Facebook’s New Augmented Reality Advertising Feature

The key to making powerful advertising content is to allow your audience to see themselves in that content. To create a meaningful connection between brand and audience, it is of paramount importance that the person being targeted relates to the content and feels as though it speaks to their world.

Perhaps there is no better way to do this than through augmented reality. A great example of augmented reality working to a brand’s benefit is Dulux’s ‘Paint Colour Visualizer’. With this online application, users can upload photos of their house, and test out different paints from the Dulux catalogue, seeing what rooms in their house would look like with different colours. This allows people to experience a product before actually purchasing it, and it’s a powerful tool. If a colour scheme they try looks perfect in the photos, chances are they will purchase those colours from Dulux.

Facebook is taking this line of thinking one step further. Although using AR to allow customers to see how a product will look on them is not a new concept, this is the first time that a major social media network has brought this technology to their audience. At its F8 developer conference in 2018, Facebook announced that it was working with businesses to use AR as a way of showing off products in Facebook messenger. Now, this experience will be integrated into the Facebook News Feed, with select advertisers trialing AR ads.

Facebook’s Vice President of product marketing Ty Ahmad-Taylor demonstrated ads which allowed shoppers to see how things like sunglasses and makeup would look other own faces, through AR. “People traditionally have to go into stores to do this,” he explains. He notes that people “really love” the notion of testing a product with AR, but that they would “like to try it at home.” Thanks to this development, now they can. Brands such as Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, and Wayfair will be some of the first to test the waters of this new online marketing frontier. The content will appear as normal News Feed ads, however, they will have a ‘tap to try it on’ option, allowing users to access the AR functionality of the ad.

One of the hardest things about the advent of online shopping is that people can’t be certain how a product will look on them. At times, something may look great in an image, but once a consumer receives the product, they could be disappointed by how it looks on them. This new technology could make that problem a thing of the past, allowing users to digitally experience a product before they purchase it, creating greater consumer confidence. In order for content and advertising to grow, it needs to be personalised for an audience, and be experiential - Facebook’s AR advertising initiative is an excellent example of a practical implication of this philosophy. Time will tell if the endeavour will be a success for the social media giant, but this technological development could change the way that consumers purchase products forever.


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