As technology shifts, the marketing techniques have to be revised and restructured to address the targeted audience. If we look back five years ago, we would not even imagine the world evolving so much that it now supports the idea of imaginary or virtual interactions in a completely different world and between a twin of you and other people in the same “magical space.”
Already, blockchain technology is revolutionizing the digital marketing industry significantly.
Well, the metaverse is the culprit behind this drastic change that some parts of the world have witnessed and some will in the upcoming future.
What is metaverse?
The metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. If the recent internet experience is 2D, meaning you can browse and scroll through it on a screen, the metaverse is a three-dimensional universe that allows you to walk through it!
Facebook has been talking about the metaverse for a while. In July 2021, Mark Zuckerburg talked with journalist Casey Newton about metaverse and the changes he envisioned for Facebook. Then rumors began swirling in mid-October 2021 about a Facebook rebrand — complete with a new name — to embrace the company’s commitment to the metaverse.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Meta name at Facebook’s Connect 2021 conference on Oct. 28, with its new website branding it “a social technology company.”
The accompanying press release also stated: “You can watch the full Connect keynote and learn more about how the metaverse will unlock new opportunities at Meta.com. You can also learn more about our work over the past several months to develop the Meta brand on our design blog.”
Released on the same day, Zuckerberg wrote in his 2021 Founder’s Letter: “In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t fit how we think about computers or phones today…
In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parent’s living room to catch up.”
Zuckerberg’s letter also shares that Meta “made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day.”
Metaverse: A deeper dive
The metaverse is a virtual universe that extends the dimensions of the physical world. Imagine it as a hyper-real video game. It intends to replicate what people already do in their daily lives, for example, socializing, shopping, or attending concerts. It reproduces the real world in a virtual environment, where people can interact with spaces, objects, and other people.
The metaverse will also be a large-scale industrial workspace. Manufacturing companies can make digital copies of their machinery (known as “digital twins”) that they can test in the metaverse before implementing in the real world. The design can then be corrected or improved before construction begins, saving time and resources.
One of the keys to developing the metaverse is high-quality virtual reality, which allows users to interact with different elements, in the same way, they would in the real world. The implementation of the metaverse will be closely linked to the development and advancement of augmented reality devices.
Take note that the metaverse will not be a single platform but will be composed of multiple, interconnected sites. You can move from one to another freely, keeping the same avatars and digital objects across platforms, similar to how users navigate between websites on the Internet today.
What Metaverse has to offer
Today, the metaverse involves a shared virtual space where users are represented by virtual avatars. These virtual worlds continue to evolve and grow based on user decisions and interactions within the space. To that effect, it mirrors the real world in that it has no “end.” It’s just a universe that continues to expand as more and more users jump in.
Metaverses are virtual universes that merge reality and the virtual world. We cannot just label them as video games for children or a specifically designed project for a company or brand. They are indeed built on metaverse worlds, but they are not the only forms of metaverses that exist today in the world. Just think of the movie: Ready Player One, but imagine it to be more accessible.
Think of social media as the way it exists today, but more integrated and immersive. The notion of the metaverse – recently propelled into the mainstream by Facebook’s rebranding as Meta – will transform how we inhabit the world around us.
The venture capitalist Matthew Ball, whose writing on the metaverse has influenced Mark Zuckerberg, describes the metaverse as a “successor state to the mobile internet” and a “platform for human leisure, labor, and existence at large.”
Roblox and Fortnite are the most popular virtual social spaces, especially for the young generation. However, with the increasing popularity of metaverse, the older generations are also getting more and more interested in it, which has caused the metaverse networking system to grow.
Metaverse and Digital Marketing
Technology has been growing and shifting rapidly. While Covid-19 halted many economic and social projects, it acted as a catalyst for the metaverse.
Earlier it was only fiction and occurred to be a nonexistent feature of Modern technology. But with the advent of time, we grew out of the science fiction movies – The stranger things, and The Ready player one, and we finally advanced in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality( VR) which brought a diverse range of features for the people especially marketers who wanted to break free from the traditional marketing strategies and techniques.
Marketers have been striving to involve consumers in the co-creation of user-generated content for practically as long as the term has existed. It is a marketer’s dream to have consumers creating, publishing, and sharing content featuring their brand, but the challenge has always been how to encourage co-creation in a way that feels authentic and meaningful.
But with no such provisions, it was like “bursting the bubble.” Fortunately, the recent pandemic stirred up the whole system and made “space” for virtual interactions for it was the only way out.
But before proceeding with how to penetrate and market in a metaverse, let’s look back to when marketing came into existence and how it evolved.
