Facebook has come a long way since being a private social media platform for Harvard College students. Today the platform can be used in a variety of ways that are constantly evolving to be more convenient for users. In the past, we have taken a look at the basic evolution of Facebook, but today, we are going to look more in-depth at the new features that Facebook has to offer.
The Marketplace was actually introduced to Facebook in 2016 after developers noticed the influx of “buying and selling” groups on Facebook. As a result, they launched Marketplace as a convenient place for users to buy and sell items within their community and beyond.
Marketplace can be easily found through the icon, located in the middle position of the tabs running along the bottom of your screen on mobile, or in the right sidebar on desktop.
People sell an array of items on Facebook Marketplace from clothes to electronics both new and used, even cars and real estate can be found. Used in over 70 countries by more than 800 million users monthly, Facebook Marketplace has undoubtedly been a successful addition to the platform.
Recognizing the rising popularity of video content, Facebook launched it’s free on-demand video service that works very similarly to Google’s YouTube. Users can search through recommended videos, search for specific content or indulge in one of Facebook’s many original shows such as the incredibly popular, Jada Smith’s ‘Red Table Talk’.
In addition to Shows, users can also enjoy LIVE video content on Facebook Watch, including video game streams, news, lives from people and pages they follow, and more. We will talk more about Facebook’s LIVE stream functionalities in Gaming below.
Facebook Watch has more than 720 million monthly visitors with 140 million of those watching at least one minute of content on the platform per day. Other statistics show that on average, a daily visitor will consume up to 26 minutes of content per day. While these statistics are impressive, they do not come close to YouTube’s 2 billion monthly active users who spend over 11 minutes watching videos.
Facebook gaming was introduced as a direct competitor to Amazon’s wildly popular live gameplay streaming service, Twitch, as well as Google’s Youtube. Currently, Facebook sits as the third most popular streaming platform and hopes that by increasing the accessibility of Facebook gaming, they can rise in the ranks.
Like Facebook Messenger, Facebook Gaming can be found through the Facebook app itself in Facebook Watch, however developers have also launched its own stand alone app. In addition, in July 2020, tech giant Microsoft announced that they would be shutting down their streaming service Mixer, encouraging all their users to migrate to Facebook Gaming.
One of the key features in Facebook Gaming is the ability to broadcast from your mobile device and co-stream with your Facebook friends. Unfortunately however, monetization options are limited to creators compared to more established streaming services like Twitch.
With the video game industry reaching over $160 billion, and COVID-19 lockdowns expected to catapult these numbers, moving into the live streaming arena is a smart move for Facebook. Not only does it offer an additional source of potential revenue, but it can help engage the younger audience who in the past few years have been staying away from the platform.
Launched in September 2019, Facebook Dating is a stand alone app like Messanger and Gaming, but can also be accessed through the mobile Facebook app. Users can make a profile by connecting their Facebook and Instagram pages which then pulls recommended photos and information that can be edited.
With functionality similar to the popular dating app Tinder, users can swipe through profiles of people in their area and who share the same or similar interests. A unique feature to Facebook Dating is what they call a “secret crush”, where a user can select up to 9 people they are connected with on either Facebook or Instagram whom they are interested in romantically. If that person is also opted into Facebook dating, and adds you to their 9 “secret crushes” a match is made. Of course, this feature can also be disabled if wanted.
Like gaming, the dating app industry is flourishing during the coronavirus pandemic with Tinder being the top earner in revenue after launching their “Passport” feature at the beginning of March. However, while Facebook is one of the most used social media platforms, a study of over 21,000 users showed that only 9% knew of their dating feature. Facebook may have a lot of work to do around awareness if they hope to stand a chance against competitors in the over $3 billion dating app industry.
Since it’s public launch in 2006, Facebook has been a go-to destination for internet users around the world to connect with one another and consume content. Over the years, it has evolved into a sort of ‘one-stop-shop’ integrating functionalities that greatly mirror those of their competitors while trying to put a Facebook spin to it.
Go Live from Messenger Rooms
In July, Facebook introduced a “rooms”feature to their Messenger, allowing users to create a chat room of up to 50 people.
This new feature was meant to be an all-inclusive update, allowing anyone who has access to the messenger room to join the call, even if they don’t have a Facebook account. But don’t worry, if you don’t want strangers randomly joining in on your room, if you’re the room creator you can set the broadcast to private!
This feature is not only great at helping bring people together during physical distancing but, considering live videos see significantly higher engagement than other content types, businesses can also benefit from this feature for creating multi-person live videos that your audience can respond to and engage within real-time!
From early on it was clear that back-to-school season was going to look a little different in 2020. With parents, educators, students, and more facing the obstacles of teaching/learning/working remotely while trying to maintain a work/life balance but also abide by new COVID guidelines… Facebook introduced the “Educational Hub”. An online platform to help support educators and provide resources across Facebook’s apps which aims to help people navigate the new school year and stay connected.
The Educational Hub has a educational resources including but not limited to:
- Self-care strategies and mental health resources.
- A digital literacy program called “Get Digital” that includes a few lesson plans, conversation starters, and online activities for students.
- Easily accessible groups, including the option to find a group or start one of your own.
Whether you’re an educator, parent or student, this new Facebook feature could be worth checking out!