Facebook introduced a new 3D media type for News Feed that takes the form of cartoon-like objects users can interact with on mobile devices and desktop.
For example, a user could open the door of a 3D car and rotate it to view it from different angles. Users can create 3D posts with Oculus Medium, which is Oculus’ virtual reality (VR) content creation platform, or Facebook Spaces, which is Facebook’s platform for users to interact with each other in VR.
These new 3D posts expose a significantly bigger audience to content made in VR, which could raise interest in the technology. Previously, interaction with VR content was confined to headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift or a Samsung Gear VR. The number of VR headset owners is relatively small at just 18 million in 2016. However, Facebook’s 3D posts have a reach of over 2 billion monthly users, potentially exposing and familiarizing many consumers to VR content formats. This may make a bigger pool of users more inclined to purchase VR headsets.
A heightened consumer interest in VR technology may better position Facebook to sell more Oculus Rift headsets. This is important as Facebook currently lags behind competitors Samsung, Sony, and HTC in VR headset sales. As of Q2 2017, Oculus Rift sold roughly 383,000 headsets, lower than Samsung, Sony, and HTC’s roughly 8 million, 1.8 million, and 667,000 headset sales, respectively. Additionally, Facebook may be positioned to measure up to HTC, as 5% of those surveyed by Nielsen indicated the “definitely or probably” would purchase an Oculus Rift, slightly ahead of the 4% that said they would for HTC Vive.
More Oculus Rift sales could create a bigger pool of consumers to whom Facebook can serve branded VR experiences. Facebook may look to strike sponsored VR content deals if more consumers buy Oculus Rift headsets. Sponsored VR content would let auto companies create immersive test driving experiences, and allow real estate companies to virtually showcase vacant units for sale, for example. This could help Facebook keep up with digital ad rival Google, which recently unveiled Advr, its experimental VR format that could help VR developers monetize applications.
As aversion to advertising continues to grow and as ad-blocking adoption increases across the globe, publishers and brands are turning to immersive video — namely 360-degree video, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) — to win back some of their lost market share.
Immersive video can provide the impactful, emotion-driven storytelling that’s needed to capture the attention of consumers and cut through the saturated ad space.
- Highlights the rising popularity of immersive video with consumers and brands.
- Explores why immersive video advertising growth will help publishers buck the Google and Facebook digital duopoly.
- Outlines successful use cases that have propelled brands’ overall reach and retention.
- Forecasts the growth of the virtual reality market.
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