Facebook expands its playable and AR ad formats

Ahead of Advertising Week, Facebook is announcing the expansion of three interactive ad formats.

First, it says that poll ads (which you may already have seen in Instagram Stories) are moving to the main feed of the Facebook mobile app. Second, the augmented reality ads that Facebook has already been testing are moving into open beta this fall. Third, Facebook is making playable ads available to all advertisers, not just gaming companies.

The company showed off each format at a press event yesterday in New York City.

E!, for example, says it ran ads with interactive polls to promote one of its TV shows, leading to a 1.6x increase in brand awareness. Meanwhile, Vans created a playable ad where players could guide skateboarder Steve Van Doren down a mountain, resulting in a 4.4% lift in ad recall. And WeMakeUp ran an AR ad campaign allowing users to virtually try on new shades of makeup, leading to a 27.6% lift in purchases.

Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer and vice president of global business marketing, said that while the initial playable ad examples had “very literal gaming mechanics, doing brands in a game,” there could be “a whole range” of different interactions over time.

D’Arcy also acknowledged that including polls, games and AR in ads aren’t exactly new ideas, but he suggested that in the past, they’ve generally been “heavy” experiences, requiring things like a separate microsite. By bringing them front-and-center on Facebook, the company is making them “super lightweight, fun and super scalable.”

As result, he suggested that each of these formats will evolve as more advertisers get to experiment with them: “In 12 months, even six months, we’re going to look at these examples and they’ll be fundamentally different.”

And if you’re wondering how these new formats will handle user data, the Facebook team said that only the aggregate results of polls — not individual user data — will be shared with advertisers. Similarly, any images created by users through an AR ad can be saved to their camera roll, but won’t be shared with advertisers.

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