Digital Dash: new Facebook AR ads & more

1. Facebook debuts new AR News Feed ads with Michael Kors
2. The secret’s out! Snapchat and Amazon set to collab on visual product search
3. YouTube cracks down on copycats with new Copyright Match tool
4. Snapchat inks new deal with Nielsen, advertisers can soon tap into offline purchase data
5. Facebook merges canvas and lead ads, creates a superpowered immersive unit

 

1. Facebook debuts new AR News Feed ads with Michael Kors

Augmented Reality (AR) has incredible potential for retailers. Because, as great as online shopping is, many people still don’t feel confident buying something without seeing it IRL first.

The reassurance consumers get from trying something on is often enough to push them over the purchase threshold – and AR gets them a significant step closer to this by digitally weaving virtual elements into the real world.

According to Facebook, more than 80 million people in the US engage with AR on a monthly basis, and social media companies are falling over themselves to release features, creation tools and more to capitalise on the tech’s popularity.

The latest social media AR launch comes courtesy of Facebook, which is introducing AR ads into News Feed.

In just one click, users can go from the initial ad to experimenting with AR camera effects – i.e. seeing how a product looks on. Thanks to handy call to action buttons and sharing icons, another click could see them shopping the item, posting a picture to their Story, or sharing the snap with friends on Messenger.

Michael Kors was the first brand to road test the new feature, giving fans the chance to play with a pair of shades.

Photo: Marketing Land

Facebook says that AR ads for News Feed will roll out more broadly to businesses over the course of the year.

And while this all sounds great, you might be wondering how to even begin to go about creating AR content, let alone setting it up as an ad. Well late last year, Facebook fully rolled out its AR Studio, enabling all developers to start building AR experiences for the Facebook Camera. This is a great starting point.

 

2. The secret’s out! Snapchat and Amazon set to collab on visual product search

Mark my words: this news is something to keep a very close eye on over the next few months.

Tech Crunch (via app researcher Ishan Agarwal) has revealed that Snapchat could be about to massively upgrade its audio search tool by adding in a visual search element, which – wait for it – would link-up directly with Amazon.

Operating just like Pinterest’s visual search, Lens, Snapchat’s version would let users press and hold using the in-app camera to identify things featured on screen including objects, songs, barcodes and more.

The option to “See results at Amazon” would then appear.

Snapchat has already partnered with Shazam for the audio search version, which you can see below:

Photo: Tech Crunch

But by teaming-up with retail powerhouse Amazon, the company would really be entering a new league of sophistication and user appeal. Plus, if Snapchat has negotiated a cut of referral revenue – this could potentially go some way to helping turn things around financially too.

Crucially, the visual search feature would also help Snapchat differentiate itself from Instagram by moving away from the Stories feature, which it pioneered and is now being battered by a cloned version of.

 

3. YouTube cracks down on copycats with new Copyright Match tool

YouTube is about to release a tool that some users have been crying out for.

Copyright Match will scan an original video, then crawl YouTube to detect if the same (or very similar) videos have been uploaded to other channels without the creator’s permission.

Cloned content will appear in the “matches” tab, at which point users can decide whether to do nothing, get in touch with the other “creator”, or request that YouTube removes the video.

Photo: YouTube

The new tool will start rolling out next week and will initially only be available to creators with over 100k subscribers.

YouTube states how important it is that anyone using the tool was the first to upload the content. The time of any upload will be used to determine who the content belongs to.

It’s also worth noting that Copyright Match is intended to find full reuploads, not clips.

 

4. Snapchat inks new deal with Nielsen, advertisers can soon tap into offline purchase data

Snapchat’s sleeves are never short of a few tricks – I mean, you really can’t be slow to innovate when the might of Instagram is looming over you 24/7.

As well as the potential team-up with Amazon mentioned above, Snapchat had another important announcement this week: the company is expanding its existing partnership with Nielsen to allow advertisers to target using offline purchase data.

Using a real life example, this means that a sports brand could target an ad to people who’ve recently bought sneakers in a bricks-and-mortar retail store. This can then of course be narrowed down further by parameters such as age, gender and other buying behaviours.

Other platforms have similar ad targeting intelligence – so really this is about Snapchat raising its game to the level set by competitors.

Interestingly though, Facebook has actually been taking the opposite approach when it comes to third-party data providers, eliminating its partner categories to regain control over data privacy (although… if little birdies are to be believed… partner categories could be set to return to an Ads Manager near you later this year).

One other thing to mention is that, from our experience with Nielsen data, it’s often US-based only – so depending which territories you operate in, the new Snapchat x Nielsen deal may or may not be that useful to you.

 

5. Facebook merges canvas and lead ads, creates a superpowered immersive unit

This is just a quick one… but an important one none the less.

We’ve just learned (shoutout to Jon Loomer) that Facebook advertisers will soon be able to feature a lead ad within a canvas ad.

For anyone unfamiliar with these ad units: lead ads allow users to subscribe using a form that pre-fills in one click, and canvas ads are full-screen, interactive and immersive experiences – kind of like mini websites – that can already include video, collection and other ad types within them.

Here’s a reminder of what each looks like:

Lead ad

Canvas ad

Photos: Facebook

Both of these are powerful, but they serve quite different purposes.

Canvas ads are designed to inspire and captivate; lead ads are all about driving a quick conversion.

To be honest, I think it makes total sense to combine the two.

After all, the opportunity to inspire someone before trying to convert them is surely going to enhance sign-ups. And on the flip side, being able to capitalise on the interest of an inspired user by offering them the chance to connect more with a company will be great.

Can’t wait to put this to the test.