9th July 2021
This week, Dan Levy, Facebook’s Vice President of Ads & Business Products shared the platform’s plans to build more personalised experiences.
In a blog post he wrote: “…businesses are confronting a permanent shift in people’s behavior: a migration to ecommerce that might have taken a decade exploded within a year. This, combined with growing technologies to meet people’s privacy expectations, is a generational opportunity for our industry to innovate once again.
He outlined that to make that opportunity a reality, Facebook was focused on product innovations in four areas: privacy enhancing technologies, product and business discovery, commerce and business tools beyond marketing.
Privacy: Facebook is developing privacy-enhancing technologies to help minimize the amount of personal information it processes, while still allowing it to show relevant ads and measure ad effectiveness. Levy also stated that Facebook is collaborating with industry partners including the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, the World Wide Web Consortium and the World Federation of Advertisers, to establish best practices.
Product and Business Discovery: Facebook is testing a new News Feed experience, where people can tap to browse content from businesses on topics such as beauty, fitness etc. and explore content from related businesses. Context is another key area, with the platform aiming to make smarter ad placement recommendations based on the content a user is interacting with. E.g. if you’re watching a travel video, it would show ads for hotels and flights. This is available to a degree via ad targeting but is looking to get more specific. Finally, there will be help for small businesses with a new badge on ads to denote it is from a ‘small business’, which could help people support and build communities around business that align with their values. This is being tested initially with a few small U.S. businesses.
Commerce: The pandemic has accelerated the rise in online shopping and according to Levy more than 1 billion people visit Facebook Marketplace each month and Facebook and Instagram Shops have over 300 million monthly visitors which prompted its move last month to extend Shops to Marketplace in the U.S. and WhatsApp in some countries and to develop AR ads to encourage people to “try-on” products. He said “we are building a modern commerce system to meet demand across ads, community tools, messaging, Shops and payments. It is all in service of creating a personalized, seamless customer journey”.
Business Tools Beyond Marketing: There will be improved tools to help businesses across the family of apps with Facebook Business Suite, including time saving tools to plan and manage posts, stories and ads plus an enhanced Unified Inbox to make it easier to message customers. Additionally, the Messenger API will be extended for Instagram.
Better contextual targeting and improved customer journeys are the focus for all platforms and the move to enhance privacy is no surprise as the whole industry faces new challenges in behavioral targeting with the deprecation of browser cookies and Apple’s changes to its IDFA tracking tools.