After a brutal 2018 that forced Facebook to admit it hasn’t got the best reputation when it comes to privacy, Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for the social networking platform in 2019: Facebook is being redesigned.

The new version of Facebook, codenamed ‘FB5’, will be the biggest change the social network has experienced in years: almost every single aspect of the platform is changing in some way. In this blog, we try to list the changes that will be seen on the platform and how these could affect businesses in the UK.

Payments and shopping integration

Facebook has always wanted to be an all-encompassing app/platform that tried to do a bit of everything. The Chinese platform WeChat has many features that Facebook probably wish they integrated first. WeChat is often considered the “everything app” for China’s nearly 800 million smartphone owners: it’s a game console, a bank, and even a gateway to Chinese ride-sharing giants, food delivery, and thrift shopping.

Facebook is bringing in payments and shopping integration within Marketplace, “its Gumtree-style online classifieds service. Users in the US will soon have the option to pay for their purchases directly on Facebook and ship to anywhere in the country.” (The Telegraph, 2019). PayPal will process payments for purchases made directly inside Marketplace, according to a company spokesperson.

Facebook-owned Instagram will also allow users to make purchases in a more streamlined fashion with the use of stories and posts.

Meanwhile WhatsApp, historically Facebook’s most private product, will gain product catalogues and secure payments. Another new feature of the app will be a Product Catalogues section. It seems that this feature will basically function as an online store located on Whatsapp where customers can not only browse products but purchase them, too. Another addition to the platform will be Whatsapp Pay, a service designed to be a peer to peer payment platform. Facebook wants people to enjoy the convenience of sending money as simply and securely as sending messages, and it seems this has been successful in India, where the feature was launched a few months ago and has already been used over a million times.

This service will also allow Facebook to improve the adverts it sends to individuals. For example, if the app detects that you are spending money on a regular basis to football related goods, it will send you adverts relating to that category. This means adverts will be a lot more targeted for users of Whatsapp Pay.

All of this means, e-commerce businesses must now take Facebook and Whatsapp seriously not just for their advertising but also to generate sales directly from the marketplaces and the other new shopping features. It will be an interesting few months to see how businesses pivot their strategy and content to adapt to the new changes.

Focus on community building

It won’t be enough to just post out your business content on your channels and expect results. Zuckerberg made it clear that Facebook’s focus is shifting to communities both public and private. This means that Groups are going to be the core focus: there are already tens of millions of active Groups on Facebook.

Groups will be easier to find, and easier to participate in, thanks to a new, redesigned Groups tab. This means businesses need to find a strategy to be more active within these groups and communities which are built on familiarity, trust and interesting content.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been dubbed as the next big thing for a long time, but Facebook is finally trying to take the technology to the next level with their recently acquired Oculus Rift brand.

The product is a wireless VR headset, Oculus Quest – which does not require a connection to a PC, smartphone or games console.

Although it is primarily designed to be a gaming platform, it is sure to be used by brands to create the next generation of experiential marketing campaigns. Imagine in a few years, you walk into a Thomas Cook store, you’re undecided whether you want to go to Turkey or Tenerife for your next family holiday. Next thing, the sales assistant puts an Oculus Rift headset on your head and allows to “virtually” experience each location before making your decision.

Facebook Dating!?

Ok, this feature probably won’t impact your business but may impact your personal or your friends’ personal lives. Facebook Dating is going to be a new feature looking to rival the likes of Tinder and Match. The new feature will allow people to have a “Secret Crush” feature that lets users know if they and an existing friend harbours hidden feelings for each other, without exposing them if it’s unrequited. The dating tool is launching in 14 new countries.

You can expect to see all of these changes coming to your phone and desktop in the next few weeks. It will be very interesting to see how these changes will affect Facebook’s reputation and business performance over the next year or so.

Don’t worry we will keep an eye out and keep you updated!

Tell us about your project

9 + 14 =

What the incoming Facebook redesign means for businesses

Written By Kim Burrage
Managing Director at Trident