4 Things Every PR Pro Should Know About Facebook and AR

June 27, 2018


If you work in public relations, branding, marketing or communications, chances are that your newsfeed was recently jammed with news from the Facebook Developer Conference (“F8”). The company used F8 strategically to address the current issues surrounding privacy and to highlight what the future holds for Facebook.

Not only did they announce several initiatives designed to expand the use of augmented reality (AR) across its family of apps, but they also revealed that Facebook will be battling Snapchat for AR dominance of the shared social experience in the years to come. I am excited to see AR become part of a larger conversation about the future of public relations.

But I’m not the only one excited about this news. Mari Smith, social media thought leader and one of the world’s leading authorities on Facebook, also thinks that using AR is a game-changer for businesses and brands.

“I got really excited when Mark Zuckerberg first unveiled the Camera Effects as the first AR platform at F8 2017,” she shared. “He demoed the ability to point the camera at any object and an information card would pop up.”

Smith added, “Imagine the possibilities of every smartphone owner in the world being able to point his or her [mobile] device at any physical object, get instant information and make a buying decision on the spot. That could be scary for some businesses. But to the savvy, forward-thinking marketers, the future of Facebook and AR looks very bright indeed.”

So, to help make sense of all of this, here are the top four things that every marketer should know about Facebook’s new announcements regarding AR:

  1. Facebook is updating its AR creation tools. Facebook’s AR Studio has been redesigned to make it easier to create richer AR experiences. One new feature allows content to be pinned to a real-world location, so the experience becomes available once a viewer is physically at that spot. Another feature lets AR experiences track the movement of people in the camera frame, so that motion can be animated.
  2. Facebook is bringing free 3D models to creators. Facebook has partnered with Sketchfab so users can upload and share their 3D creations for AR or VR. Co-founder and CEO Alban Denoyel said their download API will be integrated into Facebook’s creation tool AR Studio. AR developers will be able to search for, find and insert 3D models directly into AR Studio projects, streamlining the experience creation process. This shows that 3D objects can open a new door for AR commerce and empower PR pros to move from flat 2D content to richer 3D content.
  3. Facebook brings AR to Instagram. Immersive technologies like AR recognize our visual nature, and there isn’t a more visual social network than Instagram, a platform that’s tailor-made for augmented reality. On its new AR filter platform, people will see user-designed filters based on the accounts that they follow. This will enable them to try out filters directly from their friends’ stories. This is where Facebook will battle Snapchat for Gen Z as this key demographic becomes even more important to communicators.
  4. Facebook Messenger gets AR effects. World Effects is a suite of AR tools for Messenger that leverages sophisticated computer vision capabilities of smartphones. These effects can allow users to visualize products as they might appear in their own homes, encouraging people to share branded content with friends. Brands like Asus, Kia, Nike and Sephora are already making filters for Messenger’s upcoming AR launch.
Cathy Hackl, APR

Cathy Hackl, APR, created the holographic press release and is a leading voice in augmented reality and virtual reality. A futurist and well-known speaker, she is co-author of “Marketing New Realities,” the only book on augmented reality and virtual reality for marketing. Hackl joined Atlanta-based You Are Here Labs in 2018, where she leads agencies, brands and companies in applying futuristic technologies.



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