Marketing transformed at each step. Businesses figured out they needed websites shortly after the internet gained traction. Social media marketing became essential to driving traffic and sales. Mobile-first development took off as more users engaged on mobile devices instead of desktops.
The next step is here with virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Chances are you’ve used VR or AR technologies even if you don’t own a VR headset. EMarketer has predicted that 64 million people in the U.S. will use VR once a month this year, and 101.6 million will use AR. If you’ve previewed what new furniture would look like in your space, virtually tried on an outfit, or used a filter on Snapchat, you’ve used AR tech.
While shifting to a completely different pattern of marketing, the marketers would have to keep up with different technological advancements according to the targeted audience. When the digital marketers were first introduced to metaverse marketing, they identified the audience to be the millennials or the Gen-Z.
These generations are known to be avid users of a couple of forms of metaverse such as games like Roblox and technologies such as VR.
How Metaverse Marketing works
Today’s consumers have grown tired of the static display and video ads that permeate the web and social media. They crave rich, interactive, immersive experiences. No longer content to just sit back and be marketed to, they prefer to play a role in defining your brand, to have a say in what it means to them, to have agency.
The metaverse is built on such experiences. By its very nature, you don’t necessarily watch or view the metaverse so much as take part in it. Your very presence in it helps change it in ways both large and small.
The metaverse replaces the flat, two-dimensional world of the web with a 3D (or in some cases even 4D) experience that is much more like real life, only without any of the pesky rules of quantum physics.
Brands are flocking to the metaverse because the types of experiences brands can create there are practically limitless.
Offering Marketing Services in Virtual Forms
Let’s take an example of a famous XYZ game by ABC company. This game is played by multiple players all around the world just because of how interactive this game is. Maybe it consists of horses that are competing for NFTs or maybe it is just an action series for teenagers.
What do famous branding companies do now? After the metaverse started trending, they decided to experiment with the virtual world and market their services or products in that metaverse world through NFTs and virtual billboards.
People love to showcase their interest in collecting things, so NFTs can be considered as your “asset” that would create brand awareness side by side. Not only this but product placement of a particular brand can also be made possible in a virtual reality game and other software.
As more and more VR games are built for the metaverse, product placement is inevitable. This strategy was already used to great effect in Pokémon Go, where sponsored locations popped up to invite footfall, using the game’s AR creatures as a lure. Branded elements could act as a subtle but noticeable overlay on top of the game’s surroundings.
Things to focus on in Metaverse Marketing
Marketers will become the “World Builders”:
Through our experiential metaverse marketing, we can say that we have been successful in bridging the gap between real-world interactions and virtual interactions. We will now have to step forward and take up the charge of rebuilding the world while integrating both metaverse and real-world interactions.
Also, multiple things are still not yet discovered or experimented with. Thus the need of solving all the question marks arises.
Watching the Change in Consumer Behavior:
It is going to be pretty interesting to see people experiment with new “spaces” and interact with multiple virtual worlds in the metaverse. Inside the “worlds” they would be capable of creating currencies or even whale economies.
A couple of metaverse worlds use Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to exchange goods within the space. How people react and respond to them would lead to a change in the overall behavior of people and would lead to further transformations.
Making Them Parallel to the Real World:
The utmost thing that we need to make sure of is to connect both the world and reflect changes in both of the universes. This will lead to a fully cohesive connection with a strong future.
Why are businesses so hyped about Metaverse Marketing?
Well, many trends ought to benefit the most to the originating company. And yes Metaverse is one of the trending technologies that everyone wants to get their hands on.
There are many ways through which a brand or a company may benefit from the metaverse. A few prominent ones of them are listed below:
Creating own NFTs:
Non-fungible tokens are used in numerous metaverse worlds. Creating your own NFT can raise awareness of your brand. In simple terms, it is your logo that represents you in this virtual world. It will help advertise your product in the virtual metaverse. Some popular and best-selling NFTs are:
More branding opportunities:
Brands could create digital versions of the products and solutions in shared virtual worlds and put them on display. Users could gain almost real-time experience of viewing and checking the specifications of the product. Furthermore, the metaverse pros might also drive the growth of new avenues for electronic commerce based on precedents for augmented reality.
The notion of virtual economies in the existing digital realm is quite a promising one. As the virtual worlds continue to expand in the metaverse, one of the notable metaverse advantages would be the creation of a virtual economy.
The metaverse economy can serve as the ideal platform for immersive exchanges of digital assets with real economic value. In addition, the metaverse also has the desired capabilities for driving the introduction of new trade activities and jobs in the shared virtual spaces as well as the real world.
Cons of Metaverse
Where metaverse Marketing attracts marketers and brands with its unique features and range of functions, there are also a few shortcomings that a digital marketer needs to know before starting to work with metaverse worlds.
