To preview new developments in social advertising to stakeholders, the Facebook F8 event started out with only a handful of developers and a stack of pizza boxes —back in 2007. Ten years later, the F8 has grown to a two-day event where thousands gather to get a glimpse of the future according to the social advertising powerhouse. We went to San Jose to attend the conference so that we could experience this future first-hand. Looking for developments impacting the future of social advertising, here’s what we learned.
1. Facebook Messenger 2.0 will provide a richer experience for users to interact with each other —and with brands. Introducing: interactive social advertising.
Facebook’s messaging service is gaining strength as a preferred (group) chat platform, as well as adding countless opportunities for users to interact with brands —and vice versa. Debuting at F8 as Messenger 2.0, the service now comes with additional features and shortcuts that make it easier for users to interact with other users as well as with their favorite brands.
Chat Extensions – Using the Chat Extensions feature users can now bring bots and apps into the conversation. Sharing music or videos, for instance, can now be done from within the Messenger conversation. When planning a holiday or a night out, group members can now individually make reservations and even order food as a group without leaving the app, introducing: interactive social advertising.
Discover – Focused heavily on providing service towards their users, Facebook has now added the Discover feature, as known from Instagram. Spread out over multiple categories the Discover feature will now suggest bots, places, and businesses to interact with through Messenger. These interactions could range from asking a Place for opening times, in which case a bot would give answers based on the information specified by the Place, to full in-depth conversations about product or service specifics with a brand’s representative.
Smart Replies – This feature can be switched on by Facebook Page admins to generate AI-powered automatic replies in Messenger. These replies can be used to help your users find what they need even quicker, saving both parties a lot of time and hassle.
Parametric Messenger Codes – Businesses will soon be able to generate multiple Messenger Codes for their customers to scan and engage in a bot conversation immediately. When applying these codes in both outdoor campaigns and product packaging, for example, advertisers can now see which ones are being scanned the most and drive quality Messenger conversations.
2. The new Facebook Analytics offers advertisers quicker, more in-depth access to omnichannel analytics & insights.
Previously known as Facebook Analytics for Apps, the new, the revamped Facebook Analytics provides tons of new tools and custom metrics to keep your advertising in check.
Automated Insights – Using machine learning, Facebook Analytics now automatically provides valuable insights into your site, app or bot performance and user behavior. This could consist of variations in user engagement across different countries or cities, or differences in purchase behavior over time. These kind of metrics were already available previously but required custom reports to surface. Although not being unique to Facebook, since other parties offer similar services, this feature is most likely a nifty time saver for advertisers and agencies alike.
Custom Dashboards – In addition, the Custom Dashboards feature will provide quicker insight into your customers and on-site behavior, focusing only on the metrics that are relevant to you.
Messenger bot support – Adding Messenger to the mix, user behavior can be monitored more thoroughly in Facebook Analytics. Also new is the ability to create omnichannel custom audiences, including Messenger metrics like bot interactions.
3. The Camera Effects Platform: paving the way for social advertising in AR
In addition to using Augmented Reality for information purposes like leaving messages for one another on the fridge, or tagging a business with personal, user-specific information, several entertainment-focused features were presented like turning tables into virtual game boards and projecting AR art on walls. These kinds of applications, all focused heavily on fun and usability, will undoubtedly lower the threshold for everyday usage of Augmented Reality. Therefore, commercial applications of this domain will become ever more exciting.
Frame Studio – This web-based tool allows users to create custom camera themes, to apply to profile pictures or live, using the new Facebook camera. Page Admins can create these themes for their page’s followers to use, making them pop up in their respective Facebook cameras. The maker’s name will be visible next to the camera’s effect, as well as next to the final result in users’ News Feeds. Be advised that all creations should follow Facebook’s guidelines and will be checked accordingly, following submission. For instance, usage of company logos or trademarks must be pre-approved by the social network. When approved, these themes can be made available in specific places, like at events, in stores, or in supermarkets, in a set period of time. Allowing users to brand photos and videos with time-based, location-based content, Frame Studio can provide for more exclusive levels of customer interaction with your brand.
AR Studio – This remarkable feature will allow artists, developers, and brands to create their own augmented reality elements for their users to interact with. Options range from masks, animated frames, interactive effects that react to movement, interactions in Live broadcasts, or third-party data like computer game high scores or sports achievements.
While only being visible through a smartphone, augmenting the analog world around us with digital additions will open up a wide array of social advertising possibilities. Imagine adding an extra, personalized layer to your existing outdoor or in-store advertising, making your print advertising more relevant to different audiences, or even specific customers, customizing content in real-time bases on attribution.
Face Tracker – with a striking resemblance to the Filter feature offered by Snapchat, this feature allows the user to create face masks as an image overlay. These masks will automatically adapt to the shape of the creator’s face, staying in sync with movements and facial expressions.
4. AI powered M Suggest allows brands to ‘break’ into the conversation, offering relevant, topic-related services to users.
Facebook’s mobile AI assistant ‘M’ can be considered the social network’s version of Apple’s Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa.
M Suggest – Another AI-powered feature, M Suggest will soon be launched for users to receive actionable suggestions based on the contents of their Messenger conversations. Offering a payment feature in response to someone suggesting to split the bill, for example, suggesting a ride-sharing app when talking about transportation, or location-based suggestions to meet or eat, depending on the wording used. Businesses can soon create their own automated tools to manage these customer interactions, jumping into the conversation as they see fit.
5. Increased retargeting power and productivity hacks in Facebook’s Marketing API.
Facebook’s Marketing API contains a collection of tools, also called API’s, used for programmatic social advertising purposes.
Ad Copy API – Most updates to Facebook’s Marketing API focus on operational efficiency benefits. Creating ad templates and duplicating existing ads have been added as features in the Ad Copy API.
Dynamic Ads – As our retargeting weapon of choice, a downside of using Dynamic Ads has always been the limited number of images it allowed of a single item. Now, up to 20 images can be highlighted from a catalog, representing a single item. This feature will provide a much richer retargeting environment.
Future perspectives for AR powered social advertising
Regardless of skepticism towards the added value of Augmented Reality, these soon-to-be-launched technologies will unleash easy to use AR tech to the public. From all the data and learnings gathered by enabling consumers to cross this digital frontier, new applications and more advanced social advertising technologies will arise. With face tracking already in an advanced stadium, eye tracking technology will most likely allow for on-the-go user testing in the near future. And what about Emotion Tracking? Imagine having real-time data on how your audience perceives an advertisement. And, even better, the possibility of showing certain ads based on specific emotions. Of course, this kind of application will require some more exploring of current technologies offered and will impact privacy in a huge way. Even though this kind of tech has yet to become reality, we are dedicated to finding creative ways to apply it —ready to deploy when the time comes. Feel free to check in with our specialists to see where we stand on this topic.