In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus for an estimated $2.3 billion and 7 years later, they are starting to do their first test of targeted advertising in the Oculus Quest headsets. This is part of Facebook’s exploration of ways developers can generate revenue, in the hope this will unlock new areas within the VR space.
The ads reportedly will use information from a user’s Facebook profile and activity related to Oculus, such as apps installed, to target users. The initial testing will only be with a select few developers, including Revolution Games and their game, Blaston. Ads themselves will still have to follow Facebook’s advertising policy and users, like with the Facebook app, will be able to hide and report ads.
Depending on initial feedback from the test, Facebook may then decide to roll out more broadly, where you will be able to run ads in the Oculus Mobile App, as well as the headset.
All Response Media viewpoint
From our standpoint, this could present an opportunity for clients whose product or offering is very visual and could be made interactive, for example, travel or retail. Whilst an initial view of the ad format in the test looks to be more like a banner like you would see on a conventional desktop or mobile webpage, Facebook has reportedly said they are working on unique VR ad formats. The possibilities, especially with VR tech getting more and more advanced, could be endless, with ads integrating seamlessly within the VR environment.
Whilst this format could be good for specific clients, there is the question of how we can measure performance. Currently, these banner-style ads are clickable, with users going to a page within the Oculus web browser. This click would be trackable, just like any Facebook ad would be. However, how likely is someone to click on one of these ads, and then make a purchase on the Oculus? Until we have some data behind these ad formats and how people interact with them, it is going to be difficult to understand where they fit within a client’s advertising strategy.
To conclude, this new ad format and placement is not going to help grow a client’s business substantially. Whilst the use of VR headsets is rising, it still only represents a small % of people. Limina Immersive surveyed 3,544 British internet users to find out more about VR usage. From that survey, they estimated that just over 1M people in the UK own a high-end VR headset, with approximately 48% of these using Oculus and then 65% of these using an Oculus Quest specifically. This accounts for around 300,000 people, which is a very small audience to go after! Overall, it’s one to watch out for and could be good to test with the right client, but it’s definitely not going to break the advertising landscape.
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