It’s the term currently breaking the internet: The metaverse. Throughout 2021, searches for the term skyrocketed. Now, this curiosity is being put into action. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen increased discourse surrounding the metaverse, along with more startups and established companies diving into the digital world.
So what is the metaverse? Who invented it? And why should your business get involved sooner rather than later?
What, Who, and Where Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual universe, a set of digital spaces that sit alongside the physical world and mimic the structures, sights, and phenomena we find here. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft explicitly use the term to describe how they are building a digital world that will immerse users inside and create digital experiences that mirror their physical counterparts.
The abstract quality of the metaverse makes it a hot topic for discussion. Without a solid definition, it can mean many different things to different people. To an online retailer, it could be a virtual marketplace powered by a virtual economy. To a social platform, it could be a fully immersive public forum where ideas and images get shared by users who have fully formed identities in this world.
What Are the Metaverse’s Main Opportunities?
While the versatility and complexity of the metaverse may seem intimidating, we can view it as a natural next step in our evolution with the internet and digital technology. Back when social media emerged, people were astonished and a little terrified of it; now, we understand its place in our lives.
The metaverse has massive potential for advertisers, marketers, and brands looking to garner more traction in the digital age. From 60 million users in 2020 to 81 million in 2021, research predicts artificial reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) usage — the backbones of the metaverse — will reach 1.73 billion in just two years.
Any digital space represents a continued, controlled environment where businesses can test digital advertising strategies. Companies willing to put forward a metaverse marketing budget can use the metaverse as a testing ground and rapidly achieve more impactful messages, ultimately forming deeper relationships with users.
Imagine, for example, how many new audiences your business could reach if marketers had a whole other world to work in. This audience is younger, tech-native, and holds a lot of buying power in this developing realm. Many Gen Zers are already living in the metaverse; Vans’ interactive skatepark, for example, has become a virtual hangout for 48 million people since its conception.
These young people live through their avatars. They buy clothes and shoes for their online identities; they have virtual hobbies; they earn money and rewards in the virtual space and spend them on the products they enjoy. As such, advertising in the metaverse is becoming more impactful because it can be highly personalized and adapt directly to the data analytics baked into virtual channels.
How to Advertise in the Metaverse
The metaverse trend will impact some industries more intensely than others, and metaverse advertising opportunities will be a more natural fit for specific businesses over their peers. However, we’re seeing a bold trend likely to gain steam and stick around because of the sheer number of use cases already involved and the projected number of users expected in the next few years.
For a successful advertising strategy, now is the time for brands to consider diving into the metaverse and practicing metaverse-specific advertising. Below are four steps you can follow to determine whether advertising in the metaverse is the logical next step in your business’s omnichannel digital advertising strategy.
1.Understand whether metaverse advertising is suitable for your business’s needs.
Use your existing audience and overall business strategy to explore whether marketing in the metaverse makes sense for your brand. If your audience is already using the metaverse, ask yourself what they’re doing there and how they act. Think about the crossover between your objectives and how consumers are making connections. Then, consider how you could advertise in a way that engages with what your audience members are already doing in the metaverse. This will help guide opportunities and actions you can create within the metaverse to connect with your specific target audience.
2. Explore the numerous use cases available.
The remarkable opportunity of the metaverse is just how many possibilities present themselves when you start exploring the virtual world. Consider all the ways that your business could make use of virtual spaces and surfaces. Could you create virtual waiting rooms for appointments? Perhaps you could offer virtual employee training or host a virtual showroom for displaying products and ideas. With the metaverse, physical problems can become digital solutions.
3. Don’t be afraid to test and learn.
For some, the metaverse may be intimidating, leaving businesses wary of diving in immediately. Fortunately, testing is a great way to gain the evidence you need to start investing. Test ad formats and run a trial campaign to start with, and then you can iterate based on what is and isn’t working well.
Brands that can quickly identify opportunities to place their digital marketing in metaverse locations will be most successful as they can learn from their metaverse advertising and make changes more quickly in a time where there is less competition. Testing campaigns for reception and appeal also helps you refine your advertising solutions for better success in the metaverse down the road.
4. Start with social and gaming opportunities.
Social and gaming are easy ways to start advertising in the metaverse. For a business just barely dipping its toes into metaverse advertising, starting small with in-game advertisements and social plays are safe ways to see success. Consider starting with a few AR filters across games your audience is playing. If you’re already running in-game ads across other platforms, this is a natural transition into the metaverse and doesn’t require too much creative lift for new ad formats.
The Future of the Metaverse
With metaverse-related companies raising $10 billion in 2021 through private capital, imagine how this world could expand and deepen in the next 12 months. You don’t have to sell your home and move into the virtual realm, but consider testing out a little square of the metaverse and refreshing your physical business with digital attributes. In a wide-open world, the possibilities are endless. What could you do here?
If you are ready to begin advertising in the metaverse or are interested in learning more, contact us here, and we will help you find opportunities that fit your business needs and guide your success in the digital age.