Facebook is bringing augmented reality (AR) to its News Feed, providing advertisers with a new way to reach potential customers.
A report citing Ty Ahmad-Taylor, vice president of product marketing for Facebook’s global marketing solutions, said that Facebook is expanding on a move from earlier this year to enable advertisers to use augmented reality to display products in Messenger to the News Feed. The service will be available to a select group of advertisers.
“People traditionally have to go into stores to do this,” Ahmad-Taylor said. “People still really love that experience, but they would like to try it at home” — so this “bridges the gap.”
According to the report, the ads look like normal advertisements that users would see in their News Feed, but they also include a "Tap to try it on" option that opens up the AR functionality. Users also have the option to purchase the product from the AR ad.
According to Facebook, Michael Kors was the first brand to try out the AR ad. Other brands that plan to participate include Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King.
In addition to disclosing the AR ads at an event, Ahmad-Taylor announced a new Video Creation Kit, which allows advertisers to add existing images to templates to create mobile video ads, and said it would continue to support shopping on Instagram Stories.
The new ad feature comes as direct-to-consumer advertising on Facebook has reportedly hit a rough patch, with spending by brands decreasing there. The trend also comes at a time when brands are facing other changes on the social media site. Ten direct-to-consumer companies recently surveyed by Digiday all said their marketing plans are relying less on Facebook, as focus and dollars shift to other online marketing channels — and that includes the Facebook-owned Instagram. “The reason: Prices are getting high for audience segments and the feed has become a very cluttered space," stated the report.