Facebook's head of luxury on how the luxury industry is adapting to digital advertising

On September 26, Facebook is introducing targeted brand advertising on Facebook Stories. A few days ago, FashionNetwork.com interviewed Morin Oluwole, head of luxury at Facebook and Instagram, who talked about this latest Facebook development, and of how luxury labels are increasingly gaining an understanding of social media as advertising tools. She also discussed the growing importance of augmented reality, social shopping and of advertisements on Instagram, Messenger and even WhatsApp.


Morin Oluwole, Head of Luxury at Facebook and Instagram - Matthieu Guinebault/FNW

FashionNetwork: What does the introduction of ads on Facebook Stories mean?

Morin Oluwole: Facebook Stories will now feature brand advertising. This could only be done before on the Facebook Feed, but it was a feature that already existed on Instagram. Facebook has 2.2 billion users. And Instagram, which we bought in 2012, has 1 billion users. It's worth remembering that Stories were launched on Instagram only two years ago. There are now 400 million daily Instagram Stories users, and 150 million daily users of Facebook Stories, a feature which was introduced more recently. Brands are increasingly interested in Stories as an advertising medium, as an alternative to the Facebook feed. And targeted ads on Stories will be more relevant than a simple Stories post. Besides, Stories now offer new, more creative opportunities, like augmented reality for example.
 
FNW: How are you going about this?

MO: Users can of course use filters on Facebook Stories, but also enjoy an augmented reality experience, like the one we created with Dior, to try out its latest sunglasses collection. We did something similar with Chanel, and with L’Oréal too, to test make-up products. We had quite a response. And this will only grow with the introduction of adverts on Facebook Stories, as brands will be able to increase their visibility with a targeted audience. For example, luxury labels, rather than simply create organic content to be viewed by their subscribers, will be able to target specific consumer segments with different types of content designed to obtain a targeted response. Stories will be able to integrate with a brand’s CRM data, in order to tap a specific category of people through relevant content. 

FNW: What are the distinguishing features of Facebook users interested in luxury goods?
 
MO: We have researched the subject, in order to offer the right advice to luxury labels. First of all, our users with a preference for luxury are almost 100% mobile-first. This means designing video content with a portrait orientation, and providing an immersive experience. On Instagram, luxury consumers follow more accounts, have more followers and post more stories. Luxury goods customers are more active than other users, so it’s important to have a constant presence on the feed and on Stories. Luxury consumers access Instagram 14 times per day, and they access Facebook 10 times per day. As a result, labels which only post once a week will not be highly visible to consumers who are so active on social media.

 

Dior has tested an augmented reality filter on Facebook for trying out its latest sunglasses model - Facebook

FNW: What were the results of your ad tests on Facebook Stories?

MO: We tested them with Dior Couture, which was our partner for the beta phase with an ad campaign for Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2019 haute couture collection. And they ran a second test with their new Saddle handbag. I can't share the results of these tests, but I can tell you that they helped us identify the potential of this type of advertising.

FNW: What is your current relationship with [luxury] labels?
 
MO: When we began to target the luxury goods sector four years ago, we set up a department outside of the USA for the first time. Because it was important to be based in Europe, notably in France, to better support our luxury partners. Initially, the luxury industry didn’t quite understand social media or web tools. In the last few months, we see that luxury labels are keen to be increasingly innovative, and to test new technologies. Dior and Chanel introduced our first Facebook Stories filters. Vuitton had already been our first luxury brand to advertise through Instagram Stories. The industry is changing at a slow pace, but it’s beginning to adapt to new challenges.
  
FNW: With regards to format, which kind of content is the most relevant?

MO: In terms of visibility, video content works best. And videos can be used in a complementary fashion on both Facebook and Instagram Stories. There is also what we call ‘Instant Experiences’, previously known as ‘Canvas’, a feature we introduced three years ago, enabling brands to create immersive visuals, or to play with pictures, clips and slideshows. It’s a storytelling tool which luxury labels have now got the hang of. When we launched it, our guinea pigs were Sephora, Guerlain and Gucci.

In terms of technology, augmented reality is still in its early days. Messenger can cater to different purposes. Last year, Louis Vuitton used a bot on Messenger to help customers find the right gift for the whole family. Sephora uses Messenger to book appointments for testing make-up products in-store. And to try them out using augmented reality too. Michael Kors is featured on the Facebook feed, on which eyeglasses can be added to pictures, with the option of redirecting the customer to the e-store page.

 

The chatbot developed last year by Louis Vuitton for Messenger - Louis Vuitton

FNW: Will WhatsApp too become a brand advertising tool? 
 
MO: As an advertising tool, WhatsApp is really in its infancy. We have started initial testing, focusing on a notification system. It isn’t yet clear what the results will be, and how it will integrate [with other platforms]. But we are working on it.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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