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Facebook’s F8 conference was once again filled with incredibly exciting announcements. Augmented reality could be seen as the main theme of this year’s conference. From augmented masks and special effects to 360 video cameras to Facebook Spaces (an app where you can hang out with your family and friends virtually), Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook want to enable us to connect with one another a deeper level through augmented reality.
Besides augmented reality, there were also announcements about Messenger, chatbots, Facebook Analytics, Facebook Live, and more!
So, with all that said here are 5 things that marketers need to know from F8 2017.
Augmented Reality – The biggest announcement from the conference is that Facebook will be moving towards using augmented reality to connect us with our family and friends (and maybe brands).
Instead of sci-fi-looking glasses, Facebook believes that the camera will be the first mainstream augmented reality platform (think Pokémon Go).
All the cool camera features that Facebook has been releasing over the past few weeks is just the first act of its plan to integrate augmented reality into social media. Facebook has been working on a few augmented reality technologies that will allow individuals and brands to do fun and valuable things with its camera. Some examples are adding a virtual information card to objects in your camera view. Turning a 2D photo into 3D. so what does this mean for marketers? When Facebook makes augmented reality mainstream (probably within the next two or three years), marketers will have an entirely new channel for reaching and connecting with their audience, just like when social media became mainstream many years back. The possibilities could be endless!
Personally, I like the example of tapping on an object in the camera view and having an information card pop up. According to Google, 82% of smartphone users research on their phones in stores before making their purchase. Augmented reality could change the way consumers research, shop, and interact with businesses.
At the moment, the best way to get started with augmented reality on Facebook might be to create branded masks and special effects for the Facebook camera. So, let’s go through that next area marketers must pay attention to.
Camera Effects Platform – After Mark Zuckerberg shared his augmented reality vision, he launched the Facebook Camera Effects Platform – a platform that allows developers to create frames, masks, and special effects (or filters and lenses as we might be used to now) for the Facebook camera.
The two main products on this platform are Frame Studio and AR Studio.
Frame Studio is an online creative editor that allows you to create frames for photos taken with the new Facebook camera or profile photos
AR Studio is an application that lets you create animated masks and interactive effects for the new Facebook camera and Facebook Live
So, the question is what does this mean for marketers? Last year, the information reported that people are sharing less on Facebook, with a decline of 21% in original personal content. With this new platform, Facebook might be looking to encourage users to share more by making sharing more fun.
If this trend were to pick up, it would open up a great marketing for brands, just like Snapchat Geofilters did. Brands could create fun, relevant, masks, and special effects to reach their audience and then spread their reach when people share photos and videos with their creatives. The best part? It is free to create these creatives on Facebook!
With the launch of camera effects platform and Mark Zuckerberg’s huge emphasis on camera as the first augmented reality platform, Facebook may very well push such content as much as it did with live videos throughout 2016.
Facebook Spaces – The next big announcement is the launch of Facebook Spaces – a new VR app where you hang out with friends in a fun, interactive virtual environment as if you were in the same room. It is now available in the Oculus store.
With the acquisition of Oculus, Facebook wants to connect people beyond its mobile app but also in the virtual reality. Facebook Spaces will allow us to hang out with your family and friends who are not physically nearby.
So, yet again what would this mean for us marketers? Well, it will probably be 7 or more years before social VR becomes mainstream (and that is assuming that people will get o board with the idea) but it would be great for marketers to start thinking about how marketing could be done in VR.
There could be a few ways that brands can tap into the VR experience, without of course being intrusive, here there are:
Furniture companies could let customers “try out” furniture in their homes before they purchase
Travel agencies and tourism boards could let people explore certain tourist landmarks before they purchase their tickets
Clothes retailers could let customers “try out” clothes and chat with friends about them before buying
Real estate companies could let people look at houses in VR before actually visiting or buying the house
Some of these may already be possible with the new Facebook 360-degree camera.
Giphy and Facebook Live – In line with Facebook’s push for the camera to be the first augmented reality platform, Giphy launched three new products to make sharing GIFs even easier. The product that caught my attention quite a bit was Giphy for Facebook Live.
With this new product, both you and the people who view your live streams on Facebook can add GIFs. This creates a fun, new way of engaging with your audience in real time.
Now on to the part, we all want to know about, what benefit does this have for marketers? Facebook has been ranking videos that are live higher on a user’s news feed as opposed to videos that aren’t live which now will appear lower on the results. This new feature could help increase engagement on your live videos and might help your videos rank even higher on your audience’s news feed.
Here are a few steps to activate this feature for your live video:
Tap on the “Live” button in the Facebook app
Tap on the magic wand in the upper right corner
Select “GIPHY LIVE”
Tap “Go Live”
When you are using the front camera (the one that happens to be facing towards you if you don’t know), there will be a ticker with hashtags that you can tap on to change the GIF. When you are using the back camera (yet again if you don’t know this time it is the one facing away from you), a microphone will appear as though you are interviewing someone.
Messenger Business Bots – Did you know? There are now more than 100,000 chatbots on Messenger, up from 33,000 just last September (That’s important). To help brands and consumers connect with each other better through such bots, Facebook released a series of updates during this year’s F8.
One of the updates is Chat Extensions, which allows multiple people to chat with the same business chatbot at the same time. For example, you could share songs from Spotify directly within your group conversation with the Spotify bot or make a holiday booking with your friends through the Kayak bot.
Another interesting update is that M, Messenger’s AI assistant, is now able to listen to your conversations and make relevant suggestions at the right time. For example, if you and your friends are talking about getting food, M would suggest playing an order through one of the food delivery bots.
So, what does this mean for marketers I hear you ask? This provides another great channel for marketers to reach and connect with their audience. How amazing! Instead of commenting on your Facebook post or messaging you via Messenger, your customers might choose to chat with your bot – which will be around 24/7. If you already have a bot for your Facebook page, you can now use call to actions such as “Get Support” or “Shop Now” to bring people to your bot.
The bonus about bots is that they can help automate tasks, which is especially helpful for small businesses that have fewer resources. If you have not explored the idea of having a chatbot for your business, now might be a great time to start.
So, that was our recap of the events at F8 (yes, I know we are a bit late), what are you the most excited about? Let us know!