They Ask, You Answer Mastery

A coaching & training program that drives unmatched sales & marketing results.


Sales Performance Mastery

Improve the competencies and close rates of your sales organization.

Web design

Website Mastery

Web design, development & training for your team.


HubSpot Mastery

Everything you need to get the most from HubSpot.

AI Mastery

AI Enablement Mastery

Unlock the power of AI in all aspects of your revenue operations.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session
Learning Center
Learning Center

Learning Center

Free resources to help you improve the way you market, sell and grow your business.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session

Free Assessment: How does your sales & marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started
Iris Hearn

By Iris Hearn

Oct 11, 2018


Facebook Marketing
Facebook Marketing

Facebook's Release of Portal: What Does It Mean for Marketers?

Iris Hearn

By Iris Hearn

Oct 11, 2018

Facebook's Release of Portal: What Does It Mean for Marketers?

(Image credit: Facebook newsroom)

Attempting to break into the smart speaker space, Facebook recently announced the launch of new hardware products - Portal and Portal+.

The Portal devices take audio commands (in partnership with Amazon’s Alexa), connect to Spotify or Pandora, allow you to watch videos from Facebook Watch and select content partners, and also utilize AI technology that revolutionizes the way users can video chat.

What isn’t included? Surprisingly, browsing your Facebook feed.

The key differentiator here compared to other smart speakers and home assistants is the camera.

Aiming to create what they refer to as “social presence,” the Portal’s camera uses facial detection technology to follow the user around the room as they are on a video call - feeling less like screen-to-screen communication and more like an authentic conversation - as if you’re in the same room.

Additionally, to increase user appeal, smart filters are built in to make video chatting a more interactive experience for its users.

This is certainly next-level for Facebook, and the smart speaker industry as a whole - and very telling of where the industry may be headed over the next few years.

With that being said, there are also key factors to keep in mind when considering how Facebook Portal may - or may not - become part of your marketing strategy.

Privacy Concerns

The biggest roadblock standing in the way of Facebook Portal’s success is the level of trust consumers have with the company.

Over the past year, several controversies have emerged relating to how Facebook collects, uses, and shares your information.

The most recent data concern came just a few weeks ago, when a software vulnerability was unveiled that potentially left around 50 million accounts at risk of being hacked.

When we’re talking about inviting a device into your home with a camera that literally follows you around your home, these vulnerabilities become even more frightening.

Because of these concerns, it’s not surprising that Portal’s announcement was met with a healthy degree of skepticism from the public over how secure this device will be.

Prepared for the public pushback, Facebook emphasized in their press release announcement that Portal was “Built with Privacy and Security in Mind.”

The announcement went on to summarize the features built-into the device to ensure this, including:

  • Disable the microphone with the touch of a button;
  • Built-in camera cover for when you’re not using the video chat feature; and   
  • Layered security access - requiring a passcode to unlock the screen. If you want to change the passcode, you must validate with your Facebook password.

Additionally, and arguably the more important concern, was what data is being collected by the Portal, and how is it being used?

Facebook provided the following information:

"Facebook doesn’t listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so your calls are always secure.

For added security, Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers. Portal’s camera doesn’t use facial recognition and doesn’t identify who you are.

Like other voice-enabled devices, Portal only sends voice commands to Facebook servers after you say, 'Hey Portal.' You can delete your Portal’s voice history in your Facebook Activity Log at any time."

UPDATE: Since the time this article was published, Facebook has changed its answer about the data that will be collected through Portal and, according to recode, now says that while Portal does not have ads, data about who you call and data about which apps you use on Portal can be used to target you with ads on other Facebook-owned properties.

Here's what Facebook's spokesperson had to say:

Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads.

What Does this mean for Marketers?

The Portal is the first hardware device that a social media platform has released to the public. This is a big step for social media, but not an unexpected move given the increasing number of consumer’s purchasing such devices.

The home assistant and smart speaker market is having a huge effect on how we interact with technology, and consumers’ expectations for ease of use.  Because social media is already such a significant part of the average person’s daily life, it’s not surprising that the smart speaker market was the next logical step for Facebook.

