Facebook announced new Messenger augmented reality (AR) tools for businesses. This announcement was made yesterday at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference.
These new AR tools let brands build their own virtual experiences for use in Messenger. Facebook wants brands to use the platform to let their customers virtually try out a product or service from home. For example, a clothing company may use AR in Messenger to let users try on shirts.
When a user interacts with an AR-enabled brand on Messenger, the chatbot will prompt the user to open their camera, which will be pre-populated with filters and other AR effects that are specific to the brand.
Facebook used Kia and Sephora as examples. For Kia, Messenger AR lets potential car buyers build and price the perfect Kia Stinger. The user can get up close and personal with the car—inspecting all of the car's details in AR—without stepping foot in a Kia dealership.
Sephora's example was particularly interesting. The demo shows advanced AR facial filters that let Messenger users virtually try on different kinds of makeup. We hope that AR apps like this will help Messenger compete with Snapchat in the AR space.
Messenger head, David Marcus, said the following on Messenger's new AR features:
“Blending AR effects and messaging solves a real problem for people shopping online. There are so many situations where we need to visualize a product before we feel comfortable buying it. We often seek input from our friends and family before making a purchase. This feature — launching in closed beta — leverages the nature of messaging to help people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, customizations, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store.”
Currently, Facebook's new AR tools are in a closed beta. We expect Facebook to release these features to all brands either later this year or in early 2019. We'll keep you updated on the Social Report blog.
What Do You Think?
It's refreshing to see Facebook take AR seriously. AR is a growing social media marketing trend that we expect to continue in 2018 and 2019. To stay ahead of the game, start planning your brand's AR efforts before Facebook launches this platform the public.
What do you think about AR? Is your brand going to embrace it in 2019? Let us know on Twitter!
What does 2019 have in store for social media? Check out our 7 social media trends for 2019.