On October 8, 2018, Facebook Portal launched for pre-sale. This is Facebook’s entry into the smart, home-device market. While essentially a video phone, Facebook Portal does come with Alexa, and will also include Google Assistant. What makes it different from other smart, home-devices is the fact that it has a video chat screen that will consistently keep you in frame with automated zoom features. For those who worry about Facebook’s privacy features, the device does come with a physical privacy shield you can clip on.
You can also enjoy voice-activated playlists from either your Spotify or Pandora accounts for Bluetooth. Furthermore, voice navigation is managed by the “Hey Portal” software. Then, with Facebook Watch, you can expect video, augmented reality, and more. Prices range from $199 for the 10-inch Portal to $349 for the 15.6-inch swiveling screen Portal+ that also comes with hi-fi audio.
So now, Facebook has a smart home device entry to compete with the likes of Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo. Why is this important for marketers? We’ll get to that in a bit.
Astronomical growth of the smart home device market
According to an IDC report, the smart home device market is expected to grow 31 percent year over year from 2018. In fact, the industry is expected to reach sales of 1.3 billion devices by 2022. This means it will go from 100 million units today to 230 million by 2022 with Google, Amazon, and now Facebook Portal leading the way. As a result, these types of devices will soon become mainstream. And, these smart devices are the next frontier for marketers.
Smart display marketing and campaign optimization
While display marketing is a tried and true concept, it does feel fresh within the realm of smart in home devices. Google believes in the smart home device market so much that they have introduced smart display campaigns. And, eventually, you will have a bevy of displays to choose from whether it is through Google, Amazon, Facebook, or another brand.
Currently, Google’s Smart display campaigns will only display campaigns across the Google device network. Not to worry, other brands will soon have their own marketing campaign options available too. Essentially, these types of campaign models are designed to take advantage of the smart home device screen space with optimized images, native, and text ads, as well as voice tech.
Google also added machine learning to the marketing mix. You can expect these types of campaign offerings to be part of a bigger trend around marketing on smart home devices within the next decade. In addition, the machine learning aspect “learns” where your ad placement is most efficient to ensure the highest level of conversions.
Similarly, Facebook offers ad delivery optimization which also uses data to place your ads in locations that will positively improve your overall results. Not to mention, with the Google Display Network, you already get a wide range of potential marketing space over 3 million apps and websites.
Marketing on Facebook Portal
Marketers will have to wait and see how consumers react to Facebook Portal as it is has just recently launched. Nonetheless, the smart home is becoming much more normalized. The obstacle is figuring out how to market your company’s products and services within this new arena. It remains to be seen how Facebook will determine the advertising realm within this space. Yet, it’s easy to imagine it could be a version of Facebook ads developed for smart home devices or even something specifically for Facebook Portal.
With that in mind, it is important to remember that Facebook is still dealing with privacy concerns. Over the past year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took personal responsibility for data leaks on the site. Zuckerberg also said the company would be engaged in a three-year effort to ramp up data security.
Moreover, with Portal, Facebook says there is no facial recognition; the camera and microphone can be disabled, and all calls are encrypted. For instance, instead of facial recognition, Facebook uses a technology called 2D pose—which, is also run locally on your device. These types of security measures may help ease the comfort levels of potential buyers worried about Facebook data leaks.
Since Facebook Portal is a true video phone, with contemporary voice technology, then it stands to reason that voice tech will be a mainstay. In the future, this could be a strong platform for the healthcare industry where face-to-face interactions are vital.
As a marketer, it’s critical to understand how artificial intelligence is changing the way people work and live. It’s also time to take a serious look at voice tech and smart display marketing. It appears this will be the marketing wave of the future, and it’s here now.