Well, I bet you didn’t see this coming. Facebook is finally leveraging on Facebook Messenger to let businesses to reach out to consumers. Messenger has not been pulling in revenue for Facebook, which does make sense for a business entity (but make sense for consumers). But not anymore. At the social media company’s F8 Developer Conference, Facebook has made known that it will leverage on Augmented Reality in Messenger for “businesses and people to deepen connections.”
Facebook said that there are 200,000 developers “actively building experiences, forging connections between people and the brands they love and bringing real value to their everyday lives” and with AR riding on the Camera Effects Platform, companies can now integrate AR into this Messenger experience that will blur the line between virtual and physical worlds (where the business will be involved). In other words, advertising will dig deeper in our lives.
“…when a person interacts with your business in Messenger, you can prompt them to open the camera, which will be pre-populated with filters and AR effects that are specific to your brand. From there, people can share the image or video to their story or in a group or one-to conversation or they can simply save it to their camera roll.”
But how does it really works and what can it do? Well, these words straight from the horse’s mouth pretty much sums it up:
“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, customization, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store.”
So, yeah. It is all about making you buy stuff that you probably have no need for. Don’t you just love capitalism? Anywho, leveraging on AR to make consumers make a decision (that’s to put it nicely) isn’t new. Back in 2014, Ikea has already embark on this high-tech route to let consumers “place” furniture in their home to see of it goes with consumers’ home decor. The app was “measurement accurate” in that it can actually “size” the furniture so you’d know if it fit in a particular space. Facebook said, a few brands have already came onboard and they include ASUS, KIA, Nike, and Sephora. Here’s how these brands will leverage on AR effects in Messenger:
“ASUS will be bringing the “unboxing experience” to life with the ability to get a deeper look at phone features and functionalities, and KIA will give people looking to buy a car the opportunity to customize and get up close and personal with the KIA Stinger. Nike is using Messenger to drop a new pair of sneakers, giving people an exclusive sneak peek at them through a curated and visual red carpet experience. And Sephora is making trying on new makeup easier than ever with a selection of looks to try on and share.”
But why Facebook is diving into this Augmented Reality thing for Messenger? Well, it looks like the social media giant has taken cues from the number of visual messaging have been sent. According to Facebook, over 500 billion emoji and 18 billion GIFS were sent through Messenger, and thus Facebook believes that it is what drives people to share, consciously or not, and therefore, it could somehow benefits businesses.
In a related news, Facebook also announced M Translation, a language translator for Marketplace to facilitate global buying and selling on Marketplace. What M Translation will do is, when people on Marketplace received a message in a language that is different from their default language in Messenger, M Translation will prompt if they want to translate the message. Facebook hopes that with M Translation for Marketplace, it will “help drive commerce between buyers and sellers despite language barriers.” But this service is still in its infancy.
At launch, M Translation is only able to translate from English to Spanish (and vice versa) and it will only be available in Marketplace conversations happening in the U.S. Moving on, it will expand translation to beyond English/Spanish to include more languages and the services, to countries beyond the U.S.