An insight into advertising of the future: F8

When Facebook holds their annual F8 conference, here at BIONIC, we get excited. The F8 conference is held for exclusive partners of, the one and only, Facebook, and of course those wonderful entrepreneurs that build products for Facebook. “F8” is named after the old 8 hour hackathons that Facebook used to hold for developers, a homage to what was, their foundations. With a keynote from Zuck himself, Facebook sets forth its vision for the future yet again, be still my beating heart.

Facebook’s F8 developers conference allows Facebook to offer a glimpse of their roadmap and strategic priorities, and let us peek behind the curtains at the technological wonders, that they are continually, mind boggingly, evolving. Regina Dugan’s awe inspiring Building 8, Facebook’s Cybernetics initiative, was of Particular Note. Building 8 is researching and developing skin that can hear, and a chip that allows the brain,to give directions to a computer, this is stuff of the future, and it won’t be on our Facebook mobile app any time soon. However, very interesting things were happening at F8 this year.

The overarching theme this time round, what was most spoken about, was Augmented Reality. Facebook have been talking about VR (and Oculus) and AR for a while now, but this year they presented the conference with a much more compelling strategy and vision that will focuss both on AR and VR. Those in the technology community have been talking about AR for a long time and the technology that powers has been knocking around in the form of the much maligned Google Glass for a while yet, it is Facebook who is bringing it in a tangible and useable way to the world of communication.

The important take away from the F8 conference for BIONIC, are the implications that this brings for our clients. As content becomes more complex and engaging within the Facebook product platform, the challenge for advertisers is to keep the content that they create as engaging and as organic as innovativly possible.

Zuck boldly announced that “We’re making the camera the first AR platform”.

In 2016 the explosion of ‘Pokemon Go’ allowed smartphone users globally, many for the first time, to experience the first en masse mobile AR platform, executed through your smartphone camera. AR gives us the opportunity to enrich the real world, to make it highly digitally interactive. Phone Camera based AR solutions are not new but, bringing camera based AR to Facebook obviously opens up major opportunities for innovative advertisers to leverage targeted advertising.

It became clear at Facebook’s F8 Developer conference that the traditional mode of linear messaging, text primarily, are things of the past, better left to die in the realms of the private professional email: Augmented Reality is coming to town and it is here to stay. Content is real life with a digital overlay, geographically based AR stamps left, almost if you can imagine like Graffitti art but only visible through the screen of a phone! From random AR street art, to notes for healthcare professionals, the possibilities are truly mind bending. Imagine your (self-driving) car interpreting AR data and displaying it on a windshield, with content that changes depending on traffic and considering your demographic information shared with Facebook? Feeling hungry? We know from a recent update that you are on a health kick so how about a pit stop for a juice? Want to read the reviews of the juice bar on Yelp? Woah.

The potential of these technologies should get you really excited. The content is going to get as exciting, immersive and as interactive as the users creativity allows. Facebook made it perfectly clear that it wants people to more freely and interactively communicate.

As the future of online communication is changing, so too must advertising. This is a call to action. This is a call to a new way to think about online advertising.

F8 presented an insight into the incredibly ambitious and highly disruptive vision that Facebook places before us. Facebook offered many insights to the future of advertising and its complex relationship with social media.

The content of advertising is changing, but with the focus of F8 overwhelmingly on VR/AR, what ramifications does this have for existing advertising paradigms? You only have to look at the example that was explored by Zuck. In the picture below you can see a bottle of wine.

This was identified by the AR camera as a bottle of wine, but you can label this wine, and eventually tap any object in any picture that is available online, or complimentary (or indeed competitive) products with a link from the picture. What food is a good match? This is exciting, what Zuck really did will begin to deconstruct long held principals of advertising.

Advertising is always changing, and they what they experience is ALL about that mystical point of engagement, not the product. Facebook AR, is going to disrupt the business of advertising forever. Now we are entering another epoch: engaged user experience focused advertisements.


Richard Sims Director of Product Marketing Facebook ads gave great advice on how to start to tackle this new form of advertising. He broke the users of Facebook into three categories:

1. On The Go: Browsing on the go, partial attention, swiping through, very little engagement.

2. Lean Forward: Highly engaged, browsing through photos, looking for more information.

3. Lean back: Passively going through, not viewing but not engaging highly.

These are the three types of audiences that your advertisements need to enage with: this is the guide book on how to start thinking about it.

Facebook offered some tasters of the types of campaigns that engages different users and the tools that advertisers can use to achieve the same outcome:

The first campaign was designed to appeal for the “on the go” audience with a highly engaging story with strong branding. The Bose campaign utilised Facebooks “Vertical Video” which takes up the whole mobile screen. This captivates the watcher for a brief number of seconds. Sim’s mentioned the importance of the story, short form stories, which are roughly ten seconds long. This particular Facebook ad was a ten second edit of the longer 30 second made for tv Bose ad.

The Second campaign aimed towards the Lean Forward audience looked at the Acura Car brand. In this campaign the user could engage with the content and find out more. They allowed this by sliding through various videos and images by sliding right. The Facebook ad formats used are called “Canvas”, “Stories” and “Collection”. Stories is utilized for Instagram advertising. This allowed the user to engage more fully with the content and to get to find out more about the product there and then.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Campaign was the third aimed towards the “Lean Back”, their innovative campaign live streamed their fashion show and allowed for true real time conversion. It allowed the audience to browse through a catalogue below and buy using the Facebook tool “consumption mode”. Hilfiger also utilized the long form video with the live video where the average user watched about five minutes of the video.

“This is different”, is how Sim’s summarised the Hilfiger campaign. When one considers this advertiser in the context of AR; will you be able to transport your body to the catwalk and watch yourself walk up and down in correctly fitting couture wear? No longer would you have to visualise it but an AR version of yourself with new to the world designs on you.

Advertisers have to now have to capture something far more elusive: a meaningful interaction with a potential customer in the real world as part of a physical human experience. No longer will the same set of images with a catchy slogan and strong branding suffice for every consumer in every environment at evert point in time. The possibilities (and complexity) of this are limitless and it is those in advertising now who will pioneer this new era of user focused engaged and experience advertisements. Campaigns like those above capture an experience with the user.

The first question they are poising is “What is a meaningful (real, augmented or virtual) engagement?” and more importantly “Why is this an engaging interaction?”. What Facebook is moving towards is an organic, dynamic and seamless form of advertising that, when enriched with value offers an experience of the company or the product giving insight. It poses the question to advertisers, what content will appeal to users? Facebook want to begin our immersion into an interactive digital world that exists layered on top of the physical reality that we see before us.

Facebook is now less a social media business and more a suite of human connection tools. The focus on these moments of engagement is to capture a more human element, stretching them into AR to bring people together. For advertisers you can transport people anywhere, imagination is the only limitation. The insights that these engagements offer will provide valuable data for future marketing.

The focus on meaningful, valuable interactions in a multi-dimensionable world make it even more important to optimise your ads towards the customers that you want to engage with. Making this more meaningful will springboard from the analytical data that BIONIC can offer you through our platform. As a Facebook advertiser, there is a lot for you to think about on this dynamic platform, optimisation of your ads is something you don’t have to.