Facebook is giving a select number of advertisers access to augmented reality (AR) ads that run in the News Feed and is testing a new tool that will help brands create mobile video ads using existing images and video footage.
Already used as part of a Michael Kors ad campaign that allowed users to “try on” and then purchase sunglasses, the AR ads will be tested by a variety of brands in the fashion accessory, cosmetics, furniture, gaming and entertainment markets. The AR element of the ads uses camera effects so that users can virtually try out different aspects of a product, and then take an action via the ad.
“With the introduction of AR ads in Facebook News Feed, people can experiment with your brand’s AR camera effects in just one click from your ad. And by incorporating calls-to-action within the camera experience, people can seamlessly go from engaging with your product — such as trying on a lipstick shade or exploring a new game — to making a purchase or installing an app,” writes Facebook on its Business blog.
Michael Kors Facebook AR ads
Going off brand AR experiences in Messenger (versus AR ads), Facebook touted the success brands have seen using AR on its messaging platform. The company says ASUS had, on average, 10 times the engagement with their AR experiences on Messenger compared to experiences that didn’t include AR. Kia also had success with AR on Messenger, using an AR experience coupled with a click-to Messenger ad campaign that drove a 46 percent increase in daily average dealer inventory searches and a 20 percent increase in daily calls to dealerships.
While Facebook is framing its new AR ad push to align with the upcoming holiday season, not all advertisers will have access to the AR ads. Initially tested by the fashion brand Michael Kors, Facebook named a short list of brands — Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King — that will be testing the AR ads during their summer campaigns. Facebook said it plans to roll out AR ads more broadly over the course of 2018 but did not offer any specific dates or say which industries will gain access to the them.
In addition to testing AR ads, the company is rolling out a Video Creation Kit that lets advertisers create video ads optimized for mobile viewing using existing images and video footage. Advertisers will be able to upload images or videos and add overlays or logos to build ads for Facebook News Feed, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook’s Audience Network.
One company, Noom, was given early access to the Video Creation Kit and says the ads it created using the tool resulted in a 77 percent increase in performance compared to their static image ads on Facebook.
“We’d seen a growing need for a solution that could help us quickly and efficiently scale our video efforts on Facebook,” says Noom’s director of growth marketing, Sam Wheatley. “Using the Video Creation Kit, we were able to upload existing static assets and turn them into mobile-optimized videos through the use of Facebook’s ready-to-use templates.”
Facebook shared the following video to show how Noom used the Video Creation Kit to create its ads:
Like the AR ads, the Video Creation Kit is in testing. Facebook says it will start rolling out to all advertisers in August.
Ty Ahmad-Taylor, VP of product marketing and global marketing solutions at Facebook, says the app is seeing video become the preferred medium for product discovery on mobile.
“People now expect a personalized and visually inspiring experience wherever they shop — whether they’re on their phone or in-store, which is why video will play an increasingly important role in the mobile shopping experience,” says Ahmad-Taylor. To drive home its point, Facebook shared figures from Wyzowl’s 2017 “State of Video Marketing” report that found 79 percent of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text to further push its video ad efforts.
The company has made a number of recent pushes in video across its properties, the biggest news being the launch of IGTV last month. There has been smaller video ad related news as well. Last month, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company was “in the beginning stages” of adding autoplay video ads to Messenger. It also rolled out new video metrics for Page owners two months ago and, in June, opened Watch, Facebook’s video hub, to creators.