Facebook African Ambassador Summit 2019
This year, Popimedia was fortunate enough to receive an invitation as one of the top Agency Ambassadors on the continent to attend Facebook’s African Agency Ambassador Summit at their offices in New York City. The programme ran for two days in which Popimedia, and other African representatives, were exposed to the latest Facebook insights.
For starters, New York City herself hosts a vast number of highly intelligent people. This was highlighted at Facebook’s offices where we were surrounded by pure talent. The majority of the people working for Facebook NYC are graduates from ivy league business schools. This, coupled with the competitive hustle the city brings to the table, was an inspirational experience in itself. The culture at Facebook’s offices is nothing short of what you see in the movies; friendly, collaborative, funky, all tied together by an air of genius.
During the summit many topics were discussed. However, these three main themes underpinned them all; augmented and virtual reality, Instagram Stories and the future of programmatic media buying. All of which have the potential to impact the marketing industry in the coming years in South Africa and are therefore trends to be aware of.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
AR and VR have been hot topics in the digital space for some time now and will continue to be. Facebook mentioned their investment into developing AR and VR in the coming years, which is already apparent when considering the amount of AR filters available on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has entire teams devoted to developing tools and ad formats that make AR useful and accessible to advertisers and developers alike. Brands are utilising these AR filters and stickers to make their advertising more engaging and relevant to users. AR filters and stickers make adverts feel more natural as they are in line with the format already associated with the platform, creating a seamless experience as users’ tap through friends’ and brands’ content.
Facebook aims to make VR accessible to everyone, as was announced last year at F8 where Zuckerberg gave everyone who attended the conference a VR headset (read more about F8 2018). Although more cost effective and less bulky than its competitors at the time, Facebook’s Oculus is still a long way away from what the company envisions for the future of VR, where devices will be even lighter and more powerful with six degrees of freedom. This will enable people to access VR more easily, allowing them to connect and meet in a virtual space. This also ties into Zuckerberg’s commitment to develop the platform’s ability to bring communities together.
A lot of emphasis was placed on Instagram Stories and the influential role this feature has on marketing through the platform. During the programme, the product manager hosted a condensed workshop on creating Instagram Stories, focusing on how to use social effects. For organic posts Instagram has launched Instagram Shopping which allows users to click through directly to your catalogue from an image.
According to Instagram Business, out of the 500 million accounts using Stories, one-third (167 million) of the most viewed stories are created by businesses. Globally, 1 billion people use stories across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger and it is predicted that 90% of internet traffic will be video-based in this coming year. There is huge opportunity to market through Instagram Stories in South Africa. An avenue which has been largely untouched. Instagram and Instagram Stories in particular, provides a unique offering where brands can interact with their audiences in a relevant, interactive, immersive and entertaining environment. As always, the key is to implement best practise in order to achieve exceptional results. Popimedia currently has an offering to help brands get their content mobile- friendly and run optimised campaigns through Instagram and Instagram Stories.
The Future of Programmatic Media Buying
While not presented by Facebook as part of the summit, this topic emerged during discussions between the delegates and is something which is plausible for the future of media buying. A shift towards all media being bought programmatically in the future is a viable prediction as this system would enable you, as a marketer, to only pay for what you use. As streaming increases across television and radio, it is becoming more possible for brands to plug into this network and speak directly to their audience about relevant products and services. In fact, this is already occurring in the US with Dish Network. During an ad break, data from a user’s set-top box is sent out to media-buyers to help them make informed decisions, in real time, about what advert is best to serve, based on the user’s viewing behaviour. Furthermore, consider the possibilities with the rise of digital billboards. It is a possibility that the future of above-the-line could be booking media spend through an app, basing spend on the locations of digital billboards and the desired number of impressions.
What Does This Mean for You?
Fortunately, we are in an evolving industry and even though this may at times feel daunting the key is to always stay ahead of the game and keep up-to-date with industry trends. While they may not directly affect your day-to-day job right now, you never know where the industry could be in the near future.