Update 4/14/2016: F8 is complete and so many great new Facebook features have emerged onto the social media scene. For a top 10 list of new Facebook features, check out our post here!

One of the most highly anticipated conferences of the year, Facebook’s F8, is almost here!

Taking place on April 12 and 13 in Fort Mason, San Francisco, F8 is sure to deliver excitement for marketers, publishers, and developers alike. And if this year’s conference is anything like the 2015 version, we’re certainly in for a treat.

Facebook F8, Facebook, social media, conferences, F8, developers

It was only one year ago that Facebook announced a few awesome features which many of us could not imagine life without today. Here’s a quick recap of F8 2015

  • New Messenger Platform for Developers
  • Allowing Users to Connect Directly with Businesses on Messenger
  • Support of 360 Degree Videos
  • New Mobile Analytics Tool
  • Embeddable Videos
  • How Facebook Paid Out More than $8B to Developers
  • More Than 30M Apps Have Been Made Using Facebook’s Platform

In honor of the conference, we’d love to give everyone a preview of F8 2016, including why it’s important for marketers, publishers, and developers, what we can expect from Facebook (and Instagram), important sessions for you to keep an eye on, and the most enticing announcement rumors. 

We’ll be tweeting live the major announcements from Facebook on Buffer’s Twitter both days of the conference – we’d love for you to follow along! Once F8 is all said and done, we’ll update this post with all of the most important announcements and so if you miss any of the action on Twitter you’ll find all of that great stuff here.

A brief history of F8

Facebook F8 is a “mostly-annual” conference (no conferences were held in 2009, 2012, or 2013) intended for industry professionals who build products or services around Facebook and use it to grow their brands and businesses.  

The name “F8” is derived from a very cool and very important long-running tradition within Facebook’s culture – the 8 hour hackathon. At Facebook, hackathons are a chance for employees to work on a passion project, i.e., the ideas they don’t have time to tackle during a regular work day. F8 is an opportunity to share those “extra 8 hours” with the community at large.

What this translates to is the F8 conference serving as a venue for Facebook to unveil new integrations, open source technologies and the latest immersive experiences.

Why it’s important

The F8 conference is a great opportunity for developers, publishers, marketers, and entrepreneurs to get a sense for where the biggest name in social media is heading in 2016 and beyond. Many of the announcements they make will have an immediate and direct impact on social media and so it’s certainly beneficial to keep an ear to the ground. 

This year’s event features more than 40 sessions along with product announcements, interactive demos and the opportunity to get one-on-one help from the Facebook team.

On top of that, Facebook owns a whole host of rising and established stars such as: Instagram, Oculus, LiveRail, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Internet.org and so it’s a chance for us all to get a sneak peak into those technologies as well. 

Key sessions to keep an eye on

If we had to choose one, the session that we’re super excited about here at Buffer and the one that will most likely draw the greatest amount of attention is Mark Zuckerberg’s Keynote. According to director of platform product Deborah Liu, we’ll “hear from Mark about how Facebook is helping developers build, grow and monetize success, and where we’re headed in the future.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, F8, Facebook F8, developers, marketing

There are two keynote sessions scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th at 10:00 a.m. PST and Wednesday, April 13th at 10:00 a.m. PST.

For those unable to attend, the keynote, sessions, and exclusive interviews will be video-streamed live the days of the event. Those interested in watching can sign up for free on the F8 Developer Conference website. 

A few other sessions we’re really looking forward to:

Tuesday, April 12th

  • The Future of Video on Facebook  (12:30 p.m. PST)
  • Growth Marketing: Best Practices for Getting and Keeping an Audience (1:30 p.m. PST)
  • Best Practices for Advertising on Facebook & Instagram (2:30 p.m. PST)
  • Marketing APIs: Marketing Automation Has a Competitive Advantage (3:30 p.m. PST)

Wednesday, April 13th

  • Messenger: The Future of Communications (12:00 p.m. PST)
  • Facebook Audience Network: Mobile Monetization for Publishers (1:00 p.m. PST)
  • An Inside Look at Live Video Streaming at Facebook (2:00 p.m. PST) 

If you’d like to explore the full F8 agenda, you may do so right here. Otherwise, you can live stream the event or join us for the two days on Twitter as we keep you updated on major news and happenings. 

Rumors around major announcements at F8 2016

Instagram’s algorithmic timeline

Facebook rocked the social media world in March with their announcement that an algorithm-based timeline is coming soon to Instagram. The change may be a focal point during F8 as to what this will mean for both individuals and businesses. We wouldn’t be surprised if an official date was announced for the timeline to go into effect. 

Instant Articles

We also know that Facebook plans to roll out Instant Articles to publishers this week. Placing a huge emphasis on user experience and satisfaction, we’re sure to learn more about the importance of Instant Articles moving forward. Publishers willing to display their content natively within the Facebook app may see big results down the line.

Facebook Live

Facebook recently launched a dedicated hub for watching Live and recorded videos within its mobile app. Needless to say, Facebook is heavily interested and invested in delivering real-time, personalized video to their users via Facebook Live

Mark Zuckerberg recently said that, “Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world.” A large portion of F8 may very well be focused on providing answers to the hundreds questions that developers, publishers, and marketers will have about best-practices in utilizing and optimizing Live. 

We may even learn about advanced Live features for publishers such as multiple camera angles, graphics, and more polished TV-style production values.