While the use cases for marketers are not yet clear, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Paid ad placement: While you can’t browse Facebook on the Portal, the devices are run off of Facebook’s Messenger and Facebook Watch programs, so should this be successful, we’re likely to see substantially higher rates of engagement with these tools - something marketers should keep in mind as they’re evaluating paid ad placement in their strategy.
  • Voice tech is becoming more prominent: Portal will likely not be the only major smart speaker launch we see over the coming year. As more and more companies are recognizing this shift in user behavior, it’s up to marketers to adapt this change into our own marketing strategy. This will affect SEO, content creation, and more in the coming years.
  • Keep data security and transparency top of mind: These events are very telling of the public's interest in keeping data secure, and the expectations for companies to be transparent about it. With data protection laws becoming increasingly stringent, it’s important for marketers to be aware of how they’re collecting, storing, and utilizing personal information. Even if laws like GDPR don’t apply to your area just yet, it’s important to start working these principles into your current strategy now - it will keep you compliant, and help to avoid a PR disaster down the line.
  • Trust is key: Facebook’s Portal is truly a revolutionary piece of technology, but it risks not being adopted due to public distrust of the company. This goes to show why trust is such an important factor on your customers’ buying decisions, and why the “delight” stage of the customer buying journey is so important to any company’s long term success.

Facebook’s Portal devices are just the latest entrant into this market, but a strong signal that the major social platforms see voice as an important channel. While tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are at the forefront of this trend, their investment in this market is an indicator to the rest of us that we should begin to consider how voice will factor into our own marketing strategies going forward.

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.

Related Articles

How Facebook's news feed algorithm works and prioritizes content

July 14, 2021
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

Marketers, Facebook Analytics will be no more on June 30, 2021

April 2, 2021
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

Facebook ads vs. boosted posts: Which is more effective in 2021?

March 23, 2021
Ali Parmelee Ali Parmelee

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which is better for your ad strategy?

February 19, 2021
John Becker John Becker

How to maximize lead generation via Facebook posts and ads

January 18, 2021
Myriah Anderson Myriah Anderson

Facebook for Creators offers tactical video advice leading into the holidays

December 7, 2020
Katie Coelho Katie Coelho

Facebook Ads removing 28-Day attribution model, defaulting to 7-day

October 15, 2020
Joel Waggener Joel Waggener

Facebook and Instagram Messenger merge; expands marketing potential

October 5, 2020
Shandia Drummond-Butt Shandia Drummond-Butt

3 costly mistakes brands make with Black Friday and Cyber Monday Facebook and Instagram ads

September 30, 2020
Ali Parmelee Ali Parmelee

Facebook ad 20% text limit is now a thing of the past

September 28, 2020
Joel Waggener Joel Waggener

Facebook launches e-learning program for community managers

September 9, 2020
Katie Coelho Katie Coelho

Facebook Shop to support online retailers, e-commerce during COVID-19

September 1, 2020
Dia Vavruska Dia Vavruska

Facebook is removing 1,000+ ad targeting options because of low usage

August 19, 2020
Joel Waggener Joel Waggener

How to turn strangers into customers (and friends) with Facebook Ads [AdvertiseMint CEO Brian Meert Interview]

August 19, 2020
John Becker John Becker

Boutique clothing brand sees 99% revenue increase with new paid ads strategy

August 6, 2020
Dan Baum Dan Baum

Google: Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be different in 2020 for e-commerce

July 30, 2020
Katie Coelho Katie Coelho

Apple's privacy update: What does it mean for your mobile ad strategy?

July 24, 2020
Eric Choma Eric Choma

Data privacy update: How the CCPA affects you and your paid advertising

July 15, 2020
Dan Baum Dan Baum

The North Face kicks off Facebook ad boycott

July 6, 2020
Nick Bennett Nick Bennett

Facebook and Instagram will allow users to 'turn off' political ads ahead of 2020 election

June 23, 2020
Dia Vavruska Dia Vavruska

The most important Facebook and Instagram ad benchmarks you need to know [Infographic]

June 14, 2020
Ali Parmelee Ali Parmelee

Facebook Messenger will soon allow you to toggle between business and personal accounts (finally!)

June 12, 2020
Stephanie Baiocchi Stephanie Baiocchi

Facebook confirms it's testing email marketing for business pages

June 11, 2020
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

8 best webinar software to go live on Facebook (free and paid)

June 9, 2020
Christine Austin Christine Austin

What Facebook Ads problems do digital marketers need to watch out for?

June 4, 2020
Ali Parmelee Ali Parmelee