Metaverse Marketing: What Are the Opportunities for Marketers?
21 Mar , 2022
Metaverse marketing is the next big thing. The minute Mark Zuckerberg announced to rename Facebook as Meta with his ambitious vision of the metaverse, people started talking about the next iteration of the internet. The Google search interest of the keyword “metaverse” instantaneously leaped up to the peak popularity, rising along with other relevant keywords like “NFT” and “crypto” in the same week.
Top brands are venturing into this approximately $800 million market opportunity according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s research. With the continuously growing technology, we are seeing a bright future of the metaverse and hence the upcoming demand of metaverse marketing. Before it is too late, marketers it is the time to deep dive into metaverse marketing and keep your brands ahead of it. In this article, we have compiled everything basic you need to know about metaverse marketing:
Understanding Metaverse and Metaverse Marketing
Metaverse Marketing Opportunities
How to prepare for Metaverse Marketing
1. Understanding Metaverse and Metaverse Marketing
Don’t be mistaken — Meta is not the metaverse. The advent of the metaverse was found early in 1992 when an author Neal Stephenson created the futuristic term in his fiction “Snow Crash”. It envisioned a virtual world where people can explore around and interact with others as a digital avatar. The whole concept has been discussed for almost three decades but not well received by the general public until Mark Zuckerberg’s bet on Facebook’s future by completely rebranding it into a metaverse company. Therefore, to clear your doubt, Meta is simply one of the gigantic tech companies involved in shaping the metaverse. In fact, most of the metaverse elements mentioned in “Snow Crash” already exist today: virtual reality headsets, avatars in video games and cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange in the virtual world. So which parts are missing to make the idea full-on? It brings us to the fundamental definition of the metaverse.
1.1 What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse refers to “beyond universe” in terms of etymology. So much more than just a virtual-reality (VR) or augmented-reality (AR) game for your occasional entertainment, the metaverse is a continuous and immersive digital world experience using VR, AR and other technologies. In short, it is a 3D version of the internet. Everyone can work, gather, engage, do business, explore around different virtual spaces and experience everything possible in immersive ways. In case you still cannot picture it in your head, Free Guy — the science fiction comedy movie which crossed a big box office milestone last year — indeed illustrates well what a metaverse is to be like. The main character in the movie discovers that with a pair of sunglasses, he can do whatever he wants in the virtual city and rewrite his story of life based on his own decisions and interaction, so as in the metaverse we are talking about.
1.2 What is Metaverse Marketing?
We are sure that you, as digital marketers, are aware of the rapid metaverse development and its rising interest by consumers. To adapt as it grows and optimise the potential of metaverse marketing, it is imperative to first understand the five core characteristics of the metaverse which lay the basis for great marketing opportunities.
First, the metaverse is always ongoing. It does not matter what time the user shows up in the metaverse that it just operates endlessly, like how our physical world is. Speaking of this, the second characteristic is a parallel timeline. The metaverse exists in real time alongside our real life. Everyone owns individuality like what we have in the physical world. We can do what we like separately and choose to be involved in other group schedules as we want. Third, the metaverse has its independent digital economy fully functioning to encourage creations and business trades. Fourth, it is multi-channel and seamless. With a mix of channels across the digital and physical world, the metaverse offers a fully immersive experience that spans. The virtual worlds built by different brands and companies also interoperate in the metaverse allowing users to seamlessly go across spaces without giving up their digital assets. Fifth, the metaverse is filled with content and experiences contributed by individuals and groups.
Benefited by these prerequisites, metaverse marketing is all about utilizing creative omni-channel strategies to provide the target audience with a personalised, engaging ad experience in the aim of generating long-term marketing value. So what are the metaverse marketing opportunities we can see now?
2. Metaverse Marketing Opportunities
To be frank, before the pandemic, which is also before the transformation of Facebook, people were pretty satisfied with the existing internet development. If we could meet someone in person, let’s say our family member, we would not have considered online meetings as the first alternative. However, the never-ending pandemic has led to the rise of the virtual world as our commonplace, and hence probably the biggest marketing channel powered by immersive mixed reality: Metaverse marketing! It is not surprising to see marketers flocking to the metaverse with the following possibilities.
