Facebook has taken its 3D posts to the next level. With the initial launch, users were able to see and interact with digital objects from all sides within the social media platform’s newsfeed – whether scrolling over it with a mouse or navigating with fingers on a smartphone.
Now the company has announced that it will be supporting an industry standard file format that will enable artists and creators to share richer, higher-quality 3D content on the platform. Facebook said in a blog post that the new format supports textures such as rough, shiny, metallic or soft, as well as lighting effects.
In the first hours of the technology’s launch, it was used to create and share interactive 3D images of a Lego parrot, a Jurassic World dinosaur, and a new Clash Royale game character. One person used a Sony phone to scan a 3D image of a handbag.
Wayfair, the digital furniture company known for its augmented reality (AR) mobile app that lets customers overlay furniture pieces onto images of their home, was quick to jump on the bandwagon, sharing a 3D image of a virtual living room, reported Retail Dive.
Wayfair has been investing heavily in AR experiences and 3D modeling since 2015, so it’s hardly a surprise to see it leading the way as this new capability enables 3D content sharing within the newsfeed of the internet’s most popular social media platform.
However, the opportunity is equally great for any retailer, and others in the space will certainly be watching Wayfair closely to see how this latest move pans out – and whether it would be worth it to try it themselves.
That’s almost sure to lead to more 3D posts and ads coming down the pipeline as merchants begin to see the value in letting customers interact with their products in a digital space.
For instance, the handbag uploaded by the Sony phone user could just as easily have come from the bag’s designer as an invitation for customers to explore the product more fully and move toward a purchase decision.
The static image carousel is a staple of the online shopping experience as it now stands. Customers can “interact” in the sense that they can click through photos as if they were an album, ultimately viewing the product from multiple angles — but imagine shopping for that handbag, or an outfit, or a piece of jewelry, and being able to see it from all angles, with the user having full control over the experience.
Wayfair told Retail Dive, “The ability to interact with 3-D models in the News Feed is an exciting step forward in how consumers will discover and explore products. Shopping for home is unique in that it’s highly visual — and 3-D posts allow us to create an immersive experience.”
While the library of 3D image models on Wayfair’s standalone app is enormous, featuring thousands of furniture and home décor pieces, the ability to share those image models on Facebook will expose them to a much broader audience.
Before, those images were seen only by people who were already customers of Wayfair or knew that they wanted to become customers of Wayfair and had downloaded its app or navigated to its website. Through the newsfeed, the brand can reach prospective customers with the same engaging imagery.
“In the future,” Facebook said, “we envision a seamless digital world where people can share immersive experiences and objects like these across VR, AR and Facebook News Feed.”