Some of you might have recently heard about Facebook’s F8 Keynote. Zuck’s jokes were corny as ever, but the tech was really astounding.
For the LARGE majority of these types of keynotes, you see a bunch of fancy stuff that will never really transfer over into the real world for many, many years. This is especially true with the current topic that they were covering in this keynote: augmented reality.
I’m sure most of you have heard of virtual reality, and have seen that this is something you can now just pick up at a store, and hook up to your son’s new Playstation. However augmented reality takes that magical mumbo-jumbo of a virtual “real world” and instead superimposes really, really cool stuff over the world we all actually live in. It literally AUGMENTS the reality we’re in.
I know, I know, all of you are thinking that there is NO WAY that this can relate to my small business. I’m not going to be developing apps to help my clients find my restaurant in augmented reality, or build an AR app that will allow me to quote a water damage repair in real time–there’s no way that this will make sense financially, or time wise.
I’m telling that that you will, and it will make TONS of financial sense.
But what medium would this all go through? a $5,000 pair of sunglasses from the terminator? No it’s all way easier than that. It all goes through your smart phone! the best part? It’s in closed beta right now. This means that sometime this year this will be an open access item you can use to get ahead of your competition. Here are some cool–practical things you can do to make this stuff work for you as it comes down the pipeline. Now of course all of this might be completely different once it comes out, but the possibilities are still there, and it can only get better from here.
Tagging buildings with special information and directions–
This is something that is already doable thanks to google business listings– but not at the level that Facebook is implying. Imagine being able to have someone pull up to your location after driving there via GPS– and getting a notification to use the Facebook camera to look at the building. From there they would see where the main entrance is, what the specials are for the day, or even if someone is out of the office at that moment if there was a meeting they’re expecting to go to. All of this can (and will) happen and update in real time, allowing you to promote new products before the customer is even in the store–and to offer special incentives to those who use this screen to learn more about the business.
Tagging individual products on a Facebook feed.
Imagine you’re a wine dealer, and you’re out on a nice picnic lunch with your wife at the park. You have made a wonderful spread with one of your most popular wines on the table. You snap a picture of the spread, and not only tag your wife and your business to the picture in general, but you create a specific product tag for the wine, which a clickable link that leads the viewer directly to your store to purchase the wine. You could do this for a virtual tour of your store, on individual promotional pictures, and pretty much anywhere else you think your product might appear. This opens up an amazing gamification to following a retailer’s feed–as you can create special promotions for certain posts over others, motivating people to be mindful of your feed so they get the best deals– the increase in customer engagement from this alone could completely change a business.
Overlaying not-yet-purchased products onto a person, product, or home.
Imagine you’re a company that sells premium siding. Your customer loves the products and understands that he needs it, but can’t decide on the width of the battens, and the color. You simply hold up your phone to the home and have each individual siding superimposed on the house so that they can see in REAL TIME exactly what each siding would look like. Let’s all remember here that loss aversion is a FAR stronger driver of sales than potential for gain. Imagine the feeling of loss when the client goes from seeing their shiny new home all done up in gorgeous siding, and then it disappears as they look at their drab, dirty home again. Once again a total game changer on so many fronts.
On the AI Front:
This is another interesting item that will truly change small business. You have all been to websites where there is a “live chat” that will help you find products or services you need. the thing about them right now is that they’re a) on the person’s website (not the main place people live online) and b) they’re ran by people–even if they’re outsourced customer service reps from India. Facebook wants to change that. Imagine having a “chatbot” that learns as it talks to your customers on Facebook messenger– and actually makes sales. Zuck didn’t go into this in too much depth, but if you imagine a) the accessibility there to sell people on the spot with an automated “sales bot” that you can train (if you actually can train them) and also having this on FACEBOOK instead of having to funnel people to your website– you could see conversions increase tremendously if this is leveraged correctly, with almost no hands-on time spent on your part.
These are just a few that sprung to mind for me when I watched the keynote earlier this week. Facebook has truly evolved from its humble beginnings of a replacement for Myspace to a comprehensive “main page” of the internet, allowing you to collate tons of information, keep track of friends around the world, and share items in such a fun and dynamic way that the sky really is the limit when it comes to creativity in promoting products, and so many other things! Plus that Augmented Reality Art installation was so cool! (you’ll have to watch the video for that)
Can you all think of other ways F8 will change online marketing? let me know in the comments.