Oh man, what an exciting week this was. Lots of talk from OC6 about Facebook Horizon. Who will use Facebook Horizon? How long until they start running ads on the platform? What kinds of monetization strategies will they use? What will Facebook do with our data?
First. Let’s do a recap of marketing in VR best practices:
- Don’t build your brand on one social media’s immersive tech. Make sure you branch out. (Both Ashley and I agree, Facebook is aging like Myspace).
- “how does this make them feel about my brand?” (84).
- “is this something I can share with friends?” (85).
- Virtual and augmented reality has the biggest impact when it’s used to tell stories.
- “Advertising in a VR/AR world brings a literal extra dimension to these targeting efforts” (23).
- Ads in VR are “8x more effective, and 2X more likely to share” than traditional media (24).
I see two types of monetization happening in Facebook Horizon.
Traditional advertising in VR
First, we’ll see traditional upselling in games. Check out this episode of Soonish where the guys talks about Facebook Libra. Facebook plans on using Libra cryptocurrency for microtransactions. Say, 10 cents to bypass and add or access an article. 15 cents to level up in a game faster or purchase mods for your airplane.
These are types of transactions we’re used too already in the two-dimensional world of mobile and desktop games. Pay 10 cents to heal my character immediately or wait an hour for their health to get back to 100?
Immersive Branding & Storytelling = $$
I think things will get interesting in Facebook Horizon when they start incorporating storytelling with brands on the platform. As a company, instead of making a Facebook page, you’ll have the ability to make your company’s world (within the confines of Facebook’s brand of course).
At OC6, Facebook announced building blocks within Horizon. Make yourself a castle or a tree house. Companies will be able to do this while incorporating 3D models of their products within their VR space on Facebook Horizon. User’s avatars will be able to try out products, meet with company mascots, or explore headquarters.
Facebook Horizon wants it to be a place for people to have experiences together. Why not have those shared experiences inside the Facebook Whole Foods VR space? Or maybe go rock climbing virtually with REI avatars?
Marketing in Facebook Horizon means social media managers and content writers can no longer hide behind the keyboard. I company avatars in Facebook Horizon 24/7, monitoring the virtual company land, ready to answer any questions (much like Facebook Horizon’s concierge service).
We might also see, as Hackl and Wolfe suggest, the option to “pay for the privilege of privacy” so not to be “overwhelmed by advertising in a VR/AR world” (25). I think this way of thinking about monetization in VR is a little outdated but it might be worth keeping an eye on in light of Facebook’s announcement at F8 that, “the future is private”.
Speaking of the future being private…
Where will privacy, data mining, and ethics come in at Facebook Horizon?
Remember in Marketing New Realities, when the Hackl and Wolfe suggest it’s Marketers job to “develop guardrails to make sure [a world infiltrated with ads 24/7] doesn’t happen” (25)? Yeah, I laughed too.
Now I think, it’s not necessarily the 24/7 ads we need to worry about, but the 24/7 bio-metric privacy, data mining, and data security. Hackl and Wolfe say Marketers have “moral obligations to each other and our society” (27).
If that’s so, why are the FTC and FBI investigating Facebook? Germany launched an investigation into Facebook for hiring humans to transcribe messages sent on Facebook Messenger. And there is still that whole Cambridge Analytica thing.
Who’s excited for Facebook Horzion?
So far, I’ve only seen two groups excited for Facebook Horizon. Virtual reality enthusiasts and marketers. Facebook Horizon is supposed to bring VR to the masses. It’s supposed to be the killer app that brings everyone together in VR. Only time will tell.
In the mean time, I caution people of Facebook. There are lots of social VR spaces to hang out and play games in. Why give our data and cryptocurrency to Facebook? Why not spread the love?
How long do you think before Facebook starts monetizing Horizon? Do you think Facebook has a plan for advertising and using our bio data in VR? Let me know in the comments below!