Facebook is at the forefront of marketing technology innovation
Mark Zuckerberg was on stage yesterday at this year's Facebook for developers conference, showing off some nifty new software and coming out with some rather clever ideas for augmented reality products. Here we ask which innovations do marketers need to be aware of and plan for?
Perhaps most important of all isn't the new innovations he announced, but what he re-iterated. He made it clear he is sticking to Facebook's 10-year road map, which was launched last year and again given prominence in this year's conference.
The roadmap looks deceptively simple, but it reveals a whole host of different strategies and new technologies that Facebook will be investing in. You can click on the image below to see a higher resolution version.
There are a few extremely interesting things worth noting from the roadmap that provides insights into Facebook's strategy and how it will affect marketers.
We already know Facebook continuously promotes its family of related social networking and messaging platforms, like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. We also know they've been keen to compete with YouTube for online video for some time. But the inclusion of search in the top 6 Facebook products, rather than a different feature like Facebook Live or Stories hints at a potential pivot towards offering a more powerful search product than the platform currently has. It might even mean a move into competing with Facebook's main rival (Google) for a significant slice of the search market.
You might think I'm over-interpreting the diagram, but another official graphic from Facebook detailing their 10-year roadmap lists search first among just five key areas of focus. When Facebook says it's planning on 'building the next generation of services' and includes search in that list, it means they've got big plans.
The long-term planning horizon
The roadmap contains a wide range of exciting, near-future technologies which will be critical in shaping the future both of marketing and of the modern economy more broadly. Facebook's martech roadmap highlights technology that other larger businesses will have on their roadmap such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented reality. With this focus on AI, VR, and AR, technologies which are currently coming of age, it will be interesting to see if Facebook can corner the market in creating compelling social experiences with these technologies.
More surprising and interesting is the focus on solar powered drones, satellites, telecoms infrastructure and 'free basics' (A free to use internet portal provided by Facebook), all of which points to a focus on developing markets by getting billions of new people online. This will lock millions into the Facebook ecosystem that we in the developed world have grown used to.
The roadmap paints the future martech for Facebook with a broad brush, but it's worth thinking what marketing technologies on Gartner's latest hype cycle that they've excluded from this list: Blockchain, ephemeral messaging, the Internet of Things, Brain-computer interfaces, gesture control. Is that because they consider these technologies over-hyped? Or just because they don't happen to fit well with Facebook's core product? It's not possible to know yet, but as market leaders in marketing technology, it's interesting to see what Facebook consider to be the key new developments and which weren't worth them mentioning.
Facebook F8 Keynote Highlights
If you want to know more about what was discussed in Facebook's F8 keynote, you can watch the whole live stream of the talk below.