Business

Facebook = Meta: what’s behind the Metaverse and rebranding

Metaverse

October 28, 2021 : this date will remain – for better or worse – in the history of Facebook and the entire digital world. 17 years later, the Menlo Park company, as well as the king of social media, is changing its name.
Facebook becomes Meta by embracing its new dimension: from an ecosystem of apps and social and messaging services, to a Metaverse .

A futuristic term taken from the novel Snow Crash (1992) by Neal Stephenson, where the physical world, augmented and virtual reality converge in a single space (the Metaverse).
An evolution/revolution in which Mark Zuckerberg’s company invested 10 billion dollars in 2021, creating 10,000 jobs in Europe.

Trash revival of Second Life or brilliant and visionary stroke? And above all, what is really behind the rebranding and the new dimension of the Metaverse?

Let’s see it together in my in-depth analysis.

In this Article: [ hide table ]

What is the Metaverse?

First a clarification. Half is “only” the new company name, a large binder within which the various services and apps (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus, etc…) do not change identity.

Why was the Metaverse born?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, smartphone screens are now too small for us and it’s time to enjoy experiences in a more immersive and “realistic” way. A sort of mobile 2.0, a new era where social media and the web acquire physicality.

In the Metaverse we will be able to organize meetings where, instead of a simple webcam, our customizable avatar/hologram – a frontier taken from gaming – will meet colleagues and customers in a virtual space. Or attend a concert thousands of kilometers away without being physically there.

If all this seems futuristic to you, know that kids are already much more accustomed to these experiences in the gaming world.
Experiences that we should be able to live through Meta products – obvious, right? – like Oculus and Ray-Ban Stories .

And on the business side? What changes in the Metaverse?
We have already had a taste of the potential of augmented reality in the world of make-up, accessories and furniture. Think about selling physical products that the user can see, touch virtually and place in their home before purchasing.
In his long keynote , Mark already talked about the sale of 3D products by creators, another cornerstone of Meta’s future.

In addition to this big bet on the future, what are the real reasons behind the rebranding and the metaverse?

Vulnerability

The King discovered himself naked. Q3 (3rd quarter) revenues, although notable as always, were lower than expected due to the restrictions imposed by Apple and its ATT , which are added to increasingly stringent government regulations on privacy.
Obstacles that undermine Menlo Park’s business model , advertising .

An “addiction” to other people’s decisions which – rightly – Facebook/Meta doesn’t like and which it wants to free itself from forever.

Scandals and scrutiny

The new leaks and scandals that have emerged in recent weeks, the numerous attempts by the US Congress to dismember the company, the criticism of disinformation, hate speech and fake news: Mark had more than one reason to “distract” the attention of the public and media, giving new life and appeal to Facebook/Meta.

And in the meantime, while admitting the difficulties in dealing with these problems, Zuckerberg announces an investment of 5 billion in security and content review.

Loss of appeal among those under 30

Here is another important reason for the turning point. Facebook is aware of having lost market share in the 18-29 age group to competitors such as TikTok , Twitch, Snapchat or YouTube. Instagram alone is not enough, while Reels – although widely used – have not managed to steal users from TikTok as Stories did with Snap.

One of its main challenges is to “recover” users in that segment and various facets of the Metaverse – such as gaming – seem tailor-made for this target.

Control of the ecosystem and its data

Google has Android, Apple has iOS and the App Store, Amazon… is Amazon.
It’s a story seen and repeated many times. With the Metaverse, Mark wants to build his own “walled garden” and have full control over it without depending on others. Every big company wants to keep the user on its platforms , access as much data as possible and monetize.

Creator + Shop

The native shop and the development of social commerce always go in this direction. Data loss caused by Apple, GDPR & co. they pushed Facebook to give away shop traffic – and now even free shipping! – to advertisers. It is always and only a question of data and control of the same.
Meta will continue to invest on this front, while tracking and measurement adjustments on third-party systems will last years (and not months), as stated during Connect.

Creators are the other major investment front to which Menlo Park is devoting enormous resources The target? Making the contents of the platforms more attractive, keeping the enormous current userbase (3.6 billion users) glued to their screens.

Creators – both creatives in the strict sense and developers – who, in Mark’s plans, should be enticed by the monetization opportunities of the new metaverse which would thus create truly new professions.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Zuckerberg proves… that he has studied. To compete and excel, it is no longer enough just to create services or think about the user. Creating a new market, your own blue ocean , and becoming its undisputed leader could be the best medicine for the “crisis” on the social and brand front.

If the metaverse establishes itself, others will want to enter it – Nike has already registered its trademark for the sale of virtual products -, a bit like what happens in the App Store, the only entry point for brands into the magical world of Apple .

Distraction or visionary?

Only the future will tell us. Meta has already allocated an investment of $10 billion. A big bet which, to tell the truth, began years ago with AR/VR and Oculus.

Many applications appear futuristic or potentially dangerous – think of a world where physical relationships are replaced by virtual ones, an eventuality that I hope no one hopes for -, but augmented and virtual reality offer interesting perspectives on several fronts.
As always and as history teaches, the public will decide its success or failure.

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