Amidst a depressing second quarter and a rocky lead-up to the third, Meta has announced even more advertising opportunities for brands on Instagram.
Instagram now offers AR camera effects as advertising space. Brands who are interested can create an AR effect, like the silly and sometimes absurd filters in Stories that turn your face into an alien or randomly generate an image of what kind of coffee you should drink above your head, and connect it to their website or Instagram shopping page.
The company claims that major brands that have already invested in AR advertising, such as the Mini auto company, have seen interest and brand awareness increase since utilizing the new formats.
Businesses who are interested in running an AR ad are instructed to find and connect with an effect creator on the Meta Spark Partner Network. The resulting effect will then be uploaded to the Meta Spark AR Hub, after which the business owner (or page administrator) can create an ad in the Ad Manager using the effect.
To use an effect as an ad, publishers will also have to create a demo video showing the effect in action, as well as an icon that will represent the effect in the user’s camera interface.
In addition to opening an additional line of advertising revenue, AR ads also seem in line with Meta’s push to be the leader of the public’s interactions with the Metaverse. Back in August, the company announced the integration of digital collectibles, allowing users to display NFTs as posts that connect to the blockchain to demonstrate the user’s digital ownership of the work.
When making that announcement, Meta pushed the functionality for businesses, suggesting that digital assets could be used to “unlock exclusive experiences for loyal customers, serve as a seal of authenticity for your products, serve as a means to support creators that align with your business and more.”
In not at all unrelated news, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store both recently blocked downloads of “The OG,” an app that offered all of the content on a user’s Instagram feed in a customizable, ad-free interface.
Within the short amount of time that The OG was available, it racked up 25,000 downloads. Un1feed, the developers of the unauthorized Instagram alternative, went to their Twitter feed to thank their initial users and offer some words of encouragement: “We started OG to fix social media,” they said, “Our fundamental belief revolves around giving power back to the user. We believe in users’ right to choose what they consume, when they consume it, and how they do so. We believe that users should have ownership of their data and the social capital they accumulate online. Our goal with OG was to give users a glimpse of this within the current paradigm.”
However, from a business owner’s perspective, while users may not be thrilled about seeing more ads in and around their feeds, the return on investment has not yet proven to be fruitless.
When The New York Times writes an entire featured article on how Gen Z uses TikTok as a search engine the way that the rest of us use Google, having your brand pop up more frequently in myriad ways across one platform bodes well for your bottom line.
Reports from Nest Commerce, an advertising agency that caters to ecommerce companies like Depop and Huel, indicate that client spending on ads for Reels increased by 750% between Q2 and Q3.
Additionally, dynamic product ads, which show content to users related to purchases they’ve made or items they’ve put in their carts on ecommerce sites loaded with Facebook’s Pixel tracker, result in a 44% increase in Click-Thru Rate and a 9% increase in Conversion Rate than standard ads – meaning that, whether they like it or not, consumers are spending more money at businesses that use Meta’s platforms for directed advertising. (https://aithority.com/technology/native-and-programmatic-advertising/meta-versus-tiktok-where-are-short-video-ad-spenders-heading/)
We’ll see what the third-quarter reports have in store for Meta soon enough. In the meantime, Zuck’s white-knuckle grip on social media advertising remains firmly locked in place.