Facebook’s f8 Conference Announcements Focus on Privacy and Mobile

Written by , Catapult Rotational Associate at ExactTarget :

Yesterday, Facebook announced a number of new features and initiatives at its f8 Developer Conference.

The conference, which was on a hiatus for the past 3 years, is focused around developers, but also brought a great deal of news and features for social media marketers and mobile marketing. Not surprisingly, the announcements mainly revolved around mobile, privacy, and enhancing advertising capabilities.

Below are a few of the major announcements from yesterday’s conference and what they mean for marketers:

Audience Network
With over one million advertisers now on Facebook, Facebook officially launched its long-awaited ad network yesterday at f8. They are beginning with an “expanded test” which gives advertisers “a new way…to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.”

In the future, Facebook plans to extend Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to include other forms of web traffic as well. The network is compatible with standard banner ads, interstitial ads, and native ads. This network represents a major shift for Facebook as it moves off of Facebook’s proprietary web properties and onto other mobile apps (and eventually many other web properties).

According to our own Chris Jacob at Social.com:

…Facebook’s value proposition with real identity and rich demographic data, as well as strong engagement, make it a great place to deliver highly targeted and effective advertising. With its launch of mobile app install and reengagement ads, mobile publishers can now drive a significant amount of new installs and traffic to their apps with all the great targeting that Facebook offers. And with the new Mobile Audience Network announced today at F8, this opportunity only grows.

This is especially interesting to me from a media perspective. As Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rosediscussed in their PNR podcast this week, social media companies are moving away from their “social” roots and evolving into “media” companies. This is especially apparent when you look atLinkedIn and this announcement from Facebook.

Mobile “Like” Button
Facebook will be releasing a new mobile “Like” button where users can Like and share directly from a company’s mobile app. This announcement also included a “send to mobile” feature to drive app downloads from Facebook and the mobile web as well as a new message dialogue for developers.

Anonymous Login
One of the biggest announcements at the conference was the introduction of anonymous login. As privacy concerns continue to grow among consumers, Facebook is pushing to instill further trust with its users and give consumers more control. The anonymous login will be a way for users to log in anonymously to third-party apps so that they can try out an app before they provide their personal data. I am happy to see this announcement as now I can test out an app or service that requires a Facebook login without the fear of a rogue Facebook post or a Farmville invite to all of my friends.

User Permissions
Going along with the new Anonymous Login feature, Facebook also announced advanced permissions and the ability for users to be more selective with the information that is shared with apps through a Facebook login.

From Mashable:

Facebook is rolling out new kinds of permissions for apps. These will let enables users to select, line by line, what Facebook info they want to share with a third-party app. Your public profile will always be required, but soon other info like your friends list or your birthday will be optional. You can share what you want, and opt out of what you want to keep private. Previously, apps would request a list of items they wanted you to share, and you were required to share all or nothing.

Recently-acquired Parse made the announcement of AppLinks.org, a new initiative that will provide a standard for deep-linking between native apps. This will allow a URL to find if a compatible mobile app is installed and automatically load that app instead of a web version if one is available.

This has been a struggle for developers for a long time, but AppLinks will hopefully provide an open standard to provide better mobile app experiences. This is good news for mobile marketers as you will be able to keep your customers in your app (where you control the native experience) longer and will provide for much better user experience.

While these announcements focus around new feature for developers, they will leave major impacts on marketers as well and how we use Facebook in our marketing and advertising strategies and how we design user experiences on mobile devices. What are your thoughts on the announcements? How will you take advantage of the new features in your social campaigns and mobile apps?

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