While Oculus Rift units aren’t hitting your local Target or Best Buy just yet, Facebook is gearing up for their big virtual reality push.
Re/Code reports that Facebook is now selling 360-degree video advertising space on its news feed. The videos, which don’t need a VR headset for viewing, nonetheless offer a taste of Facebook’s Oculus experience for the hundreds of millions of Americans who haven’t yet experienced virtual reality.
360-degree video first showed up on Facebook’s news feeds earlier this year. Disney and Lucasfilm used it to post promos of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Saturday Night Live posted a video from its 40th anniversary special. But the company has not been aggressively selling ad inventory until now. According to Re/Code’s Kurt Wagner, Nestle and Samsung have also signed up for 360-degree video ads on Facebook.
For Facebook and advertisers, the virtual reality-esque ads are a win-win-win. Facebook gets to sell a new kind of ad inventory and give users a taste of its $2 billion acquisition Oculus Rift (which may eventually help sell more headsets), agencies get an opportunity to add an exciting new technology to their portfolio, and advertisers get… well, virtual reality advertising, an immersive new tool to attract consumers.