App Marketing Conversations: Facebook, WhatsApp and Oculus Rift

by GameHouse

In this weeks App Marketing Conversations, Ryan from GameHouse, Robi from Apptentive, and Ian from MobileDevHQ discuss the Facebook’s recent acquisitions of WhatsApp & Oculus Rift – and their potential impact on the app market.

Watch the video here, or read the transcript below!

Ryan Morel: Hello and welcome to another edition of App Marketing Conversations. I am Ryan Morel with Gamehouse. As always, I’m here with Ian Sefferman, MobileDevHQ, Robi Ganguli of Apptentive.

It’s been awhile. As we kind of talked about in Robi’s segment there’s been quite a bit of news so and a lot of that has come from Facebook recently.

We’ll talk about their two big deals. The most recent one happening yesterday with the purchase of Oculus Rift. For those of you who don’t know, Oculus Rift is a virtual reality hardware manufacturer. As far as I know they’ve never actually sold a product.

Ian: They’ve presold a product.

Ryan: They’ve presold a product, but no one’s ever actually used one as a consumer. You can’t go buy one.

Robi: They’ve shipped units. I’ve seen them in the wild. There was somebody here in space that had one for a while. They’ve definitely shipped units.

Ryan: OK, but not massive amounts.

Ian: They kick started one out, but nothing else.

Robi: I think that’s probably right.

Ryan: OK. Let’s start with just initial reactions to Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift.

Robi: I think that it reflects the fact that Facebook probably feels that their stock’s at a premium, and they can go make some purchases. I think Oculus Rift, Zuckerberg explicitly said this is about what’s next after mobile.

That’s a big bet on what’s next. I’m not sure whether or not they’re right, but I like that they’re making bets, and I think that virtual reality is definitely in some form or fashion here to stay. I think it’s interesting.

Ian: I think those are my exact two points on the deal and on their other deals which is just like . . . I think Mark Zuckerberg has been smart about recognizing that money is incredibly cheap on the public markets today.

He should go use that to his advantage, and he’s used it to his advantage. Do I think that Oculus is a terrible short term buy for them, right? But is it a potentially interesting long term buy? Who knows.

I think the other thing it does to me is it actually sets them up more like Google than I previously had thought of them as in that Google is just kind of all about we’re going to try random things all over.

We’re doing self driving cars, we’re doing contact lenses that check your sugar levels if you’re a diabetic and have an LED in them to actually show you a light, right? That’s all sorts like of crazy stuff that you wouldn’t expect from a search engine.

I think Facebook being like we’re going to, I don’t know if this is exactly what it’s going to be, but we’re going to show you your friends in a virtual reality headset. Like those are disconnected things? I have a feeling they are going to be cool to the launchpad.

Ryan: The next one which is obviously a much bigger deal in terms of financially and also from a short term user base perspective was their purchase of WhatsApp. That was about a month ago?

Robi: Man, time flies.

Ryan: $19 billion dollars for WhatsApp. Amazing. Well done. Guys, what was your reaction at the time and does the purchase of Oculus Rift since then change your view at all?

Ian: I don’t think the purchase of Oculus Rift changes my view of the purchase of WhatsApp. I never really saw an estimate of WhatsApp’s revenue was. Do you guys have any estimates on that?

I don’t know the multiple of revenue, right? It obviously is a huge amount of money. Is it an absolute insane amount of money? I don’t know.

I actually thought that the most impressive thing about that merger was the founder of WhatsApp going onto the board of Facebook. I thought that was the most interesting thing, and so that to me was like, Mark obviously trusts this guy and wants him involved in a really, really strategic level.

Ian: I totally agree. I thought that that is the most interesting thing. The conclusion was this is very important. You built something meaningful. You should be on the board.

Ryan: I think, at least my opinion and I’d like to hear what you guys think of this, is that there was a point in time where Facebook wanted to own the experience with consumers, not only from a user’s perspective, but also from a brand and connected view perspective and they clearly just said this isn’t going to work, right?

Their purchases recently have kind of solidified that. First they purchased Instagram. They tried to buy Snap That. Then they buy WhatsApp. Now they buy Oculus Rift. All of which I’m assuming will continue to be their own stand alone businesses.

Giving Facebook this kind of broad octopus like access to people and their data. To any advertising company across different mediums. It’s an interesting strategy shift from what was once like this kind of stand alone site with maybe some sign on stuff.

Ian: Right. In my mind there’s probably like two things going on there or there could be two things going on there. One is simply in mobile today you see people really liking single use apps. Simply branding it separately makes it feel like a single use app. That’s what Instagram is.

The second thing is you almost wonder if it’s sort of like a we are seeing and expecting backlash against Facebook the brand with the younger generation and so we are actively moving towards how do we branch out from that so that never really [inaudible] occurs.

Ryan: What do you think?

Robi: I think it’s I think WhatsApp acquisition just on its base is smart. Just thinking about it. There are very few other companies in the world that can buy it and each of them would stand to gain a lot more ground than Facebook if they had. Facebook doing it just made a ton of sense, defensively, if nothing else.

Ryan: Yeah. OK. One more question. Off the cuff, if you’re whatever the guy’s name is from Instagram —

Ian: I’m a believer that you never get upset when you have a win.

Robi: Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan: Let me ask you a different one, should they have bought it?

Ian: I don’t know if I would have, right? That’s a tough call when you see a bee out there. I think clearly they actually should have, right? That’s 20/20.

Ryan:Yeah.

Robi: Maybe you could argue, right, that WhatsApp doesn’t happen if Facebook doesn’t buy Instagram and have a massive success with it. It was a big bet. Maybe it was the only size bet that they were willing to make at that point and it turned out to be a really smart one, so they’re like, we’re emboldened to do other ones.

Ryan: OK. Good. All right. Anything else that you guys want to add here?

Ian: It’s a crazy world we live in right now.

Robi: It’s a lot of fun.

Ryan: It would be a lot more fun if I was one of the guys was me.

Ryan: I wouldn’t be sitting here with you clowns.

OK. Thank you very much for watching. Make sure to check out the segments from Robi and Ian. If you like this video, subscribe to our channel and we’ll see you next time.

By Ryan Morel

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