This years Facebook F8 annual developer conference focused heavily on virtual and augmented reality, giving us no doubt as to where Facebook sees its future.Following closely in the footsteps of Snapchat’s AR features, that allow images to be augmented onto the user's face, Facebook have recently added similar features into its own platform, but intends to go further by opening this technology up to tech savvy members of the public.
They have created an “ecosystem” called Facebook AR studio for tech developers so that they can produce AR content exclusively via the Facebook platform.
What is Facebook AR studio?
The studio allows collaborators to cut out the middle man. Developers can now sign up to a beta version and use it to create AR content in a simpler and cheaper way. Opening up design and development opportunities to businesses that couldn’t afford the technology before. However, is does mean that such content will be tied exclusively to the Facebook platform, which is likely to come as a blow to many start-ups that were in the midst of creating their own versions.
The camera platform has a lot of potential beyond creating dog faces and flower headdresses.
Mark Zuckerberg listed examples, including having your race times appearing after a run (above right), having restaurant reviews superimposed onto the window, and adding another coffee mug next to you so it doesn’t look like you are alone (honestly that one made us a little sad). However this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of imagination and is likely to be a catalyst for some some very interesting and creative campaigns.
How will this change the marketing landscape?
This opens up a lot of new possibilities for marketers wanting to produce new and compelling content. Pokemon Go allowed us to glimpse the power of AR and it’s abilities to go viral, and companies will be looking at ways that they can produce similar successes. Audiences tend to lose interest rapidly so organizations will have to move quickly if they want to take people by surprise with this technology as it is likely to be flooding the market soon. Those looking to create a campaign are now entering an exciting realm of new possibilities and a way to engage with audiences like never before.
We have seen many hints of what is to come as lots of different companies have already started to experiment with AR and MR. For example product trials, like Cover Girl’s BeautyU app that allows users to experiment with makeup, and the Northern Lighting sales catalog that allowed users to see what the lamps would look like in their own home.
Markets will be looking to see a return on investment and AR has proved that it is can deliver such opportunities, be it creating loyalty, increasing interactions or driving sales. With AR/VR reality forecast to hit $150 billion revenue by 2020 it may be a good bet.
When Taco Bell ran a campaign in 2016 allowing users to play with a lens which allowed you to have a taco for a head. The lens was viewed 224 million times, making it the most successful campaign in the app’s history!
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