Facebook has announced some new features coming to Messenger; one of these is the ability for brands to build AR into their experiences on the platform.
Messages exchanged with bots on Messenger have quadrupled since last year, with over 8 billion messages exchanged each month on the platform. And despite Facebook‘s temporary hold on its review process for new apps (which was lifted recently), there are currently over 300,000 active bots on Messenger, and 200,000 developers “actively building experiences.” As David Marcus, VP of Messaging Products at Facebook explains, “businesses large and small [are] using Messenger to build incredible messaging experiences and drive business outcomes at scale.”
In this vein, Facebook announced a few new features for Messenger at its F8 developers conference, this week; features that will help brands further enhance experiences on the platform. Perhaps the most important is how brands can soon be incorporating AR into their Messenger experiences.
With the feature “businesses large and small can leverage the Camera Effects Platform to easily integrate AR into their Messenger experience, bringing the virtual and physical worlds one step closer together.” For example, when someone interacts with a business in Messenger, they can be prompted to open the camera, where they can find pre-populated brand-specific filters and AR effects. The images and/or videos can then be shared to a story, in a group, in a one-on-one conversation, or just saved onto their device.
Facebook touts this feature as solving “a real problem for people shopping online.” Blending AR effects and messaging can allow people to “visualize a product” before feeling comfortable enough to buy it. It’s certainly true that people often ask for input from their friends or their family before committing to a purchase. The feature gives people the ability to get instant feedback about purchases and their customisations, which is valuable to them. All this, without even walking into a store.
The AR feature in Messenger is “the latest addition for the Facebook AR Studio,” but only four brands will be able to use it at launch: ASUS, Kia, Nike, and Sephora. If you’re interested in incorporating AR into Messenger for your customers, the waitlist is here. You will also be notified when the feature becomes more broadly available.
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