Facebook to Meta – a PR stunt or a move towards winning consumer and brand trust

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Updated: November 17, 2021 12:11 PM

The new look and name comes on the back of rise in criticism on the social media platform’s failure to protect consumer data and sensitive content

The big leap of faith for the platform will be to capture an user within its ecosystem by offering a range of engagement tools to brands

No this is no marvel movie, instead its social media giant Facebook uniting its universe of product under ‘Meta’ or what is now being called, Metaverse. With the name, the social media company has clearly told both users and brands that it has created its own universe on digital which can be utilised to create an immersive experience. Although granular details have not been revealed yet about the company’s future, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that the company may introduce a unified account system for all its social apps along with focusing on AI, VR and 3D virtual technology. As Meta earlier Facebook prepares for its mammoth business transformation, it will open up new opportunities for advertisers but there will be no immediate impact, as per industry. “As things stand as of now this doesn’t change anything for the day to day brand, marketer, or advertiser on Meta, yet. It is the future of marketing. I see this more how digital or mobile was ten-twelve years back. The metaverse is the next massive opportunity for brands to engage with their consumers in new ways,” Gopa Menon, digital head, Mindshare South Asia, told BrandWagon Online.

And, there will be brands that may like to experiment with the Metaverse at an initial phase, “Metaverse will make it important for brands to tap into rich data and insight on who their consumers are and what they do, going beyond your normal demo or targeted ads. This will be more predictive and also give insights on what goes in mind of people so as to get a response. Other streams such as E-commerce / Crypto / VR/AR will also gain prominence in the meta ecosystem,” he noted.

At a larger level, Meta’s aim will be to continuously invest and evolve its ecosystem which consists of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The big leap of faith for the platform will be to capture a user within its ecosystem by offering a range of engagement tools to brands. “The new technology infrastructure and ecosystem that Meta intends to build will have tremendous opportunities for brands. Through meaningful connection with users in a virtual world, brands will be able to impact users with better salience and the early mover brands will have an edge over the others,” Preetham Venkky, president, 22feet Tribal Worldwide and chief digital officer, DDB Mudra Group, said .

Interestingly, the rebranding exercise is also being compared to Internet giant Google’s move to call its parent firm as Alphabet in 2015. As per industry experts similar to Alphabet, Meta would position itself as a corporate brand or parent company and bring all other tech apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus under one umbrella, Shradha Agarwal, COO and strategy head, Grapes Digital, noted.

To be noted is WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger have already started showing the company’s new Meta brand. For Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and angel investor, the corporate brand Meta can help drive the next wave of Internet technologies, as Facebook is now much more than just a social media platform and looking at an amalgamation of social networking, AI, AR, VR.

The brand overhaul comes on the back of rising criticism that the social media giant has faced against safety and privacy issues related to users. “The foremost purpose of this rebranding was to keep all the negative news aside and focus on future growth and development,” Grapes Digital’s Agarwal said. With the integration of all the apps under a new name, the company has to work on building confidence among users that it can protect the privacy of everyone who is using the apps.

Few days after the rebranding, Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced that it will remove sensitive ad targeting options related to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation starting January 19. Although it is yet to move out of ad targeting entirely, the company acknowledged that the decision may impact some businesses and organisations. It is the company’s first major move towards protecting sensitive information. “Facebook’s challenges with users and regulatory bodies on privacy issues are a parallel stream and the creation of Meta may not have a direct bearing on it. However, as a business, Meta may work to ensure larger play across platforms and venture into newer areas that may lower its dependence on monetising user data through personalised advertising,” Mathias stated.

Read Also: Twitter ramps ad-tech solutions; looks to drive RoI for advertisers through Next

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