|Teleporter tester tries out Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in a demo by Marriott hotels. Marriott Hotels and Resorts|
In a two-year period, Facebook acquired two mobile applications, Instagram and WhatsApp, and a virtual reality device, Oculus Rift.
This strategy hedges Facebook’s position in shedding one million millennials a year to a different site that it owns. The photo-sharing app Instagram launched in 2010. It started as a network of creatives, some of whom have blossomed into Instagram Influencers. The video feature rivaled Twitter’s Vine, which captured the minutes of many with its video loops.
Brands have been quick to embrace Facebook’s sister companies.
“National Geographic is a master of visual storytelling so Instagram is a natural fit for us,” says Andrea Leitch, Producer, Digital Travel at National Geographic Traveler. “One way we use Instagram is to preview upcoming stories for our website and Traveler Magazine. For example, two of our photographers went on assignment in Florida and posted to our account in real-time. We then shared those Instagram posts on Facebook while asking our fans to share their favorite places to go in Florida. We can use Instagram to complement our outreach on Facebook—both platforms together build an engaged, active community of readers—inspiring them to plan trips and share their travel experiences
Gabrielle Blitz, Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure describes her take on the photo-sharing and messaging app, “Our guess is that not only will the ‘book continue to expand its current platform with new products, but it will acquire others in the chase for new demographics (younger and/or international), as it did with Instagram and WhatsApp.”
Marriott Hotels was bullish in technology and emerging platforms in 2014. It held a roadshow at six cities to share the possibilities of a new content experience. One of the high-level discussions leaned towards purchasing travel, based on virtual reality experiences.
Aside from these acquisitions, Facebook created a new app called Slingshot to rival Snapchat. It was first beta tested in New Zealand this past summer and is now available for download in the U.S. market. When looking the competition for mobile apps, Facebook also took the wind out of Swarm, Foursquare, and Yelp with one update – Nearby Places – by enabling its mobile app to provide in proximity information on restaurants, coffee shops, nightlife, outdoor and cultural destinations, where to stay and shop.