Facebook Oculus Blastonrodriguezcnbc: Facebook says it will begin testing ads on Oculus headsets, starting with the shooter game Blaston, and won’t use data stored on devices to target ads.
In a blog post by Facebook Vice President of Partnerships Ime Archibong yesterday evening after Facebook’s Oculus Connect 4 conference in San Jose, California, he wrote that “we’ll never use the name or contact information from people who don’t opt-in to share this info. We’ll also give people clear and easy ways to opt-in, including through the Oculus app.”
There is a difference between “we”, meaning Facebook, which theoretically means the company could introduce ads on a device with access to information from Facebook usage, and what “people who don’t opt-in” means. Based on this statement, advertisers will have no access to any data that is not voluntarily given by Facebook users.
Archibong also said that Oculus won’t sell ads in the U.S. until it “can do so in a way that is transparent and beneficial to the community.” This is probably because Facebook was slammed by critics when it was revealed the company allowed advertisers to target people based on interests such as “Jew hater” or other anti-semitic terms.
Finally, Archibong stressed that “we won’t start testing advertising until we’re ready.”
Oculus has done well as a gaming device, but there are not many applications for non-gaming pursuits. Even with the new Oculus Touch controllers and lower price, it still is not a good substitute for a desktop or notebook computer, or an Samsung Gear VR headset, which starts at about $100 and has access to the full range of apps available for the Samsung Galaxy S8.
There actually appears to be much more opportunity in advertising than in gaming. The overall mobile app market is slowing down substantially with the number of downloads on both Android and iOS. VR is still in its nascent stage, but it could soon become a much more important platform than mobile.
I would guess that most apps still run on mobile phones and the total number of mobile devices is not growing much. A lot of these devices will be sold to companies such as hospitals, schools, colleges and other enterprises that are deploying these for specific purposes. For example, Starbucks has just announced a VR app so customers can order and pay for their coffee and food right from their phones in the store.
There is much more scope for advertising on mobile, especially with the increase in mobile use in general. If it happens, whether Facebook uses Oculus to launch adverts or not, it would give Facebook access to extensive information about a user’s day-to-day activities.