Facebook has taken advertisements to a whole new level by featuring augmented reality ads in users’ newsfeed.
The news is not relatively new per se, as, at the F8 developer conference that took place earlier this year, the company announced that it has started to work with businesses to showcase augmented reality ads. This was being done in an effort to show their products in AR on the Facebook Messenger app.
Previously, augmented reality was tested and used by makeup brands such as Rimmel.
Rimmel London, in order to help people decide the right kind of makeup suitable for them, tried and tested augmented reality ads. By letting users try on makeup virtually to get a better idea about how it would look on them in real. However, its application – which went by the name of Get The Look – barely got any downloads (10,000). The reviews for the app were also mostly negative. Not a great start for AR ads. There are other succesful examples, like Chanel implementing AR on-site, making it much easier to adapt for users.
As Facebook boasts its new AR ad formats, companies will be able to tap into the company’s huge customer base of 44 million users monthly in the UK. The base is larger worldwide.
As of now, L’Oreal is making rounds as the first beauty enterprise to test the new tool and the new ad format with its infamous NYX Professional brand. It’s being said that it will add an immense amount to the company’s marketing effort. Their app has already gained about 10,000 downloads per month. Moreover, in the last month, L’Oreal’s Facebook posts had about 111,000 impressions.
The integration of L’Oreal’s effort with Facebook goes on to show that companies can tap into a base of millions with the right efforts. It also shows integration is and will always be the important factor. Looking at the case of Rimmel London, without the right integration of companies with the right platforms, things really can’t work out. While Rimmel used augmented reality, it did not have the right platform with the right customer base, which made its app fail. Although it should be a good test for Rimmel. An expensive test.
While commenting on Facebook’s move to tap into augmented reality, Ty Ahmad-Taylor, the VP of product marketing for the company’s global marketing solutions said, “People have been going to stores to try on things”. Adding further, he said, “While people may still enjoy doing that, the ability to try on products such as sunglasses and makeup virtually would bridge the gap”.
Amongst the brands that have tried Facebook’s augmented ads are big names such as Michael Kors, Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Pottery Barn, Bobbi Brown, and others. Further, these ads look quite ‘normal’ in news feeds. However, they come with a ‘tap to try on’ button that let you explore the AR capabilities. Once you like the look of the product or its feel, you can buy it. It’s like shopping, but without the people. And without actually seeing what it looks like.
Facebook has also announced the introduction of a new Video Creation Kit that will allow the advertisers to incorporate current images in templates for the mobile video ads. Even that seems promising as Noom, a weight loss company, tried the tool and reported 77% better results compared to static images.
It’s of course yet to be seen how this ad format will catch up, as it’s quite specific for retailers and may not be the least intrusive format available. As privacy debates heat up, giving advertisers and platforms access to your webcam feels like a strange thing to do – for me at least. Then again, creating an environment at home where users can simply try on things like Snapchat filter can be appealing. It’s a ‘time will tell’ case until there’s some data available, but a clear indication of where Facebook thinks there’s money to be made.