The Future is Private – How F8 Affects Facebook & Messenger Apps

What is F8?

F8 is Facebook’s mostly annual conference that often announces new features. The conference started as an 8-hour hackathon. It has developed throughout the years into a 2-day event for developers from around the world to network, attend in-depth mini-sessions, and enjoy product demos. This year’s F8 was held April 30-May 1st in San Jose, California. 2019 marked Facebook’s 10th F8.


A Recap of The Keynote

Privacy. Privacy. And more privacy. Not only that – but a bold statement that “The future is private.”

Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged they don’t have the strongest reputation on privacy right now. The only way you’ve missed this drama is if you’ve been left in the quantum realm. If that’s you – go ahead and read Wired’s article which recaps the past year and a half.

Zuckerberg continued by saying they are “building a privacy focused platform…privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves.” He then made certain to mention that his team is going to play a more “proactive role” in making sure all services and partners are using their tools for good.

He continued his theme of “The Future is Private” by listing the next chapter for their services. This vision is based on 6 principles:

  • Private interactions
  • Encryption
  • Reduced permanence
  • Safety
  • Interoperability
  • Secure data storage


What This Means for Facebook & Messenger


Zuckerberg has nicknamed this update “FB5.” And it’s more than an icon update (have you noticed the slight gradient to the blue?)

If the overall theme was “privacy,”  I’d say that the Facebook theme was “connection.” The app will now downplay the News Feed as the central point of connection. Instead, Facebook is pushing Events and Groups to center stage.

Communities and Groups now replace Friends as the central focus. You can now share to your groups the same way you share with friends and family. The Newsfeed still exists – and a feature I particularly like – will allow you to save your spot so you can pick up where you left off.

Here’s where some serious changes start happening: relationships. Facebook is now in the business of actively connecting people – be it dating relationships, friendships, gaming communities, or even job searches.

With Facebook dating you find matches based on things you have in common like shared groups and events. Your dating profile is separate from your personal profile.

This is currently live in: Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, Argentina, Canada, Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, Suriname

End of Year: US

Facebook is also introducing Secret Crush. In this section, you create a private list of friends you might be interested in. And if your friend also puts you on their list, you match. If not, no one will know you even opted into Facebook Dating.

They are also adding new Business Tools which are considered to be “plug-and-play solutions.” The goal is to make it easier for businesses to drive in-store traffic, generate leads, and provide customer care. Two of these new tools include an appointment-booking function and a lead generation template built directly into Ads Manager.


One of the most exciting changes to Messenger is size and speed. It is going from 127 MB to under 30 MB with 1.3 second cold start time. Keeping with the privacy theme, the Messenger app will be end-to-end encrypted by default.

And we once again see the increased focus on connectivity. Messenger will allow you to call and message friends and family not just on Facebook but also Instagram and WhatsApp.

The goal is to make Messenger the place for your closest friends and family to keep in constant contact. You can even watch videos together directly inside the app.

They are also launching a brand new Messenger desktop app for both Windows and macOS.

How This Affects Your Marketing Strategies

If nothing else, hear this – Facebook believes they know what their 2.7 billion users want above all else – not necessarily shiny new objects, cheaper prices, or gimmicks!

They want to use their technology to gain meaningful human connection.

People don’t want to feel spammed by your ads. They want to feel connected to your product and brand.

Your customers want to feel certain that their information is secure. That your brand is trustworthy. And that you aren’t going to take advantage of them.

F8 2019 celebrated their global community and how technology can bring people together both personally and professionally.




How To Respond to Facebook’s News Feed Change

You may have heard about the Facebook news feed change. Here’s the announcement.
The question for those of us who create social media content is: now what?
The full truth is we don’t really know. We’ll watch as Facebook implements their new algorithm to see how it impacts our organic reaches and watch our own Newsfeeds transform.
In the meantime, I believe there are several key items to consider as we create content:
1. The death of organic reach has arrived. Organic reach has been dying for years. This is why I have said for a while now that Facebook marketing plans without a budget is not sufficient/modern. For example, I don’t take social clients without a decent social ads budget. Organic reach has dropped a lot over the last couple of years and this might be the death blow. That doesn’t mean organic reach will go away all together. But I believe it’s safe to say that it will no longer be enough to depend on organic reach to get your content to your customers.
2. Bad content will further restrict your pages reach. The restriction of organic reach will most likely effect pages that produce bad content. I think those who don’t do a good job at social media will be hurt worse than the good players. I explained myself in greater detail in my previous blog regarding this announcement. Facebook’s goal is to keep more people on Facebook and that means providing the best experience possible. So if the Facebook algorithm detects that people don’t like your posts on a regular basis, you will be punished for it. I think this is also a reaction to the polarized political content and *legitimate* fake news. The danger of Facebook is that we are building houses on rented land. I think this will most adversely affect small businesses who do a bad job with social media or do not know how to use social ads effectively.
3. Ad costs will continue to increase. Facebook’s ad inventory on its newsfeed filled up last summer and they were looking for new ad revenue. Facebook will continue to place ads because it’s their revenue stream. The cost may go up to weed out some ads but overall I don’t see a change in this coming quickly. Over time expect ad costs to continue to rise. Remember above all else, create quality content so that your customers are excited about the value your posts give them.

