Facebook’s been officially rebranded as Meta but that doesn’t mean that Facebook’s disappeared. Confused? It’s simple: Meta is following the example of Google, which rebranded to Alphabet in 2015, but it kept Google as well as other products in its portfolio under their original names. Hence, Facebook now falls under the umbrella of Meta, along with Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR.
The gigantic social media platform – it has over 2.6 billion active monthly users – has announced a range of new features aimed at expanding users’ in-platform experiences, most likely as part of Meta’s metaverse plans. These include new shopping features, the ability to book appointments directly from a Page, and the rollout of Facebook Reels. While currently available for US-based accounts and pages, it’s just a matter of time that they’re rolled out internationally.
In the meantime, let’s take a deeper look:
Expanded Shopping Features
Facebook had previously announced its plans for group monetization features — including shops, fundraisers, and subscriptions. So, it’s no surprise that it announced three new shopping features for its users: Shops in Groups, product recommendations, and a test of Live Shopping for Creators.
Shops in Groups is essentially what it sounds like – group admins will have the opportunity to set up an online store directly in their associated Facebook Page. This is a natural evolution given that most groups include product or brand recommendations. Now, the new feature will allow users to tag specific products if they’re listed in a Facebook shop and top product recommendations will then appear in group members’ news feeds.
Moreover, the platform will expand its Live Shopping feature so brands and creators can cross-promote in a more seamless manner. Traditionally, creators would showcase a brand’s product and redirect their followers to the brand’s page or tell their followers to head over to a brand’s page to watch them showcase a product or collection. Now, both brand and creator can cross-stream directly from their respective pages, ensuring that they reach their followers with the reduced risk of a creator’s fans missing the announcement.
Finally, Facebook Shops is the platform’s free, mobile-first shopping experience that provides businesses a specific space where they can set up a customisable, online shop on both Facebook and Instagram. This will also allow businesses to connect with their customers WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to answer questions, offer support and more.
Meta had also announced that they aim to partner with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to provide support for brands and businesses, especially small businesses, that sign up for Facebook Shops to ensure that they’re set up for success.
Appointments on Facebook
This is a mutually beneficial feature for businesses, creators, and customers.
Anyone who is the admin of a Page can now set up an appointments booking page while customers can select the slot that’s most convenient for them. Admins can do this easily through the Pages app and selecting Book Now followed by Appointments on Facebook to either making booking constantly available or showcasing specific slots before adding services and clicking Done.
Businesses can then manage bookings and appointment settings so the experience is smooth and efficient for all parties.
If you have an Instagram account, then you’ve probably already heard about Instagram Reels or tried it out at lest once. Now, Meta has brought that feature to Facebook users in the US on both iOS and Android.
The feature will allow users to create Reels directly from their Facebook account as well as share their Instagram Reels to Facebook, but they aren’t able to share Facebook Reels to their Instagram account, similar to sharing from Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories.
Facebook is committed to ensuring Reels’ success and part of that strategy is the creation of a new, currently invite-only bonus programme, which will pay eligible US creators based on their Reels’ performance across Facebook and Instagram. Creators will be paid for Reels that receive at least 1,000 views over a 30-day period, however, specific amounts have not been announced.
The platform also shared that it’s developing additional financial incentive features for creators using Reels, such as new ad formats like Sticker Ads and Banner Ads as well as potentially integrating the virtual tipping system Stars so fans can pay their favourite Reels creators directly, similar to the feature available within TikTok. Reels Ads may also be rolled out, like Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels Ads, which already appear between content being consumed in those features.
These new features certainly seem to provide value for Facebook’s users, but it feels like the platform’s playing catch-up instead of innovating or focusing on more important areas of concern, such as the rampant amount of toxicity that exists on it. I can’t help but think that Meta keeps throwing out ‘shiny objects’ to distract everyone from its ongoing crises and scandals. Regardless at how the public may think about Facebook, the platform continues to prove that it’s here to stay so it seems that we just need to figure out how to live with – or without – Facebook in our professional and personal lives.