2.1 Metaverse Marketing in Gaming Environment
Metaverse is a piece of great news for gamers. It is not only due to the fact that they have been the loyal users of the artificial world, but also the extensive spectrum of gaming adventures offered to them. Last year, the gaming industry generated a total revenue of $180.3 billion under the pandemic, which we believe is no longer a seasonal hit as it once was and will continue to grow stably. In addition, gamers are willing to contribute both quite a period of time and money in order to level and gear up. You can definitely tell the favourable environment that the games industry is providing for metaverse marketing.
Users spend their most valuable resource, time, in the games and look for the same amount of value in your ad interventions. Branded characters and arenas are only some options of metaverse marketing within games to let the gamers themselves become part of the environment and ad experience. Instead of interrupting the gamers throughout the games with pop-up display ads like what we always experience in mobile games, this format of metaverse marketing in games ensures engagement, relevancy and contextualized advertisement. Several brands have already ventured into metaverse marketing in games, showcasing some examples for us.
Vans launches “Vans World” with Roblox, a global virtual universe game platform, to create an interactive experience for consumers. They can customize the Vans silhouettes with unique outfit and skateboard they purchase in Vans World, and practise skateboarding with friends. The Vans World synchronizes with the street style fashion represented by the brand and empowers its consumers to express their own style as on the Vans silhouettes, turning the real-world fashion more accessible and approachable in the metaverse. Vans’ metaverse marketing strategy has strengthened its brand awareness globally and increased engagement in the long term.
2.2 Metaverse Marketing Brings in Exclusivity
Everything in the metaverse is more accessible considering no time and place limitation. It is easier to have things that may not be achievable or affordable in the real world, for example a resort vacation right after your day work! In addition, creators offer limited collections in the metaverse. All in all, what you gain in the metaverse cannot be found in the real world. The convergence of the digital and physical worlds through the metaverse channel makes users’ digital experience and assets unprecedentedly exclusive.
We have already seen virtual concerts before. It is not new but a live, interactive and futuristic one has taken it to a next level. Justin Bieber partnered with virtual entertainment company Wace to stage “Justin Bieber - An Interactive Virtual Experience” concert in 2021. He turned into a digital avatar to perform his new album in the metaverse. His fans could view the concert closely as an avatar, influence the environment by sending virtual expressions and can even discuss with other fans around the world. This immersive and engaging concert in the metaverse has enhanced fans' loyalty even amid the pandemic, and most importantly proved the importance of giving exclusivity to your target audience in metaverse marketing.
The opportunity is particularly meaningful for luxury brands as most of their consumers purchase for the sake of collecting fashion items. By creating branded digital goods or even NFT collections, it is positive that the metaverse marketing strategy will be effective on both the loyal customers and potential customers to compete for the exclusive products.
Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian luxury fashion brand, sets a record of $6 million sales generated from the release of its branded NFTs. Promoting as “gems that can’t quite be found on Earth'', the creative nine-piece collection successfully gives its owner the sense of exclusivity that even physical products might not be able to provide. Take reference from this remarkable metaverse marketing example!
2.3 Commerce with Metaverse Marketing
COVID-19 has definitely shifted our shopping behaviours. In 2021, the global retail e-commerce sales had almost reached $5 billion, indicating the rising dependence of e-commerce business. The metaverse, as the hybrid of the online and offline world, connects everything together. The omni-channel marketing strategies that marketers talk about all the time can actually happen all at once on the metaverse platform, and make a breakthrough of sales revenue for your brand.
Many brands have produced 360-degree store tours on their website and apps, but the thing is consumers cannot really shop right away during the tour. Besides, the ecommerce platforms are still incomparable to the traditional shopping experience where you can browse over random products aisle to aisle, interact with friends and staff, and the most exciting but also troublesome part — to try on the items!
Metaverse marketing offers an alternative experience here. With AR and VR technologies, users in the metaverse can enjoy a completely new way of shopping in a digital showroom and purchase digital goods for their avatars and even real products for them to be delivered afterwards.
The e-commerce global leader, Amazon, has shown us an example by its early metaverse technology. Its AR shopping tool allows users to not only choose from thousands of styles to design their space, but also to see what furniture and decor will look like and fit in their real home beforehand, driving their confidence and interest to actually purchase them. Nevertheless, the new commerce opportunity also implies a higher requirement on metaverse marketing strategies. Arousing huge amounts of interest and engagement are your goals in metaverse marketing for the commerce industry.