How we got 7k organic reach…over night.

Great content is the king of the internet. But by defining it as great means that it is rare. Do not expect to make great content everyday but be ready to take advantage when you do.

Making great content is hard to do and it can be even more difficult depending on your industry. This video started with an amazing story and we put the time into make it a professional production to create a huge PR coup for a small non-profit. Madison County CASA is a charity that I support and I was recently hired through a grant to create a new website and video for them.

Lets take a look at a breakdown of the stats:

The video did really well initially on its own. The organic reach was great! People were sharing, liking, and commenting organically. The key was amazing content that gets people emotionally invested. Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.26 AMIn the first 24 hours the organic reach went up to 7,721! What amazing reach for a Facebook page with only 647 fans(before the video was posted). When I felt like the organic reach was starting to come off its highest point, I activated a $25 boost to fans and friends of fans of the CASA page.  As you can see below, as the organic reach dropped I used the boost to help increase its reach to the community.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.03.21 AM

The result were 16,838 total reach with 6,753 of those being paid. Thats amazing! The difference: amazing content people wanted to see! Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.00.29 AM

Now lets dig into the video statistics. Of that 16,838 people who saw the post there were 7,052 people who watched the video. 17% of those reached with the post watched some of the video. Now we can see through the audience retention panel that very few made it very far into the video. But the vast majority that made it 45 seconds in, made it to the end of the video. 7.15% of the 7,052 people who watched it at all is: 504. 504 people watched the entire video!

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.04.47 AM

Now in our context, the video was nearly 6 minutes long. It was a time investment for our audience to watch. This video was designed more for presentations than social media viewing. The story was too long to fit into an ideal :30-1:30 video. I feel like the 504 is a great number for completing the video.

We can also learn from the Facebook stats that the average watch time was 42 seconds. I also know that that if they made it 1 minute in, almost all of those watchers made it the rest of the way through the video.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.06.30 AM

What other measurable things did we get? The page gained 32 new likes and the post had 418 likes in total. 101 on the pages post and 317 on the shares of the original post. This is an impressive number. There were also 63 shares. People loved the content. The content is king!

All of these measurable point to a marketing win for a small nonprofit that just had the chance to get in front of 16,800 people for a very small amount of money!


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Instagram releases new image size!

Instagram released a new image size a few weeks ago and did so by partnering with the new Star Wars move. This was a great marketing move as lots of people were excited about the movie and its popularity allowed it to skyrocket up the new style without having to directly point it out.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.19.18 AM

This new perspective width gives you more letterbox format. This means that you can now take a photo in landscape mode on your iPhone and get the entire photo onto Instagram.

For more people this just means there will be more food in your Instagram feed but it will allow some more creativity in the Instagram space.

Now if we could just schedule posts in Instagram and have multiple accounts…….

Facebook now has stock photos!

Facebook is making strides to be more friendly to advertisers. From the inclusion of a support staff for questions to increasingly opening more and more analytics and targeting options, Facebook is actively striving to make the experience better for advertisers.

One step they have taken is to add free stock photos for ads on their page. More than just stock photos, they are from ShutterStock, which is one of the premier providers of stock photos on the internet. Even if you have a photographer or imagery this might help in a pinch.

For example: While working on a recent ad for my business, the option was given to me to use “Free Stock Images”.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.49.21 PM

They also preload some images they thought I might like based on my product.

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 1.49.46 PM


This is a great product upgrade for Facebook. But almost always, photos of your product and service will be better that stock photos.



A Reckoning is Coming: Digital Data is better than Traditional Media

The post is a part of a series of blogs about traditional media’s data quality versus digital data. 
Subscribe to my email list to make sure you see the other parts of this series.
You can read part 1 here and part 3 here. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 4.59.54 PM


I believe a reckoning is coming about the quality of data that traditional media is able to give us. As I mentioned in my last post, the metrics that traditional media (newspapers, tv, radio) gives us is not of good quality.

Digital media offers a quality of data that traditional media cannot touch. This is something I have become more aware of as I have become part owner of a digital media journalism group called: “Our Jackson Home“. While preparing to sell advertising on the website and podcast I realized that I had something that other companies could not offer: I can bring amazing data to the table. This data also reminds me that privacy is dead in the internet age. In fact there is beginning to be a market of companies that sell privacy through apps or devices (see Mark Cuban’s CyberDust). With free tools like Google Analytics I can tell exactly how many people visited my website, how long they were on there, where they are from (down to the city), approximate demographics, what operating system their device was running and how they navigated through my site. Also and most importantly for Our Jackson Home, I can tell an advertiser how many people saw their ads and how many clicked on their ads. 

