Facebook Avatars released for some users: Will digital clothing sales come next?

Chris Burns - May 13, 2020, 3:41pm CDT
Facebook Avatars released for some users: Will digital clothing sales come next?

Facebook has a bitmoji-like system ready to roll in the USA starting today called Facebook Avatars. They’ll be delivering this system via Facebook in Messenger and in the Messenger app and webpage. If you’re using Messenger anywhere, right now, you’ll likely have access now or very soon. If this system is everything we’ve been told so far, there’s little reason why Facebook wouldn’t use Niantic’s Pokemon GO system of accessory sales for users of all sorts in the very near future.

What is a Facebook Avatar?

Facebook Avatars are custom-made characterizations of you, a real human person. Facebook’s eventually going to allow users like yourself to bring these “digital personas” to life in Facebook Messenger as well as a number of other Facebook properties. Eventually Facebook users will be able to use their Avatar in Comments, Stories, and in Text Posts with Backgrounds.

Per Facebook’s own Fidji Simo, “With so many emotions and expressions to choose from, avatars let you to react and engage more authentically with family and friends across the app.” Basically this will be a way for Facebook to get users to buy in to another layer of must-use social networking.

Wait, I need this?

You don’t actually need Facebook Avatars to use Facebook, for now. Per Simo, they’ll be a way for Facebook to keep users hooked and engaged with the Facebook ecosystem. ” It’s important to us that you can personalize your avatar so it represents your unique, authentic self, which is why we’re also adding in a new range of customizations, too —such as new hairstyles, complexions, and outfits.”

They’ve already gone ahead and set out the groundwork for a system with which they’ll be able to cash in on Avatar Accessories and Avatar Clothing and Avatar Haircuts. No need to leave your home ever again – just make sure your Avatar is looking freshly outfitted, hair cut and styled!

Countdown to clothing downloads

If Facebook doesn’t make this an avenue for digital product sales and/or advertising with 3rd-party brands, I’ll eat my hat. Much like Niantic makes a profit on selling digital clothing for avatars in the game Pokemon GO, there’s absolutely no reason why Facebook couldn’t eventually allow digital sales of Avatar-equipping products.

Facebook has not yet suggested they’ll put Facebook Avatar products on sale, but I would not be shocked to find a marketplace – or even a simple expansion of the Facebook Messenger “Sticker Store” dropping 3rd-party products in the next few months or years.

How to get a Facebook Avatar

Official Facebook Avatars were announced with a release date of May 13, 2020. On that day, Facebook’s Fidji Simo said Facebook was “celebrating the launch of avatars in the US!”

To obtain and/or make your own Facebook Avatar, you’ll need to go to Facebook or Messenger comment composer, tap the Smily Face icon, and tap the Sticker tab. There you’ll find a button that says “Create Your Avatar” OR you won’t. If you’re reading this in mid-May, 2020, the Avatars system might not have rolled out to you yet.

It’s quite likely we’ll see Facebook Avatars appear on newer iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) in the Facebook and Messenger apps in the USA first. After that, it’s likely we’ll see the system launch on desktop machines and/or Android apps in the USA.

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