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The Rise of a Vertically Integrated Media Company — a Facebook f8 Recap

IMG_4442 (1)Last week, I had an epiphany at Facebook’s annual f8 conference, which brought together the tech developer community to talk about how to build better apps and businesses across all platforms and devices. I saw the rise of a totally vertically integrated media company where content, communications, commerce, audience and advertising were all neatly wrapped up with a bow on a single platform called Facebook.
My biggest “aha” moment came from watching Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speak about the evolution of sharing. You see, in the early days it was all about text. Then it moved on to images (hence the acquisition of Instagram), and now video, with Facebook rolling out a series of new video experiences for users, video producers, and brands.
What’s more, I gathered that sharing will evolve to virtual reality experiences in the very near future (think Occulus and the strong suggestion that virtual reality and artificial intelligence will soon play a huge role in everyone’s lives).
Amazing to me was that this evolution wasn’t about the most life-like way to share a cat video or what you had for breakfast, it was about sharing and broadcasting content at large. In other words, content in any format can now be targeted at exactly the right audience at the moment they are most receptive to it.
Not only is Facebook a platform where you can browse for content and rely on serendipity to discover where content is recommended to you by your friends who know you best, it is a place where content can find you based on your stated interests.
For the everyday consumer, that content could be the mundane (cat video) or it could be the profound, as in the example Zuckerberg gave of sharing moments of a trip to Venice.
Venice photo timelineMedia companies and brands — which are rapidly becoming the same thing (but that’s another discussion) — can use these same immersive, targeted experiences to tell stories and provide information to their audiences.
The sophisticated targeting on Facebook means you can aim both content and advertising to exactly the right audience. Want to target a piece of content to 35-45 years olds? No problem. Within that content, do you want to target advertising only to females 35-45 years old? Facebook has you covered. No wasted ad-spend here.
Presentation after presentation demonstrated that Facebook is one of the premiere platforms to share any sort of content, be it personal, professional or corporate.
Moreover, the phrase “If content isn’t spread, it’s dead” has never rang so true. As a brand, agent or advisor, if you have amazing content that isn’t shared by your audience to their audiences, it isn’t making any more sound than the proverbial tree falling in the forest when no one is present.
All in all, through its reach, targeting capabilities, and both organic and paid distribution options, Facebook is ensuring that content producers, be they cat and breakfast enthusiasts, brand or agents, or Pulitzer prize winning publications, can locate, zero-in on, and engage exactly the right audience at exactly the right time.
Ron Piovesan is VP of Strategic Alliances at Hearsay Social and a frequent contributor to the Blog. 
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Happy 10th Anniversary Facebook!

Ten years ago today, Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launched a website called thefacebook.com. Unlike MySpace, Friendster and other social networks of the time, Facebook was designed to help college students stay in touch with each other, work collaboratively on projects and share ideas.

From left to right: Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Mark Zuckerberg
From left to right: Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Mark Zuckerberg

As students flocked to its platform, the social network quickly surpassed its founders’ expectations. Originally dismissed as a passing fad, by the end of 2004 the service had over a million members worldwide and was growing exponentially.

In September of 2006, Facebook opened up to all users and surpassed 12 million members, 60% of whom checked into the site daily. After it launched self-service ads and pages functionality, businesses realized the site could also help them reach out to, connect with and grow their organizations on social.

“It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. It’s rare to be able to touch so many people’s lives, and I try to remind myself to make the most of every day and have the biggest impact I can.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

Today, Facebook is a publicly traded company with over 6,300 employees and a global audience of 1.23 billion active users. We’re excited to be a part of Facebook’s journey and to help our customers gain the most value out of their social networks.
For more information on the history of Facebook, see this timeline they published today.

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Happy tenth anniversary Facebook! We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.