Marketing professionals will be well aware that their profession is a fast-paced field, defined by regular changes that significantly affect their overall strategies. This has always been the case, but in the era of online marketing, it has arguably become more true than ever before.

Over the last few days, this has been exemplified by new policy announcements from Facebook and Apple that could potentially have significant implications for the way in which businesses of all sizes promote their brand. Marketers need to be aware of this if they do not want to risk getting left behind.

In the case of Facebook, the latest steps it is taking are specifically designed to make it easier for companies and clients to interact, and promise to open up new and more effective channels of communication that could drive engagement and sales if used correctly.

The social media giant will be making a number of changes to the functionality of its pages to introduce new calls to action, such as ‘message me’, ‘contact us’ and ‘call me’, which can be displayed prominently on company pages.

Businesses will also have the option of adding one of two new sections to their profiles: a shop section that enables retail companies to display their products, or a services section that lets companies provide a listing of their service offerings at the top of the page.

Additionally, communications will be facilitated with a feature that lets business owners reply with a private message when someone posts a comment, allowing potentially sensitive discussions to take place out of the public forum.

Business pages that reply to 90 per cent of messages within five minutes on average will now get a green badge, thus incentivising better responsiveness.

Alongside these changes to the main Facebook website, the company has confirmed that it will be opening its Instagram photo-sharing platform to all advertisers by the end of September 2015.

Businesses of all sizes are now able to advertise on Instagram across more than 30 markets, with new features for the app including a landscape format for images and videos. Advertisers will also be able to make use of 30 seconds for videos, instead of the 15 seconds currently available.

The ultimate aim is to increase engagement further by encouraging users to shop through these ads or to play a game within the Instagram interface.

However, not all changes are designed to make life easier for advertisers, and it is equally important for companies to be aware of these shifts. Apple recently announced that it will be ushering in ad-blocker extensions to its Safari browser on iPhones for the first time certainly falls into this category.

Its iOS 9 operating system will allow content blocking extensions such as AdBlock to be installed, letting users prevent certain cookies, images, pop-ups and other content from being downloaded. This was previously only possible by jailbreaking the device, and the move could mean that companies that advertise online will find it harder to achieve the visibility they are looking for with their campaigns.

By staying abreast of these developments and adjusting their strategy accordingly, marketers may be able to get a leg up on their less agile rivals and stake their claim for a larger share of an evolving consumer landscape.

Facebook unveils updates to help businesses interact with customers, The Guardian

Instagram opens platform to brands and introduces 30-second ads. Campaign.

Adblock Plus pips Apple to ad blocking on iPhones and iPads. Marketing.