Podcasts offer a similar set of data. We can tell exactly how many people started listening to the podcast and what device they listened to it on. Unlike radio which I propose works from a assumption of its listeners not paying full attention, podcasts are intentionally downloaded and listened to. Generally ads on a podcast are designed to be more engaging and are written for the target demographic of the listening audience of the podcast instead of a ad targeted to a demographic of the listening audience of the radio station. This sounds like a slight semantic difference but it is a huge real difference.

Email Marketing is a great way to communicate with customers. It is one of my favorite ways to reach out to customers for my clients. With good email clients like Mailchimp, you can get pretty in depth data on each of your email subscribers. You can see who has and has not read your campaigns and then using filters communicate with your best and worst customers. With the proper integrations of software you can track someone from email to website to online purchase. Its an amazing world we live in.

Ad targeting and cost: One of the best things about digital advertising for business is that on some platforms like Facebook and Google Ads you can spend as little or as much as you want. You can literally spend $5 or $5000 on Facebook or Google Ad Campaigns. In addition to this you target your ads to the groups of people you want to and know that they are really getting your message. You can also engage people who are already looking for your product with Google Ads.

I think one of the reasons that the NFL just announced its first completely online game. (Other reasons being: 1. Its being played in England 2. Bills and Jags have smaller fan bases and 3. People are moving off of cable.)  Why is there a correlation? I think the large national advertisers are already feeling the need to start getting better data. Once a tv show or sporting event has moved online they can collect the same quality of data that I can on my website here in Jackson. They will be attractive to powerful marketing firms and companies.

I still feel there is a place for local traditional marketing in your planning but I willl write about that in my next post.

Sign up for the monthly email if you would like to make sure that you wont miss a post of this series.

Facebook gets less free.

Dont Just stand there!

Dont Just stand there!

Facebook is getting less free. I blogged about this previously but now Facebook is going to further push for paid ads. I am not sure how much further this can go but it may eventually get to where no one that likes your Facebook page unless you pay for the ad. It will become more comparable to TV. You may have  TV commercial and people maybe a fan of your business but unless you pay the station your ad will not running!

Check out the Wall Street Journal article on Facebook restricting reach: New Facebook Rules will Sting Entrepreneurs.

So what do you do instead? Well don’t just stand there,  build non rented marketing channels. Get permission from your fans to communicate to them. Try using email and I like to use MailChimp.

Facebook Local Awareness

Man holding iPhone

Man holding iPhone

Facebook is flexing it’s big data muscles again by introducing Facebook Local Awareness.

Facebook is now using your location to sell ads. Nothing new right? They could already place ads in front of people in your city but now they are taking it to the next level. By using the location system on your phone (that is my assumption, I am not sure of the technology behind the program) they are able to target ads within a distance as mile away from the brick and mortar location of a store/event.

With Facebook Local Awareness you can now target people driving past your store. From a marketing angle this is awesome. A few scenarios: being near a college campus and setting your food discounts to that area. Coffee shop in a business district? Send the ad to all the workers about a special on coffee.  Near the interstate? You can set your ad far enough out from your location to pick up the major gas stations.

There are several ways you can set the goals for the ad. I think the real trick here will be for “Offer”. This will allow retail and restaurants to help drive foot traffic. Other services such as a mechanic could use this to gain likes for the neighborhood they serve.

Local Awareness

As a consumer it might be a little scary.

Check out Facebook Awarenesss here.

I am going to try and do a case study with this new tool soon and will post the results on the blog.

On why Email is better than Facebook for marketing.

A new Marketing Charts came to my email this week.

Stats on Most Effective Digital Marketing Efforts

Facebook has investors. When you have to pay share holders you always need to be generating more revenue. Facebook has become increasingly more commercialized since it’s IPO. Now a company’s Facebook posts will get to 6% or less of their fans! Ridiculous! Organic reach has been significantly dropping (via Tech Crunch):

  • Feb 2012 = 16%
  • Sep 2013 = 12.60%
  • Nov 2013 = 10.15%
  • Dec 2013 = 7.83%
  • Mar 2014 = 6.51%

Why does Organic reach drop? So you can spend money to reach the fans you have worked hard to collect.

But this should be a  warning to all marketers for all social channels. Social Media networks control the flow of information. They will use that control after gaining our dependence for marketing. Twitter just proudly told everyone that 30% of a company’s followers will see their posts. I am predicting this will begin to drop as the need for revenue increases. After all Twitter has only been publicly traded for less than a year. It is conceivable that they will take a similar course as Facebook.

This is why email will become more and more crucial to marketers. Email does not require a channel owned by a interested party. The only thing that keeps your open rate low is the quality of your list and the quality of your content.

It is up to you.

Maybe that is the scary part but it is also the easiest to fix.