One report shows that Facebook now has more than 80 million business pages – a boost of over 20 percent from last year. The same report shows that nearly 80 percent of American consumers have discovered products on Facebook that they add to their shopping lists. More importantly, Facebook recently became the top platform for business-to-customer and business-to-business operations.

Therefore, it makes sense that Facebook executives and developers have focused on improving the user-friendly experience for prospective and existing customers alike. In fact, there are several major Facebook changes in 2019 that all business owners and brand marketers should consider taking advantage of right away:

Facebook Pages

The Facebook page for businesses and brands has changed drastically in recent months to align with the platform’s goal of making it more user-friendly for its users. With a fresh new interface, Facebook has already transformed how the pages appear to consumers and fans. However, the platform also worked hard to redesign the Facebook Business Manager to give brand marketers and business owners a more efficient and user-friendly experience behind the scenes as well. Some of the major Facebook changes for 2019 to its business pages include:

  • Recommendations: The “Reviews” section has now been changed to “Recommendations.” This makes the featured brand more transparent by allowing its visitors and prospective customers to base their expectations on the experiences of past customers.
  • Improved Design for Mobile App: A redesign for the mobile app makes Facebook Business Pages much easier to access and navigate on the go – which should boost engagement and exposure as well for brands that take advantage of it.

Facebook Groups

The value of Facebook groups will rise throughout 2019 thanks to several key features that have been added within it.

  • Invitations to the Group: For instance, the invitation system has been revamped to allow users to accept or decline invitations. In the past, if a friend added you to a random group, you instantly became a member – whether you were interested or not. By placing the control of the invitation process in the hands of each individual user, you have a better chance of reaching your target audience and effectively engaging incoming members without coming across like spam in their news feeds.
  • Reminder Notifications for Prospective Members: Another new feature in Facebook groups for 2019 is the reminder notifications that you can send out to prospective members. Instead of just aimlessly inviting whomever pops up in your feed at random, this allows you to remind your past invitees to accept or decline your offer. This prevents those leads from just slipping through the cracks without a trace.

There are several other features that can mean substantial boosts in your exposure and conversion rate – such the ability to rearrange a top-ten list of your favorite groups and a possibility of in-group sponsorship opportunities and advertisements.

Facebook Messenger

During the annual developer conference hosted by Facebook, it was announced that Facebook Messenger would be redesigned as a lightweight application known for its speed and efficiency. According to the specifications, it launches in less than 2 seconds, has a file size that does not exceed 30MB and is still packed with quite a few features that its predecessors did not include.

  • Watch Parties: With users collectively spending nearly 2 billion minutes daily watching videos on Facebook, it makes sense that Facebook Messenger now comes with a “watch party” feature that allows friends to enjoy videos at the same time – perhaps through a group video conference of group text. This means that your engaging content could receive a major boost of exposure and traffic simply by being featured in a “watch party” through this app.
  • End-to-End Encryption: CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stressed the importance of a “privacy-focused” remodeling for Facebook in general. This was implemented within Facebook Messenger thanks to its end-to-end encryption which will reduce the presence of data harvesting scams and security breaches.
  • Appointment Scheduling: Another upcoming feature that has business owners and brand managers excited is the addition of an appointment booking program within Messenger. With more than 40 million businesses actively using Messenger to communicate with customers, it makes perfect sense why Facebook would develop a system that allows customers to schedule, modify or cancel appointments within this popular social media platform. Just think about what that will do for the efficiency of your overall business operation!

Facebook Stories

Integrated stories seemed to work wonders for Instagram, so it is not surprising that Facebook has jumped onboard the same train and put this feature to work for its own users. A major change in 2019 is that Facebook Stories will allow brands and businesses to create advertisements and promotional experiences using this option. It is not quite as popular as Instagram Stories just yet. However, statistics show that an increasing number of social media users are engaging with Facebook Stories – which is a great sign for brand marketers to consider.

Facebook Events

Facebook Events received a major makeover for 2019 as well – new interface, new menu bar setup and an efficient map view that makes it easy to see where interesting events are in proximity to each user. Users can express their interest in upcoming events, browse through the ones hosted specifically by their friends and even organize their calendars within their Facebook accounts. This can work well for your brand for your physical events (i.e. trade shows, book signings, performances, trainings) but also for the virtual events that you may want to schedule (i.e. webinars, video conferences, podcasts, book launch parties).

Facebook Watch

Facebook has clearly been taking notes from YouTube with its revamp of its own Facebook Watch option. One of the major Facebook changes in 2019 will include a new featured known as “Series” that will allow video makers to post episodic programming on their regular pages and their video pages for additional exposure opportunities. This makes it widely known that Facebook’s objective for Facebook Watch has changed to open the platform up for all types of videos from anyone who wants to post them. Perhaps this is the year when you would like to experiment with using Facebook Watch to engage more of your own target customers and audience members!

Facebook Timeline

The Facebook algorithm that controls the platform’s Timeline feature for users has undergone major changes within the past year to put the user more in control of their own feeds. For instance, the company has cracked down a lot on the advertisements and promotional content that seemed to “force” its way into news feeds in the past – regardless if the users wanted to see it or not.

One of the major Facebook changes in 2019 is the addition of a “Why Am I Seeing This?” button featured in a top corner of each post. This allows users to provide a level of feedback and insight to brand marketers that they have never been able to do as easily before – which falls in line with Facebook’s overall goal of making the application more responsible and transparent regarding personal information and confidential data.

The Name of the Game is Engagement

You may want to dive into your Facebook Business Manager and explore all the new features just like a young child ripping apart the box of a new toy. Before you do, though,  you should remember that your primary objective is engagement and exposure. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your current growth potential and incoming traffic by diving into the major Facebook changes in 2019 without a clear and concise strategy. Take the time to study and do more research on these changes to identify which ones will present the most value for your brand.