Meta Pitches AR Ads to Advertisers at NewFronts

The company looks to reach younger audiences with its investment in augmented reality

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As a part of its pitch to advertisers, Meta announced augmented reality with Reels ads and Facebook Stories at Thursday’s NewFronts presentation.

Brands such as Sephora and Tiffany & Co. tested Meta’s update, which included AR filters to market to the company’s younger audience. Previously, Meta offered AR ads in its Facebook and Instagram feed and Stories. The company said these ads drove total ad recall in the 18-24 demographic 87% of the time, outperforming ads that did not use AR.

“Meta has caught the room’s attention,” said Peter Chun, global head of partnerships at VaynerMedia. “They will need to continue executing for another quarter or two to force change, but this is their breaking-the-sound-barrier moment.”

Meta reported revenue growth in the first quarter, after three consecutive quarters of decline. During its recent Q1 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg attributed part of the boosted earnings to AI for helping to push Reels videos to users.

With the news, Meta’s AR ads could position the company to compete with Snap for marketers’ ad dollars. Snap introduced a slew of new ad solutions earlier this week at NewFronts, including First Story, a format where advertisers can reserve the first Snap Ad. The platform is also testing sponsored links in its AI chatbot, My AI.

“I think we will quickly get to a world where AR and AI intersect and will be a commodity across platforms,” said Chun. “We plan to test Meta AR performance versus Snap’s. However, it’s too early to think about budget shifts.”

Chun did not disclose the agency’s Snap spend but said its overall investment on that platform continues to grow.

Sephora tested Meta’s AR Reels ads to create an immersive experience with a press of one’s thumb to generate an “aura vibe” to help select the most fitting fragrances. After trying the filter in-camera, users could visit Sephora’s best-selling fragrances to make a purchase. Sephora saw incremental reach and engagement, with over half the audience being Gen Z.

Similarly, Tiffany & Co. created an immersive AR experience using AR Reels ads to celebrate the reopening of its newly renovated Fifth Avenue flagship store, The Landmark, in New York. Users could experience The Landmark while enjoying Jean Schlumberger’s jewel-encrusted creations.

Marketers will also be able to work with third-party measurement partners for interstitial Reels ads campaigns, including DoubleVerify, IAS and MOAT. These companies are helping Meta to test and launch Reels Viewability reporting, which, when complete, will be available to advertisers leveraging these partners.

More interactive Reels ads

In addition to AR, Meta announced new features to Reels ads to improve ad formats. This includes a larger call-to-action button with more advertiser information on Facebook and Instagram Reels ads. This new button will include an ad thumbnail, headline and additional business details, such as the website URL, to help people that show interest take the next step to click.

The tech giant will also allow consumers to pause a video ad and preview the link. As a result, businesses may see an increase in clickthrough rate for Reels ads, the company said.

Improvements are also coming to Meta’s shopping ads within Reels. Now, with new multi-destination product ads, similar to its carousel ad format, viewers can swipe through multiple product images without leaving the Reel they’re watching.

Touting AI tool Advantage+ Shopping

Meta’s head of global business group Nicola Mendelsohn pitched a recent development in the company’s AI technology during the presentation, which helped Meta improve its ad ranking system to understand which ads are working and better predict the ads that are going to be the most relevant.

“It’s driving efficiency for a suite of ad products, eliminating many of the manual and tedious steps of creating an ad,” Mendelsohn said. “Our investments are already paying off, especially with Meta Advantage, our brand name for our portfolio of AI products.”

Advantage+ Shopping, Meta’s AI-driven tool that optimizes ads across audiences and ad formats, is already used by a majority of its advertisers, Mendelsohn said. Meanwhile, advertisers previously told Adweek they are redirecting their ad spend to Meta because of this AI technology, moving ad dollars away from TikTok.

“Now with a click of one button, Advantage+ Shopping campaigns execute millions of iterations of targeting performance scenarios within milliseconds to be able to pick the very best combination,” Mendelsohn added.

The ad announcements arrive following the Federal Trade Commission’s recently proposed ban on Meta profiting from children’s data.

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