The real goal with the Metaverse? Increase your screen time

You don’t just change the name of your company.

With Facebook, the renaming to Meta was an important milestone. It was also a harbinger of things to come. The social media platform has been broken of late, mainly due to a policy change at Apple that allows iPhone users to opt out of tracking, which has absolutely destroyed Facebook’s ad revenue.

Users who cannot be tracked cannot be targeted with ads.

This is worrisome, if your name is Mark Zuckerberg. Another milestone happened just a few months ago when user growth finally ground to a halt. That led to a big drop in the stock price and a lot of headaches about what has been causing all the craters lately. Have users finally become sensible? Did Apple burst the bubble? Do we all hate Facebook now? When you have close to 2 billion active users, it’s hard to say the sky is falling as every Silicon Valley tech giant would love to brag about that kind of dominance. (Twitter only has about 229 million active users.)

Yet something is not right. Facebook was first launched in 2004 and has become a part of our daily lives. I still chat with friends at bookstores and coffee shops and ask which apps they use the most, and it’s almost always Facebook.

Many “everyday” users don’t even know why they keep scrolling and liking, they just do it. It’s part of their routine. Like drinking Pepsi, buying a breakfast sandwich at Wendy’s, and watching the NBA playoffs, we don’t always know why we do things, but when it becomes a habit, the revenue goes up and keeps going up.

Think of a huge company and it’s likely that the secret to success is tied to when we do (or use) something on a routine basis.

My theory (and believe me, I always have one) is that Facebook is starting to change habits, and they would know it. Not only do they provide analytics to advertisers on how often we view posts and what we click on, they use the same data to determine whether the app is successful. They eat their own analytics dog food.

When there’s a little shift and they don’t see that much constant scrolling and engagement drops an inch, they know it’s a problem.

So think about it. Let’s say Pepsi sees a major quarterly decline in revenue. Okay, that’s not good. When your sales are based on the routines of a mass population and they suddenly stop buying a case of sugar water after work, you need to react. In the past, Pepsi invented new flavors and created new advertising campaigns. You could argue that the big companies of our time, from Apple onward, are great because they react efficiently and thoroughly to market trends and when user interest begins to wane. (You could also argue that companies like Apple make great products and that’s why they continue to exist.)

With Meta, the data suggests declining interest among users. We stepped out of the cave and we see the sunlight streaming down over the reality of what social media is doing to us. Some of us have realized that Facebook doesn’t really offer a good value proposition, and we know it’s not a great thing to reveal our interests and scrolling habits to a giant mega-corporation so that they can in turn give that data to the highest bidder. to sell. regulation. Again, Meta knows this.

That’s why I’m not exactly thrilled with the company’s new direction. A recent report made it clear, suggesting that this is all about “neglecting the real world” and looking at our phones even more than we do now.

Meta is a company that runs on algorithms. Think of algorithms as the engine that drives the addiction machine. The apps are constantly shifting and changing to suit our tastes, which keeps us hooked. Guess? The entire company is also about to shift. The algorithm has told them it’s time to reinvent themselves, to create a metaverse that holds us (read: use their apps).

I want to believe that it is a desire to create compelling products. I want to believe it’s because the metaverse will be awesome.

But I know better. The more we click, the more Meta attracts advertisers, which is ultimately the goal. I’m sure the shareholders would agree.

Now we find out if it is possible to make a great product and generate revenue at the same time, instead of just creating a new type of addiction machine.

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