Privacy and security implications:
Many of the digital solutions existing today have been associated with concerns regarding privacy and security. The main agenda for criticism of digital solutions revolves around the fact that they collect data from users. Such data can be used for intrusive online advertisements and identity theft.
Furthermore, companies have not been able to address these concerns completely. So, the metaverse cons might also bring issues about privacy and security risks. As an online-enabled space, the metaverse can lead to new issues in security and privacy for individuals as well as institutions.
And no one would want a breach of security neither the marketer nor the client. Thus before starting to work on one just ensure a safe virtual connection.
Reducing the gap between Real & Virtual World:
Intending to introduce immersive experiences to users, the metaverse blurs the gap between real and virtual worlds. Even if you can consider this as an advantage, addiction to virtual worlds can lead people to withdraw from real-world experiences.
The metaverse disadvantages also bring the possibility of the metaverse influencing how people perceive real relationships and interactions. This leads to a negative impact on the overall human behavior which may disrupt social amity.
Similar to gaming, addiction can become an issue. Some argue that there is a bigger addiction risk with the metaverse, as you’re fully immersed in a virtual world. Besides your essential physical needs like eating and sleeping, you don’t need to leave your VR setup.
Kids and teenagers are the most at risk, as experts suggest that exposing individuals under the age of 18 to the metaverse and letting them spend too much time in it will cause some serious harm to their development.
Moreover, living in a virtual state may make it difficult to differentiate between the real world and the virtual world. It will be a big challenge to balance allowing teenagers and adults enough time in the metaverse while trying to prevent addictive behavior.
Brands and Metaverse: Getting Started
Hyundai Motor Company and Roblox:
In October Hyundai Motor Company launched Mobility Adventure, a metaverse space on Roblox (the gaming platform) featuring Hyundai Motor’s products and future mobility solutions. The collectively shared virtual space lets users meet and experience Hyundai’s mobility offerings and customize their avatars.
Nike and Non-fungible Tokens:
In December Nike announced the acquisition of RTFKT, a non-fungible token studio that produces digital collectibles (including digital sneakers) to merge culture and gaming. Previously RTFKT collaborated with teenage artist FEWOCiOUS to sell real sneakers paired with virtual ones, selling 600 pairs and NFTs in six minutes and netting over $3.1 million.
Warner Bros and Roblox:
In 2021, Warner Bros. Pictures hosted a virtual party on Roblox to promote the summer film “In the Heights.” The block party brought the music, dance, and Latin American culture of the film’s iconic Washington Heights neighborhood to the Roblox metaverse.
Visitors to the virtual neighborhood could hang out outside the film’s central gathering store, contribute to murals, and watch behind-the-scenes videos and interviews, including a dance tutorial from the movie’s choreographer, virtual items, and interactive mini-games and scavenger hunts.
Coca Cola and Non-fungible Tokens:
In July 2021, Coca-Cola launched a non-fungible token (NFT) collection that fetched $575,000 in an online auction. The company relied on the power of its brand to push forward its collection and raise over $500.000 for charity within 72 hours.
Oana Vlad, Sr Director of Coca-Cola Global Strategy, noted that moving into the NFT and metaverse is well-positioned to provide customers with “the same iconic and optimistic experiences they’re used to in real life in the digital world.”
Louis Vuitton and The Game:
To celebrate the founder’s 200th birthday, Louis Vuitton released Louis: The Game, a video game that follows Vivienne, a mascot created by the brand monogram, as she traverses the virtual world and journeys to vibrant locations across the globe in search of collectible NFT candles. Each candle unlocks a story about the journeys of Louis and his family. Players can collect 30 NFTs, including 10 by Beeple, the artist whose digital collage sold as an NFT at a Christie’s auction for $69.3 million.
Burberry and Honor Of Kings:
Just like Louis Vuitton, Burberry is venturing into the metaverse, intending to give its customers a pleasurable experience that nears that of the real world. The fashion brand recently collaborated with the video game Honor of Kings, bringing Burberry designs to the game.
The collaboration is indeed a step forward in how fashion and gaming can merge to attract and maintain clients.
Summing it all up:
Metaverses are a new addition to technology yet many developers have experimented with various features and have created multiple virtual workspaces that not only allow people to enjoy an entirely new setting but also provide a unique platform for the corporate industries, brands, and service providers to advertise their services and products and create market awareness.
However, this interface is entirely new and a lot of things still need to have experimented with. Thus, there might be a few queries and problems that people would face due to a lack of awareness. This platform can be used efficiently for bridging reality with the imagination and in fact, can create wonders!