In 2021, Facebook announced that it was rebranding as ‘Meta’. This announcement and rebranding were used to signify the company’s vision for its future, which included much work going into virtual reality technologies and the ‘metaverse’.
This shed much light on the concept of the metaverse, which many believe to be the natural evolution of the internet.
Much like the evolution of traditional marketing to digital marketing with the introduction and growth of the internet, a similar paradigm shift is expected to happen again with the metaverse.
In fact, brands have already started flocking to Roblox, as the platform represents the beginning of the metaverse as we know it.
Roblox allows players to create their own games or worlds, which can then be played by anyone on the platform.
Brands have taken the opportunity to start their own worlds on this platform, using it as another means of advertising and experimenting with different ideas of how to appeal to consumers, offering an early look at what the metaverse will mean for digital marketing.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse entails the use of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies to create an immersive online experience where users are not just looking at their screens and commenting or posting to interact with others, but rather are interacting with others in a near-realistic computer-generated environment.
This concept already exists in some forms, with platforms like Minecraft and Roblox, where users inhabit a shared virtual world, interact with other players and engage in experiences together.
This, however, is a rather primitive form of a metaverse, as a fully functional metaverse would have a more visceral and immersive experience in store for users, using virtual reality technology to inhabit an avatar and interact on the internet in a virtual space.
As this concept continues to evolve, so will our concept of digital marketing.
Creating content Vs experiences
Today, it has become a necessity for brands to have active content feeds to interact with their customer base and to help bring in new leads.
Ten years ago it would have been uncommon to see this type of content so widespread, as brands would mostly rely on traditional media.
As we move into a metaverse future, a similar transition will occur, where brands will have to adapt and provide their audiences with more interactive experiences via the metaverse, which would be their primary means of interaction.
Our closest example of the experiences that could be offered would have to be the experiences that are offered on Roblox.
In Roblox, your avatar can go into Gucci Town, a virtual space created by Gucci that includes mini-games, a cafe, and a virtual store where players can purchase virtual Gucci gear for their Roblox avatar.
Gucci uses this space to create a unique experience for their customers while being able to utilise their customer behaviour in this virtual world to influence their own real-world marketing strategies.
Similarly, brands will have to equip this immersive technology to create unique and interactive experiences for their customers.
A clear example for any clothing brand would be to allow their customer’s avatars to try on their clothes.
But the possibilities of what the metaverse can offer are endless, as interactive media encourages exploration and discovery.
As this is a new concept that is still evolving, there aren’t any rules for a game plan as of yet.
This room for experimentation can help you improve and optimise your marketing strategies and the earlier you jump on this bandwagon, the more you’ll understand this virtual world and how it works in relation to engaging with your customers.
Increasing engagement rates
Most of the content online today on social media is still classified as un-interactive, encompassing things like videos, images or GIFs.
With the metaverse, interaction is the name of the game. It allows users to be fully immersed and invested in whatever it is they’re doing, offering much higher levels of engagement.
This is incredibly important as engagement and retention are two of the most important factors when it comes to growth marketing.
With an incredibly high engagement rate, the metaverse is one of the most ideal platforms for growth marketing.
Brands can use this to their advantage by encouraging their users to learn more about their products and services in fun and engaging ways. This can help you hook on to your ideal customers.
For instance, your customers can learn about your brand’s history through a virtual demonstration of it or they can take a virtual trip around the world to visit all your locations.
Brand experiences that resemble real-world situations or make the customer understand what you do in real life can help you create lasting connections with your customers and leads.
Collecting more data
Data is the future, and the metaverse is one of the biggest advancements that we’ll have in terms of data collection.
As this virtual world is built around data, there’s a lot more that can go into informing and enhancing marketing strategies.
You’d be able to understand exactly what your customer wants, and perhaps even have a virtual space to test out products or services before they’re launched in the real world.
Even VR glasses, which are used to interact with the metaverse, generate a lot of data that can be used to help your brand promote itself, both in the metaverse and in the real world.
So if a potential customer starts to interact with your brand in the metaverse, you can track their behaviour and use it to connect with the same customer on traditional marketing channels.
Transitioning from ‘traditional’ to ‘digital’ to the metaverse
The metaverse is set to be just as revolutionary to marketing as the introduction of digital media, as this virtual space comes with what will be an entirely different marketing approach.
While innovation and creativity are key to survival in this new experience-focused world, as will be the ability to use data to create and refine strategy.
This extends to positions such as software engineers and programmers, which might have been optional for marketing firms right now, but going into the future, they will be much more integral to operations.
There will be less of a divide between virtual and real experiences, with the metaverse acting as an extension of the real world, where the limit really is your own imagination.
With this move practically inevitable with one of the biggest companies in the world pouring millions of dollars of investment into metaverse development, the sooner brands adapt to this change, the brighter their outlook will be in the future.