Focal moving into Closed Beta

Opening the platform for a wider pool of marketers worldwide.

I'm excited to share that Focal is now moving into closed beta. Together with our alpha testers, we've built a platform we're proud to share with a wider audience of marketers and designers worldwide. Your input has been crucial in shaping Focal and refining its features – thank you to everyone who has shared the journey with us so far.

Introducing new features to support growth teams

This year, the key focus areas for Focal have been improving searchability and helping teams to transfer all assets to Focal.  We've introduced the first version of the AI Search for creative materials, integrated with Figma and Google Drive for smoother connectivity with your apps, alongside numerous other features and bug fixes.

During the upcoming months, we continue to hone in on two key themes - helping brands gain full visibility and control over their marketing assets, and creating a more integrated way to collaborate on new creative work. In this blog post, we shed some light on how we are prioritizing roadmap items within these themes.

Full visibility and control over your creative assets

Why is this important? Let's start by exploring a real-life scenario we often encounter when speaking to marketing teams.

You spot an image in a sales deck that would be perfect for your newsletter. You can't find it on Google Drive with the search, but after spending some time combing through five levels of subfolders, you finally locate it. Are you authorized to use it? Your friend from the brand team isn't certain, so you ask in a Slack thread. A day later, you learn the license has expired, and it's back to square one.

Time to sift through more subfolders in search of equally inspiring content. Or maybe it is just easier to submit a new brief to the creative team or purchase some new stock content.

Brands spend a lot of time, money and effort producing content, but teams lack often visibility into what already exists and how it can be used. This not only leads to wasted hours every week, but it also easily results in the usage of expired content.

This quarter, we are working on two main solutions that will help brands save both time and money on this front.

AI Filters

In Focal, your creative assets are automatically indexed upon upload, and in addition to letting you search for people, locations and texts in the assets using AI, we are now also adding pre-made filters for colors, seasons, demographics and more. No tagging is needed for this to work.

Dynamic Collections

Manually organizing assets into folders and sub-folders should be a thing of the past. We use AI to categorize your assets and are now working on ways to automatically group similar assets and add them into relevant collections upon upload. A D2C shoe brand could e.g., use this to automatically categorize a bunch of creative files into product shots (product on a white background) and lifestyle content.

Custom Metadata Fields

We are introducing advanced custom metadata fields to help users organize and search for assets with more precision and a better filtering experience. For example, adding expiration dates and license information and automatically archiving content that should no longer be used. Customizability is at the core of Focal, so similar to our loved databases feature, you can fully customize these metadata fields to your own liking.

Better (integrated) ways of working & collaborating

Export, upload, download, command c, command v, command shift 4, command v... We want less of this and are actively improving how Focal connects with the rest of your stack, and continue working towards our goal of breaking down silos between teams.

Focal Chrome plugin for storing creative inspiration

We've seen countless examples of marketers and designers gathering ad inspiration (or "swipe files") using Slack threads, Instagram group chats and Notion pages. We're now working on a solution that will allow you to save images and videos you come across on any website or ads from common ad libraries like Facebook Ad Library. This will help you keep your inspiration organized and make it easy to use as a reference in new creative work.

Creative performance and usage metrics

Teams are already using Focal to plan new creative tests and to build a feedback loop, but we are now working on automating these workflows further. We believe creatives should have direct visibility into how assets they produce are being used - what is being downloaded, what is live and what is currently scaling.

To try out the new features, sign up for our closed-beta, and we'll get you started. If you want to be among the first to test out the new features, shoot us a message.

- Andreas

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