Did you know that the “metaverse” isn’t a new idea? It has been around for decades along with the technological concepts that make it possible, such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D computing. The recent explosion of interest around the metaverse is pushed by the drive to make it useful for everyone and ultimately reimagine the internet.
Defining the metaverse
The metaverse is often described as an always-on virtual environment where reality meets and interacts with the digital world. Here, the internet becomes more immersive thanks to advanced technology that enables users to engage with virtual spaces. People can socialise, work and play as virtual avatars in spaces that are shared and always available. Although there is no clear consensus if the metaverse already exists, the current definition undoubtedly shows that the concept is alive and well in the gaming world. Games such as Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, Second Life and Animal Crossing focus on building immersive worlds where players can create virtual avatars.
What’s certain is that the metaverse has the ability to generate massive money, that’s why big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Meta, HTC, The Sandbox and Decentraland are dreaming up ways to become leaders in the new age of the internet.
Metaverse marketing: Unpacking the possibilities
As the pieces of the metaverse come together, so too are new marketing practices. Already, we are seeing brands advertising on platforms such as Fortnite and Roblox in ways never seen before. For example, skateboarding company, Vans, has developed a virtual skatepark in Roblox where players earn points, which can be redeemed at a virtual store to customise their avatars. It has been widely popular, attracting more than 48 million visitors.
In an article published by Steven Van Belleghem, author of the award-winning marketing book, The Conversation Manager, he explains that top brands like Balenciaga, Coca-Cola, Puma and Gucci are using the concept of the metaverse to:
- Build their digital presence
- Offer an exciting customer experience
- Generate sales and profits
He goes on to say that the following marketing methods are coming to the fore:
- Virtual Influencers
- Virtual Venues
- Virtual Events
- Metaverse commerce
Advertisement – old meets new
Brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung and Volkswagen are using virtual billboards and graphical banners to advertise within video games such as Football Manager and Hyper Scape. But it doesn’t end here, in-game audio ads are gaining traction, and the popular musician, Nas, used this to promote his new album. Using these advertising methods in the metaverse is essentially blending tradition with something new.
Virtual Influencers – say hello to famous computer-generated people
Influencers are moving into the metaverse, but this time around, they are virtual. Previously, these computer-generated influencers only existed on social media, and now they are entering virtual worlds. Examples are Kai from a virtual world named Splash on Roblox, Daisy launched by luxury discount site Yoox, and Maya launched by Puma for its campaigns in South East Asia.
Advergames – brands creating their own games
This is a major move away from traditional online advertising and refers to a marketing technique where brands design their own games instead of just advertising in the games of third parties. For example, Tourism New Zealand launched a 3D adventure game where people can explore the country’s most iconic sites and attractions. Luxury brands Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton have also jumped on the “advergaming” bandwagon.
Virtual Venues – Bringing virtual real estate to life
Marketing in the metaverse is going one step further, with brands claiming their own virtual real estate through virtual venues. For example, Warner Music Group has partnered with gaming company Sandbox to create the first music-themed world in the Sandbox metaverse. It will blend a concert venue with a musical theme park. Other big brands claiming virtual real estate are Hyundai, Adidas and Gucci.
Virtual Events – the future is here
Many experts say that the future of sports, media, and entertainment is virtual. Already, we are seeing these events attract big numbers. For example, Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite saw 2.3 million tuning in, and Lil Nas X’s concert on Roblox reeled in an incredible 33 million people. In December last year, Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) announced it’s launching TMELAND, where people can attend virtual concerts, visit a music museum with their friends, play games and live stream.
Metaverse commerce – welcoming the direct-to-avatar economy
Thanks to the metaverse, we are starting to see brands sell digital goods in virtual spaces. It is part of the direct-to-avatar economy and is most recognisable in the form of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. NFTs are virtual goods that have been converted into unique content or collectables. When you buy an NFT, you are essentially buying virtual ownership of the asset. For example, Gucci has developed the Gucci Garden virtual store where you can purchase exclusive, limited-edition avatar items. Fancy a digital Gucci bag? One person on Roblox couldn’t resist and splashed out on a $4,000 bag to make a virtual fashion statement.
These are exciting times for digital marketing as the internet is undergoing a complete transformation. Although the metaverse is still in its infancy, the current developments show that reality is colliding with the digital world in a way that’s more immersive and connected.
At ONCRÉE, we are a full-service agency that likes to stay at the forefront of digital marketing trends to help you navigate an ever-changing landscape. Not only do we create content to keep you ahead of the game, we want you to meet all your marketing goals, from lead generation to campaign and content management. If you’re ready to see your business grow, we’re ready to plant the seeds. Contact us today to find out more!