Facebook Unveils Three New Ad Units: Polls, Playable, AR

Facebook announced plans to release three new ad units under the banner Advertising You Can Play With: polls, playable ads (both in the mobile News Feed), and, last, AR ads that will debut in beta in the fall. Playable ads, first shown at the ChinaJoy gaming conference in August 2018, allow users to install and try apps before buying them. AR ads have been in a test phase, with select advertisers, since Facebook revealed them at its F8 developer conference in 2018. All three products emphasize interactivity.

VentureBeat reports that, in a blog post, Facebook stated, “people want to be included in your next big idea and are using new innovative ways to do it.” Dubbing the new ad products as “playful,” Facebook added that, “brands and people are becoming more intertwined, and it’s changing digital advertising from a one-way push communication to an ongoing dialogue powered by creativity.”

In Q2 2019, Facebook earned $16.6 billion in ad revenue, a 28 percent year-over-year increase; 94 percent ($16.5 billion) of it came from mobile ads. The social media behemoth stated that “poll ads increased brand awareness compared with video ads in five out of nine brand lift studies.”

With regard to AR, it reported that makeup brand WeMakeUp “saw a 27.6 point uplift in purchases coinciding with the rollout of its lipstick try-on AR ad.” Meanwhile, a Vans playable ad “created in collaboration with Facebook’s Creative Shop drove a 4.4 point lift in ad recall, as well as a 2.4 point lift in favorability.” Warner Bros. reported that a poll ad for its “Game of Thrones” game app “increased installs by 87.5 percent … and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, which tested AR ads for its new Luxe Matte Lip color, claims website purchases doubled.”

The Drum reports that, at a September 18 press conference, Facebook vice president of global business marketing/chief creative officer Mark D’Arcy revealed that U.K. supermarket chain Tesco had been trialing the polling technology. In addition to Vans, Uber India has also experimented with playable ads. Dior has used AR ads to “let customers virtually try on their products during the testing stages of the product development.”

“There’s been a shift from this monologue of marketing at people,” said D’Arcy. “It has to be now approached fundamentally with a humility that the audience is in power as well. Not only can they ignore us, they can contribute or not contribute.”

He added that, for years, the creative community has been “trying to build little web browser ads and load code into them so they have some sort of interactivity, or built microsites to try and create some kind of experience.” “The thing I’m most excited about is we’ve taken this and made it lightweight, made it easier,” he said.