Facebook has announced the launch of an augmented reality (AR) feature for its Messenger app, which will allow brands to offer customised advert experiences.
Though the feature is still in its beta stage, retailers like Nike have already signed on as early partners.
The footwear brand launched a new pair of limited edition shoes to coincide with its new Messenger AR advert, allowing customers to view a virtual render of the shoe when chatting with Nike’s chatbot and then make a purchase.
“When a person interacts with your business in Messenger, you can prompt them to open the camera, which will be pre-populated with filters and AR effects that are specific to your brand,” Facebook said.
“This feature leverages the nature of messaging to help people get valuable, instant feedback about purchases, customizations, and more, without ever needing to set foot in a store.”
1.3 billion people are understood to use the Messenger app and the social media behemoth has said ads within the app will be an important part of its long-term revenue growth strategy.
Facebook said it also plans to sell adds to brands on its news feed that connect to messenger conversations, creating a “flywheel” feedback loop for advert sales.
This comes amid increasing controversy over data privacy at Facebook, alongside growing opposition both internally and from the public over the use of targeted adverts.
Earlier this week the co-founder and chief executive of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Jan Koum, announced plans to step down over disagreements with its parent company.
Though the reason for his departure is not yet known, Koum has long been a critic of targeted advertising, stating in 2012 that adverts were “a disruption to aesthetics, an insult to your intelligence, and the interruption of your train of thought”.