And with companies such as Oculus paving the way for huge strides in technical innovation, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can only get more popular.
Which is why we proudly welcome the metaverse. Once unimaginable, this new computing platform is taking the internet by storm. News of Facebook’s metaverse may dominate the headlines right now, but a metaverse concept is so much more than simply what one social media giant is doing. However impressive that may be.
So, what exactly is this “metaverse” we’re all excited about? Can we, as businesses and marketers, benefit from it? Here at Cognition Agency we’ve provided everything you need to know about the emerging metaverse trend, along with possible ways it can help you grow your business.
What is the Metaverse?
Ever wonder what it would be like to have your own virtual universe and create an entire world there? Well, wonder no more.
The metaverse is, without doubt, a step in this direction. When we say “metaverse”, what we’re referring to is essentially a shared space, utilising new and innovative technologies – think AI, machine learning, social media, cryptocurrency, and others – to allow internet users around the globe to engage and interact in a virtual world. These virtual worlds evolve and grow based on user decisions and interactions within the space itself, therefore they mirror the real world in that they have no end. They can even continue to expand as more users get involved.
After Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook would henceforth be known as “Meta” (along with other Facebook-owned platforms, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger), creating a metaverse has been on the minds of businesses and digital marketers all over the planet. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Epic Games have since begun investing heavily into developing their own “metaverses” – anything to capitalise on the momentum of an emerging trend.
But it’s way more than that. Described as the next generation of the internet, what a metaverse means is that rather than simply going online through a screen, you’ll be able to physically take part in the digital experience.
Metaverse key characteristics
Make no mistake, the metaverse doesn’t exist simply as a well-planned marketplace, nor is it a free-roaming, open-world adventure game. Here the merger of real and virtual underpins everything. A few key characteristics of metaverses include:
- They’re always active
- They exist in real time
- They’re self-contained and fully functional
- Different platforms can work together
- Users can create content that other users can enjoy
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, new technologies and opportunities have emerged at a staggering rate; in response, many of the world’s biggest businesses and brands now look to create virtual communities, content, assets, and experiences as standard.
Thanks to the metaverse, fresh ideas around areas like economy, environment, currency, and even human behaviour have been given the chance to evolve, providing fresh opportunities for change and growth within real-world organisations as well.
How has the metaverse affected businesses?
Let’s go back a bit first, to the very start of 2020. When the pandemic meant working from home became standard procedure, tech strategists foresaw the metaverse: it was a better way for us to work together. By increasing their use of virtual co-working spaces, meetings and training (via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams), many companies gave staff new ways to collaborate online, which can be viewed as precursors to virtual reality spaces.
At the same time, online shopping became more popular, out of a greater need for social distancing. Businesses that plan on marketing through the metaverse could potentially capitalise on this, allowing people to buy their products via VR and AR, similar to the way companies like Ikea are already successfully employing augmented reality technology so customers can design their spaces using its Studio app.
Brands are already working together across channels to promote their products with the metaverse in mind. For example, Fortnite collaborating with Nike on their new Air Jordan shoe range shows a forward-looking approach, ensuring target consumers are reached through the media that’s most relevant to their “new norm” lifestyle.
Unsurprisingly, the metaverse phenomenon shows no sign of letting up in business – quite the opposite, in fact. Chief Metaverse Officer and other metaverse titles are already appearing on social media. If you search LinkedIn for the keyword “metaverse,” you will find the results of people using metaverse in their profile title, headline, or experience increasing almost daily.
Yes, the star of the metaverse continues to rise, and who knows what incredible immersive opportunities it will bring throughout the coming years?
Marketing and advertising in the Metaverse
When thinking about marketing, advertising and the metaverse, it’s important to keep an open mind. This is all still very new. Over time, though, there will likely be more and more opportunities to create brand experiences within the metaverse that generate unprecedented user engagement and excitement.
A few tips to keep in mind for metaverse marketing include:
- Reconcile your metaverse and real-life marketing together: One should not take precedence over the other; you should be paying attention to both simultaneously.
- Create an immersive experience: Branded installations and events that users can interact with are a great way to get ahead when marketing your business in the metaverse.
- Offer up collectibles: If there’s an item or service in your inventory that consumers can only access through the metaverse, this will be a great way to generate more hype.
- Reach out and engage with existing communities: Don’t just “show up” and bombard metaverse users with your advertising; instead, reach out to established voices that can help create a positive reception for your brand.
Bottom line? Being digital-savvy isn’t enough anymore. Your brand should be interesting, meaningful and immersive if you want it to make an impact. Trying various metaverse marketing strategies will only help build your brand better in the long run.
How can businesses make the most of the Metaverse?
No matter how big or small, your business needs to adopt new ways of engaging with customers, as well as finding fresh advertising opportunities within the metaverse. A few approaches that can help here involve:
- Keeping up to date with the latest news: See something happening in the metaverse that you think would be a good fit for your brand? Let your marketing plan reflect it.
- Following consumer behaviour: Buyer habits change over time, so recognising and understanding these changes will help you better deliver what your customers really want.
- Understanding customers’ changing needs: Historically, most successful brands have evolved and stayed relevant by adopting this approach.
- Building new commerce channels: Facebook Shop, Instagram Shop, and creating a filter with Spark AR are great examples of utilising commercial space within the metaverse.
- Trying out augmented reality ads: These could help customers get a true sense of your products and/or services from the comfort of their own home.
- Testing the metaverse market: This is a newly emerging platform, and only by experimenting with what’s already available will you be able to grow your business here.
When Facebook first made their announcement about Meta, many businesses started investing in their own metaverse marketing right away. Following in their footsteps could be a smart move for your own company.
Metaverse marketing may seem strange at first, but as digital marketers, we should all embrace the internet’s latest evolution. With expertise in a wide range of digital marketing services, contact Cognition Agency to maximise your online potential.