Is virtual reality the next big step in social media? Facebook is betting on it.
Launching in 2020 is a new virtual world called Facebook Horizon.
So now, instead of just looking at a flat screen and clicking on things you like or don’t like, you can enter a whole world of digital interactions.
Facebook Horizon will lets you design your own avatar and then mingle with other people, play games, explore and even create your own world within Facebook’s virtual world.
As traditional social media platforms become so commonplace and more people drift away, the need to deliver a different experience and something more engaging is driving Facebook and other social media platforms to find the next big thing.
For marketers the real question is what’s the best way to reach consumers in this virtual playground? Obviously virtual billboards, product placements and even video will be some of the first ads in FH. But that’s just the beginning of the possibilities.
Imagine complete stores within Horizon that avatars can browse in, pick up and examine virtual representations of real items and then buy them. Even clothes could be tried on, unless the consumer has opted for an avatar that is dramatically different from their real body type – what looks good on a 12-foot hydra may not look so good on a middle-aged housewife in Poughkeepsie.
But why stop at stores? How about complete worlds? Want to convince people to visit a destination, then just make a Bahamas World for them to experience or a Disney World or a Joe’s Fishing Lodge World. With the capabilities for unlimited worlds come unlimited marketing opportunities.
Current virtual reality games already offer marketers an opportunity to reach customers in their digital worlds, but the huge numbers and diverse demographics of Facebook could make virtual marketing a must-do instead of simply an interesting experiment in product placement.
The world of marketing is changing again and this next jump may take us all to millions of yet-unimagined worlds.