In October 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta a month after Apple released their IOS15 update, which let Apple users block any app from tracking them (Including Facebook). Since then Meta’s stock price has gone down almost 70%.
For Meta this update meant that 80% of the user-base opted out of the tracking, which was a major blow to their revenue. Remember that Meta's business model relies on the money advertisers bring into the platform and by opting out of tracking, those users "disappear" as far as Meta is concerned. Less users means higher prices and suddenly the idea of advertising in Meta stops being so obvious.
Meta tried to combat this, by releasing a new conversion API aimed at making tracking server-based and more algorithmic than before. However, this did not solve the issue. In many ways, it has made it even worse. Where Facebook used to be quite easy to work with, Meta has become a much more ops-heavy platform.
Facebook's transition towards Meta, shows where the company believes the future lies. In this case, the Metaverse.
Meta has invested more than 30 billion USD so far, which shows the commitment Zuckerberg is showing, but this very process has already caused quite a lot of concern among some shareholders.
The only way to make this whole thing work, is for users to spend as much time as possible inside the Metaverse, so Meta is trying to build an appealing platform powered by a technology, that is still far from ubiquitous.
Many view VR still as a recreational thing, maybe something linked to video games. However, Meta is doubling down on office workers, who in their view would be better off immersed in a virtual environment. Meta's solution allows you to enter a virtual work space where you can interact with your colleagues' avatars in a meeting room (rather than simply having a Zoom call for example) or extend your laptop's screen in order to boost productivity.
The technology is really cool to be honest, but the implementation seems to still be quite buggy, so rather than focusing on the technical part of this, let's see what implications the Metaverse could have for an advertiser like you.
I'm willing to wager that if you were to embrace the Metaverse today, it would be a relatively ad-free environment. However, I'm sure you'd see some major brands already there. These early adopters have enough resources to test whether or not a new marketplace is worth their while. Remember how not so long ago, big brands invested heavily in NFT? We could be seeing something like this.
What implications then, could the Metaverse have for customers and advertisers? It may surpirse you, but as things are today, I bet things will be a bit the same.
In the event of the Metaverse taking over, stronger more aggressive ad policies may be applied and more control (from the big advertisers) will be put in place, in order to dictate which content you can run ads against. This is not something new of course, all platforms have advertising policies aimed at keeping certain things off it. However, when a new marketplace is launched and only the big corporations can advertise, can anyone be sure these policies won't be tailored to just some? That is the curse of living off advertisers at the end of the day.
The Metaverse won't be a revolution, but an evolution of the current state of affairs. The main difference being that we are all immersed through a physical device over our eyes. That is where the difficulty lies however. As addictive as social media can be, all you need to do is delete the app or switch off your phone, but when you are fully immersed in VR, can you actually do that?
I believe a VR future is quite far away and the answer lies in the middle. We will keep using our smart phone devices as the main connecting point, but maybe through a proper use of AR (augmented reality) we can enrich the experience between consumers and advertisers.
It sounds like it happened so long ago, but I still remember when the content I consumed in social media, was more relevant and tailored to me, rather than the incredible amount of forgettable content each of us goes through every day. Here's a revolutionary idea, let's go back to basics!
Check out the video we made on this subject here: