In the lead up to it’s 12th Birthday celebration last week, Facebook hit the headlines with chatter about two new updates to the platform. In a bid to make the platform more interactive, and incorporate video elements, Facebook began rolling out emoji-style reactions allowing users to express different feelings as well as introducing a live video stream similar to Twitter owned Periscope. So what do we know about the updates so far? We’re here to fill you in of course.

Facebook

Emoji-style Facebook Reactions

With the sixth largest number of Facebook users in the world, the UK is expected to have 33 million users by the end of 2016 and with 1.59 billion users on Facebook each month, it’s grown to be the largest social network of all time. Since it’s inception back in 2004, the social network has been all about simplicity - if you like something, give it a ‘Like’. But Facebook is about to get that little bit more advanced and at the end of last year, it began rolling out Facebook Reactions to users in Spain and Ireland.

You might be wondering, ‘why change something that users are so familiar with’ (hey the ‘Like’ button is clicked more than 6 billion times a day), but if you see an upsetting post or something that made you angry, the option to only ‘like’ doesn’t allow you to fully express how you feel. So, Facebook Reactions will now allow you to show how you really feel with the help of emojis labelled ‘love’, ‘wow’, ‘haha’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’ and of course ‘like’. After rolling out in Spain and Ireland since October, Facebook has since decided to remove the ‘yay’ option which wasn’t as widely accepted amongst users.

With the UK launch date unknown, we are excited for it’s release but of course it will take some time to get used to - do we ‘love’ the news of your new job or do we just ‘like’ it? Will we rush to use these emoji-style reactions at first but fall back into just ‘liking’ posts and photos when the novelty has worn off? Only time will tell. But one thing for sure, it will provide advertisers with far more complex data to be able to learn about their audience and really understand what makes them tick.

Live Streaming

If you’re quick to jump on the latest social trends, rant to your friends or keep up to date with events in real-time, you will probably have used Periscope before. Partnered with Twitter, there hasn’t been a live video option on Facebook until now and after only being available to celebrities, Facebook’s live video feature is now being rolled out to iPhone users in the US and is expected to be available to the rest of us in the ‘coming weeks’.

When you begin streaming, an alert will be sent to your Facebook friends to notify them you are streaming. When streaming, your screen will be split - the top half, displaying what your audience can see with the bottom half displaying new viewers and comments allowing you to respond while streaming.

With videos expected to make up 80% of consumer internet traffic by 2019 (from 64% in 2014) as well as each of us expected to watch 29 minutes a day of video, this move towards live-streaming is expected to lead to more people, spending even more time on this social network.

In other news, Facebook’s Messenger app has hit 800 million users (up from 700 million only six months ago) so combined with new data from Reactions and new opportunities for engagement with live video streaming, could brands make the most of Messenger to provide the best experience for their users? We think so.