2.4 Building Community by Metaverse Marketing
Community building is one of the most effective metaverse marketing strategies. It is not hard to imagine growing a community for your brand when the metaverse provides a basically unlimited space to meet up with old friends and even new people. These people are deemed as the committed group who are always interested in your latest move and intended to support your brand with actions, meaning the easiest target audience to convert. Many brands have taken the first step to form a community by marketing strategies like opening social groups and pages, but they fail to maintain the interaction with the community and lose the meaning in it.
Same story in the metaverse. To actually own a well-established, loyal community, your metaverse marketing strategy has to ensure you brand stay connected and genuinely involve your brand as part of the community members.
The entertainment conglomerate Warner Bros. Pictures collaborated with the online game platform Roblox to host an immersive block party for its summer film release in 2021, “In the Heights”. Visitors were invited to the film’s iconic Washington Heights neighbourhood in the metaverse. They could hang out in the iconic film setting, contribute to murals, learn dancing from the film’s choreographer, play games, etc. Movie lovers gathered at the party and interacted with one another, as if they were in a film club but with so much more engaging activities offered by Warner Bros. Pictures. The metaverse marketing strategy has successfully established a film community around the brand with the help from Roblox and increased the awareness of the film.
3. How to prepare for Metaverse Marketing
Metaverse marketing is still a very new strategy despite the increasing attention on its potential. What we can tell is, the metaverse is evolving fast. As terrible as we are hit by waves and waves of Coronavirus, it has accelerated the digital technology development and is reflected by several early brand participants of the metaverse. It is the right time to get prepared for metaverse marketing before it swiftly takes over the world.
3.1 Know your Core Target Audience Well in Metaverse Marketing
Millennials (1981 – 1996) and Gen-Z (1997 – 2012) are surely the long-hour users of the internet, accounting for more than 50% of the total. As a result, investors and big companies assume this group of people are going to be key drivers of metaverse development. However, new research by Harris Poll showed that only 38% of Gen Zs will consider having the metaverse as part of their daily life. It seems the young people still need more convincing incentives to believe in the metaverse, and thus be affected by the metaverse marketing.
Therefore, instead of roughly choosing the millennials and Gen-Z to be your target audience as others do, we suggest sticking to your original audience segmentation and plan your targeting strategy according to each metaverse marketing campaign. Do comprehensive research to dig deep into the latest consumer behaviour of your core target audience, so that your metaverse marketing strategy can effectively reach and engage the group.
3.2 Leverage the Existing Facebook Advertising Channel
Although Meta is not owning the metaverse, it is true that the company is solidifying its position as one of the metaverse pioneers. The company has experienced a not-so-satisfying user growth and earnings forecast in the latest report which is blamed on Apple’s privacy changes pressurising digital advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
As Meta is forming its own metaverse realm, it is opening up more marketing and sales channels for businesses to make money. It is going to be capable of collecting the first party data of its metaverse users that is for sure beneficial to targeting strategies in metaverse marketing. As Vishal Shah, the head of metaverse of Meta, said, “Everything you're doing now across our apps will benefit you in this metaverse future”. Before Meta’s virtual world is accessible to all, marketers are suggested to continue leveraging the Facebook advertising channel so as to be well prepared for the coming metaverse marketing strategies on Meta’s virtual world.
Is it far too early to flock into metaverse marketing when the word metaverse has not even been officially defined? Yet, we believe the metaverse is only going to be accelerated quicker and quicker with people’s desire to connect under the prolonged pandemic. In the metaverse, with great engagement comes great opportunities. Marketers should keep this in mind that at the end of the day, generating as much as engagement is your primary goal in metaverse marketing. Keep yourself at the front of the metaverse marketing development. Otherwise, when the wave comes without notice, you may not be well prepared enough to adapt. Stay tuned for more metaverse marketing insights!
About AsiaPac Net Media
With an extensive digital marketing experience of serving more than 2,500 clients across Asia in sectors such as ecommerce, finance, gaming, travel, retail, beauty, FMCG, education, health products etc., AsiaPac’s expert team is highly recognized for the excellence in providing performance-driven services to businesses across Asia, and global corporates targeting Asia markets. If you’d like to learn more about AsiaPac and the work we’ve done, visit our Cases page. For more information on AsiaPac/ AdTech and our services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com.