2 Metaverse Marketing Trends to Look Out For
Although the term metaverse was coined by a sci-fi writer in the 90s, it may not have entered your consciousness until Mark Zuckerberg declared his rebranding of Facebook as Meta. Indeed, we collectively sat up and took note when he presented his belief in the metaverse as the next big technological phenomenon – a belief strong enough for him to invest billions of dollars into its development. Like the digital world, the metaverse will be able to be accessed anywhere, anytime but instead of passively scrolling down screens, we will be in a virtual reality participating as if in real-life whether it be for work, entertainment or socializing via avatars. Yes, any young person will tell you that this already exists within gaming e.g., Fortnite, Roblox, and the like. It’s a matter of extending the pandemic trend for the adoption of digital spaces for business to the metaverse and experiential marketing strategies, such as those immersive, interactive engagements offered in VR gaming.
At present, the metaverse is in its early days of evolution for marketing purposes but it will soon become a mainstay. It may take a while before we’re all on board. However, now is the time for companies to start considering how their business dealings, especially marketing, will be transformed by the metaverse and what they need to do to make this happen seamlessly. Why? Nobody wants to be left in the dark, unprepared, and floundering to survive. The pandemic has already taught brands and retailers that customers have quickly become increasingly reliant on their digital devices to do business, make purchases, study, and connect with friends and family. The ‘next big thing’ tipped by industry insiders to surpass digital marketing and the internet is already around the corner. For brands and retailers to connect with their customer base going forward, they must make their marketing titillating, meaningful and immersive – the metaverse is set to provide ideal opportunities for businesses of all kinds to achieve this. In fact, it will be a necessity for all brands to use the metaverse in their marketing before long.
Getting ahead of the game – two major metaverse marketing trends in play now:
1) The gamification of marketing. Brands/retailers should move quickly to capitalize on the potential offered to them by the metaverse. The best means of this is using gamification strategies to draw consumers, especially younger tech-savvy ones, to their new brand offerings. An example of a brand trendsetting by leveraging metaverse marketing is Gucci’s recent 100th anniversary event, ‘Gucci Garden launch on Roblox’. Here consumers, via an avatar, could stroll through the garden visiting virtual rooms of which each one showcased a past collection. Other brands, similarly, collaborating with video games are Disney and Marvel with Fortnite. However, gamification doesn’t mean brands need to market their products and services through established virtual worlds on gaming platforms but rather use their 3D virtual reality (VR) and AR technologies for creating their own virtual event venues and spaces etc.
2) Traditional Social media platforms versus the metaverse experience. The norm for large-scale public events has been to use a hybrid of offline performances and online broadcasts on social media platforms. Now, with the possibility of making totally immersive and interactive audience experiences through creating virtual venues, universes, and locations, there’s been a shift to a new frontier – the metaverse. Rapper Travis Scott has already trialed this by hosting an experiential concert on Fortnite to release his 2020 album. Over 12.3 million players globally took part in the concert setting a record for the most simultaneous number of players in-game. This was also a big win for Fortnite’s owner, Epic Games, who made a killing from the merchandising of limited-edition player skins, and the like.
Warner Bros. too, have been quick to explore this new metaverse marketing strategy by releasing its trailer of Tenet through an in-game drive-through cinema location in Fortnite that viewers could enjoy while playing with their friends.
The convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and edge cloud processing will soon make it easier to deliver more seamless, enjoyable, and cost-effective AR VR experiences across a variety of connected devices. This will make the metaverse the best experiential platform to attract and retain a loyal customer base for businesses moving ahead. Historically with technology transformations, the winners are those who get on board first. Tech behemoths Facebook, Google and Apple are currently in the race to be the first metaverse company, just as with smartphones and PCs in the past. Brands and retailers, big and small, should follow suit by working towards metaverse marketing or risk being left behind as a defunct, relic of past business operations.