Need-to-Know Facebook Features

Contributing writer: Sarah Sonies

UPDATED – January 19, 2017:

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would no longer pay publishers to produce and broadcast Facebook Live videos despite investing more than $50 million last year paying publishers and celebrities. Many of these contracts are not expected to be renewed this year. This marks a major change in the live content strategy for Facebook, but isn’t necessarily bad news.

One reasoning behind the shift is said to be a resource one — a majority of the money doled out was in smaller amounts, in many cases, not making the time spent on the videos for publishers and video editors a worthy expenditure. Additionally, sources say that this is part of a strategy to encourage accounts to publish longer-form videos (think similar to Netflix or Hulu).

That said, paid content or not, we think social media video will continue to be a mainstay and will not only continue to open doors for content creativity, but will become a staple for communication practices.


On February 4, 2004 in a dorm room in Cambridge, Mass., a social networking site was launched by 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and friends. Little did they know that their directory-style platform would quickly grow into the global social media phenomenon known as Facebook. Almost 13 years later, it has more than 1.71 billion monthly active users, making Facebook the most popular social media platform in the world.

While Facebook is first and foremost a place for people to stay connected with family and friends, more than 50 million business, companies and organizations have taken advantage of the platform to engage their audiences via Facebook pages.

With more than a decade of enhancements meant to improve the user experience, here are the need-to-know features to keep in mind whether you are a Facebook veteran or newbie.


Real-time video shared with followers.

  • Behind the scenes moments, panels, fireside chats, town halls and interviews can be captured.
  • Followers are notified of events to draw attention to them.
  • Be wary of metrics, as Facebook has inflated view counts in the past.

Instant articles

Long-form content published directly to Facebook from your organizational website or blog.

  • According to Facebook, instant articles have 30 percent more shares than mobile web articles, and users are 70 percent less likely to abandon instant articles than mobile web articles.
  • A web developer is required for initial installation.
  • If you use WordPress for your organizational blog, consider the Page Frog plug-in to help with publishing.


Full screen ad service designed to mimic mobile website experiences and decrease load time.

  • It allows interactive elements like animations, carousels, product catalogs, tilt-to-view images and videos.
  • Different versions of a Canvas can be targeted to different demographics, just like normal Facebook ads.
  • According to Tech Crunch, 53 percent of users that open a Canvas view at least half of it, and the average view time is a stunning 31 seconds.
Also read: Facebook’s Instant Articles: Mobile Platform of the Future?