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Ready, Set, Update!: What’s New on Facebook?

Comments  /  Jayme Verman

There is no doubt that Facebook reigns supreme in the world of social media. How does this social networking powerhouse maintain its first place rank in popularity? Some attribute Facebook’s success to its recognition across multiple age groups. Others appreciate its integration of a clean and user-friendly site. Regardless, in our evolving tech-based society, Facebook strives to remain at the top of social media platform hierarchy, and here’s a look at what Facebook recently added to continue its dominance:

Facebook Local

Facebook Local is a relaunched version of Facebook Events, which makes the site even more pervasive. The newly renovated app acts as a reference for local events through user data. Consumers can look at reviews and suggestions from their network of friends. The app also connects users to these events using their location and interests from site activity (likes, check-ins, etc). It offers a wide variety of listings, including entertainment, dining, and other businesses in the community. The app was strategically launched to increase the amount of small businesses that utilize Facebook.

Facebook Local is bound to create competition for other business review sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, and Google Reviews. While the app features a listing of nearby friends and connections, it also offers easily accessible maps. With access to over 2 billion Facebook users, this new addition is changing the way people plan their social calendars.

Messenger Kids         

Facebook released another version of its Messenger app as a safe way for children to communicate with friends and family. Messenger Kids can be safely monitored through an adult’s Facebook account. The app allows users to live video chat, as well as send pictures, messages, and videos. Contacts must also be approved by a parent. To make the app more attractive for kids, Facebook added decorative frames, stickers, and tools. Messenger Kids can be downloaded for free and does not have ads. At this time, the app is only available in the United States.

The app currently targets children ages 6 to 12. While the creation of Messenger Kids demonstrates the complicated debate on children and social media, it is considered “safe” under the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

Sound Collection and 360 Video

Two new features were released last week for Facebook video fans. The first update has a variety of sound effects and song clips, which users can utilize when capturing and uploading videos to Facebook. This new addition, Facebook Sound Collection, provides these quality tracks and effects at no cost. The update also features specific tools to help users explore new genres and artists that might match well with their content.

The second video-based launch from Facebook is a 360 Community Page. It was created to provide a centralized location for producers and followers interested in 360-degree videos. The Community Page includes tutorials on recording and editing, while also sharing events that are associated with this type of videography. Some of these include meet-ups and seminars on 360-degree media. The page also introduced a lending program for fans, which allows them to borrow cameras from Blend Media, a 360-degree video provider who helped Facebook with the page launch.

As if those components weren’t enough for 360-degree video devotees, the page also incorporates an editing tool, 360 Director. This feature gives users access to graphics and other creative visuals that can be added to their videos. 360 Director generally allows the publisher to have more control over the video, therefore enhancing the experience for viewers.

Display Ads

Facebook recently increased its character count for display ads. Previously, the site only allowed 90 characters per display ad unit. Now, Facebook allows 125 characters. This allows advertisers to say more in their ads and develop more detailed messaging.

These updates help Facebook deepen their demographic audience targeting. Facebook Local has created a new platform for businesses to target by location and psychographic interests. While Messenger Kids doesn’t allow ads, it establishes the connection between users and the site at a young age. This will most likely correlate to making a Facebook account when they reach an appropriate age. The video and display ad updates provide leeway for businesses to use new forms of creative digital media. Facebook’s ability to sustain popularity among users is perpetual. From enhancing apps to broadening demographic reach, the power of Facebook is here to stay!