Source: Social We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform. — Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 conference 2017 Facebook’s F8 conferen
We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform.
— Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook F8 conference 2017
Facebook’s F8 conference was once again filled with incredibly exciting announcements.
Augmented reality (AR) could be seen as the main theme of this year’s conference. From augmented masks and special effects to 360 video camera 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 on a deeper level through AR.
Besides AR, there were also announcements about Messenger, chatbots, Facebook Analytics, Facebook Live, and more!
We followed the conference for the past two days and would love to share the top 10 things we think social media marketers should take away from this F8 2017.
If you have been following the conference, too, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about the amazing (and mind-blowing) announcements
10 Things marketers need to know from F8 2017
We’ll go through each of the 10 major announcements and what it means to marketers, below. If you prefer watching a video instead, here’s a quick recap of the top three announcements:
1. 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 Pokemon 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 3D objects to your camera view, turning a 2D photo into 3D, and adding a virtual information card to objects in your camera view (such as the wine bottle in the screenshot below).
(If you are curious about these technologies, check out the demos, which start at 19:22 of the keynote.)
What it means for marketers:
When Facebook makes augmented reality mainstream (probably within the next two to 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. Let’s go through that next…
2. 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
What it means 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’d open up a great marketing opportunity for brands, just like Snapchat Geofilters did. Brands could create fun, relevant frames, 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’s free to create these creatives on Facebook!
With the launch of Camera Effects Platform and Mark Zuckerberg’s special emphasis on camera as the first augmented reality platform, Facebook might push such content as much as it did with live videos over the past year.
3. 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 (VR). Facebook Spaces will allow us to hang out with our family and friends who are not physically nearby.
What it means for marketers:
It would probably be several years before social VR becomes mainstream (if it does) but it’d be great for marketers to start thinking about how marketing could be done in VR.
Looking at the video above, there could be several native and non-intrusive ways for brands to tap into the VR experience. Here’re some fun ideas I could think of:
- Travel agencies and tourism boards could let people explore certain places in VR before buying their tickets.
- Real estate companies could let potential buyers look at houses in VR before actually visiting the houses.
- Furniture companies could let customers “try out” furniture in their homes before purchasing.
- Clothes retailers could let customers “try out” clothes and chat with friends about them before buying, or even let them customize their avatars with their clothes.
- Education institutions and online learning platforms could let students attend classes together.
- And more!
Some of these might even be possible already with the new Facebook 360 camera.