Facebook. This would be a great opportunity for companies to hold customer or blogger discussions in video chat, to teach about new products or gather user feedback. Users could also get together to discuss pop culture, such as movies and new TV shows, sponsored by the production companies and cable networks.
The new update also gave users the capacity to record and send voice memos to others. While we can be fairly certain that most users don’t want companies to send them audio recordings, it could be a way to receive feedback from users or hold contests.
The ability to record video and voice shows that Facebook believes the movement toward sharing and communicating through different types of media and content will only continue to grow.
Video and voice content by users on Facebook also highlights a growing emphasis on creating unique content directly on the Facebook platform. This trend could continue to grow and flourish with written content as well.
Even though Facebook has done away with their old Notes feature, which was a blogging type platform, one could argue that online written content still has a strong and loyal presence with online users. Introducing an exclusive blogging platform for Facebook users that allows for more customization and better features (such as video or voice blogs, as well as the ability to gain revenue from advertisements) could be another possibility.
Marketers that wish to grow their readership and interaction on Facebook could have an exclusive blog for posting unique content that is different from their other blogging or social networking platforms. When it comes to marketing, many still believe that content is king. While this is always up for discussion, it can’t be disputed that more great content on more online platforms certainly can’t hurt a company or its brand.
Facebook advertising continues to develop, allowing for more options for marketers. Facebook Ads have always had great demographic targeting capabilities, but with the introduction of Facebook Open Graph, brands will have greater opportunities to further learn about users’ browsing habits and interests.
This can lead to better advertising that is highly targeted and more applicable to a greater number of ideal customers. Facebook has also partnered up with Bing for the development of Open Graph, so we can expect to see more innovation and avenues for learning more about the millions of daily active Facebook users.
Whether it is better Facebook Pages, implementing video, or great advertising, Facebook will have a lot more to offer marketers and users alike in the next nine years.
As the reigning king of social media behind a permanent culture change in our society and the way it communicates, Facebook forces marketers to look beyond traditional marketing strategies and continue to grow along with it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.