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The Drum’s 3 Actionable Insights series asks top industry leaders to share their thoughts about the actions our readers should take immediately. Today, as part of our Mobile Deep Dive, we hear from Nicola Mendelsohn, vice-president EMEA, Facebook, who talks about the immediacy of mobile commerce, the AR explosion and why giving up creative control is a good thing.

1. Capture consumers while they are in the discovery mindset

What we’ve seen with mobile commerce is really a collapse of the traditional purchase funnel. People can become aware of a product and purchase, literally, in a matter of seconds. In the same way that mobile has democratized advertising, it also opens up commerce for brands, whether they’re big or small.

What we are seeing now is really big shift in mobile and social commerce. It’s going to continue to shift in terms of how we discover and how we buy. We’ve moved from a utility mindset to much more of a discovery mindset – from intent-based shopping, where I know what I want and where I want to find it, to interest-based shopping where people are actually looking to be inspired. This behavior is really sticking. Brands should really be thinking about how they can challenge shopping conventions, and really how to make advertising much more consumer-centric. The more that we’re able to reduce friction, the quicker they’ll move from discovery to purchase.

I think about my own personal experiences. My favorite one, which I never could have dreamed up in a million years, was for my husband’s birthday. He likes whiskies so I was searching around for whiskey, and then into my feed popped up whiskey-flavored toothpicks. I actually bought it, and he just thought it was the funniest present because it was unexpected.

2. Don’t be afraid to give up control to creators

The opportunities for creativity on mobile are just endless. But there’s a caveat: you have to be willing to give up control.

We’ve got very personal relationships with our phones. It’s more than a communication device. Is yours next to your bed? Mine is. It’s [part of] a trusted, deep, intense relationship. It’s more than just a utility, a place to bank, to find maps or use for entertainment... it’s very interactive. It gives people the ability to participate and this is where great opportunity lies.

If you really want to connect deeply with an audience on mobile, you actually have to give up a little bit of control. What that means is that you’ve got to let people take the lead and be willing to have a conversation that’s authentic. You’ve got to let people decide when and where they want to make a transaction and on what terms. And you almost have to follow people rather than expect them to follow you and really build experiences for what people want – not just for what your brand is looking to achieve. We’re seeing so many different examples now of how brands and campaigns are really empowering people to capture, tell and spread stories in a way that’s personal to them and in a way that builds a really personal relationship with a brand.

I don’t know if you saw the Adidas example that brought NBA star James Harden to Europe virtually. They used eight different creators across five different markets in EMEA. They held a virtual hobnob on Instagram with AR effects so you could literally hang out him in your home or on the court. They made their own storylines. It was shoppable.

The technology is at a point today where it’s never been easier for brands to really put this connection at the core with the right mindset and the right willingness to give up control. When I think back to the beginning of my career, if someone said that you would, in essence, give brand assets away and say ‘go play’, that would have made people pull back. But when you do that with authenticity, that’s when you really start to see a result that is ultimately about sales. So I definitely think creativity and unleashing that is a big opportunity.

3. Build the bridge between online and offline worlds with AR

What AR can do now is enhance and deepen connections with people, regardless of the distance that you have. When you ask someone to engage with an AR experience you are actually asking them to do something active. We know that AR can be really useful in bridging the gap between the online and the offline. So by experiencing a product without traveling to the store, or just by making it more fun, you can actually bridge the offline world and provide entertainment. There’s a furniture retailer in the UK called Made and what it did, if you take a picture of your room, is allow you to place a [virtual] chair or a desk in your room and you can see what it looks like in the space. It really helps you to understand something that wouldn’t have been possible before.

Another one was one that Disney did. It was an effect for video calling on Messenger that changes everything except the person themselves and drops you into the set of that movie. And we’ve seen others like with Ray-Ban where you can go into their Instagram shop and actually try on the Ray-Bans. There are loads of examples.

We’re seeing this kind of seamless connection between digital and physical where AR is actually lighting up the world in front of you, which is really exciting. Brands are becoming more interested, and consumers are expecting to get more involved as well.

You can check out more of our 3 Actionable Insights series here, and don’t forget to sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.