Updates to Messenger

More additions may be coming to Facebook Messenger. According to Marketing Land, Facebook will announce at F8 that publishers will be able to distribute content directly through Messenger to users.

While we don’t know exactly what this will look like, we do know that will open up an entirely new distribution platform for brands. That’s huge considering that Facebook Messenger is used by more than 900 million people around the world per month. 

Last, but not least, one has to wonder with the announcement of Facebook opening up Messenger as a distribution channel for publishers in the near future – will ads be coming to messenger? Or, at the very least, will Facebook make an effort to monetize the Messenger platform? With the addition of content, Facebook’s objective of developing it into a distinct platform is well on its way. 

Over to you

What announcements, products, changes, or features are you most excited about for the F8 Developer Conference? 

We’d love to hear your thoughts below on where Facebook is headed next!

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Written by Brian Peters

Humbled and grateful to be living the social media life at Buffer! California coast born and raised, but always on the go with my lovely wife Katelyn. Love reading, designing, writing, running and adventuring.

  • Lewis, DM Pilot Co-Founder

    Nice post Brian!

    Got to be honest and say I don’t see the point in Facebook Articles. Completely willing to be proven wrong and will of course need to see how it is implemented, but at the moment I cannot see any advantage of publishing my content straight to FB.

    Will also be interested to see what Facebook Live can do to differentiate itself from Periscope and get people off Periscope and onto Facebook Live.

    • Brian Peters

      Thanks, Lewis! 🙂 Really loving your insights here – I am interested to see how this all shakes out as well (with Articles and Live). Only time will tell what Facebook does to differentiate themselves from all of the other great apps out there!

      • Lewis, DM Pilot Co-Founder

        Cheers Brian 🙂

        Would be great to see a follow up from you about your thoughts after seeing all Facebook has to offer at F8.

        • Brian Peters

          Cheers to you as well 🙂

          Would love to put that together! I’ll most likely add an “update” section to this post after all is said and done. Would love to hear your thoughts on F8 after it’s over as well!

          • Lewis, DM Pilot Co-Founder

            Will do my best to jump on and throw up a comment.

          • Brian Peters

            Sounds great to me! 🙂

  • Very curious to see what they unveil and answer at Facebook F8. I’ll be watching live online and following along on Twitter too! 🙂

    • Brian Peters

      Woohoo! Thanks, Steve – Looking forward to seeing what they unveil and answer as well! Would love to connect on Twitter the day of 🙂

  • Excited for the Wednesday session on Facebook profile videos.

    • Brian Peters

      Ooooh yes, that will be a great one as well! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Appreciate the roundup of the event. I’m curious about the Messenger news as my association hasn’t tapped that yet. Look forward to future summaries of the sessions.

    • Brian Peters

      Our pleasure, Kristy! 🙂 Thanks for the comment – We’re looking forward to writing future summaries as well. Please let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see on the blog!

  • Rodrigo Reis

    I think one big announcement will be the release of the Messenger API so developers/brands can build bots to communicate with users.. this is gonna be next revolution of the Internet.. The same way apps were the next big thing in 2008, bots are the new big thing for 2016.. I think bots are the new apps.

    • Brian Peters

      You totally called it, Rodrigo 🙂 Nice! Really looking forward to seeing how businesses implement the bots within messenger and how people utilize them in 2016. Do you have any plans to experiment with them?

      • Rodrigo Reis

        Thanks Brian.
        Bots are really early and I don’t think marketers discovered how to leverage them yet.. Think about how marketers started using email marketing many years ago and no one knew what they were doing.. I think it will be the same with messaging bots now, whoever discover the formula for marketing inside bots will win.
        I was disappointed by the bots presented by Facebook.. Poncho (the weather bot) is too dumb and it’s easier going to Google and ask the weather… Bots only make sense when the interaction to get what you want is shortened, not everyone likes to type a lot.. for some things we like to point and use gestures..
        So I think the bots who understand the context and are smart will be really useful.
        And yes, we’re building intelligent bots to engage with Sports Fans and Sports Events. Send me an email ( [email protected] ) if you want to know more 🙂

        PS: I love Buffer culture, keep it up guys.

        • Brian Peters

          Wow, Rodrigo, that sounds like an amazing initiative with what you’re doing with bots. Sounds like that’s the sort of thing that will be super applicable with bots in the future. You’re totally right though, stuff like checking the weather is a very basic start to bots, but the real value will come when they cut down on time it takes to complete a task.

          Thanks for the awesome insights there!

          I’ll shoot you an email 🙂 Would love to hear more about your project!

  • vimala ellappan

    nice post..exicited to see f8…read me at http://cosmicfreq.blogspot.in/

  • Oxair Online

    Let’s See that what this F* conference will bring. But one thing is for sure that more and more monetization is heading towards the platform. I wish that FB will going to share that amount with advertizers & marketers too 🙂

    • Brian Peters

      Hehe, we’re with you on that one Oxair 🙂 It’ll be really interesting to see how Facebook evolves in the future with monetization.

      • Yeah, I wish that monetization and other features should be placed in-front of the audience & specially marketers.

  • Chris Atkinson

    Facebook Live sounds interesting, not too sure about Articles to be honest but always welcome new initiatives so will wait and see on that one!!

    • Brian Peters

      Totally! Thanks for sharing there, Chris 🙂 We’re excited about Live as well, but we’ll see how “mainstream” Instant Articles go and if people respond well to them!

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    https://smm2016blog.wordpress.com

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