Ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, discussions on what Metaverse has been a daily occurrence. And with Facebook and Microsoft both staking claims, it has been a hot topic of conversation recently.
Understanding the metaverse is complicated right now because it doesn’t exist yet. To a certain extent, talking about the metaverse is a bit like having a discussion about the internet in the 1970s.
Metaverse was first coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, in which he envisioned lifelike avatars who met in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality environments.
Since then, many developments have made mileposts on the way toward a real metaverse, an online virtual world that incorporates virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication.
Metaverse sort of already exists in several online gaming platforms including Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox. Even apps like Zoom can be called a form of Metaverse since a group of people come together and interact in a virtual world.
However, Metaverse is a wider concept of digital space representation in order to bring people together from virtual trips to concerts and conferences.
But most importantly, there’s also a lot of marketing hype wrapped up in this idea of the metaverse. And so it raises questions such as how will the metaverse impact marketing?
In this article, we are going to discuss what exactly Metaverse is and the ways marketers can expect to use the metaverse in the years to come, as well as how they can get their foot in the door.
What exactly is Metaverse?
If the contemporary internet experience is two-dimensional – meaning you browse and scroll through it on a screen – the metaverse is 3D. You’ll be walking through it via connected headsets or glasses.
The metaverse is a currently hypothetical version of the internet that supports online 3-D virtual environments. This is done through personal computing, virtual reality headsets, and augmented reality headsets.
It also translates to a digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. And, in the more idealistic visions of the metaverse, it’s interoperable, allowing you to take virtual items like clothes or cars from one platform to another.
Today, most platforms have virtual identities and avatars that are tied to just one platform, but a metaverse might allow you to create a persona that you can take everywhere as easily as you can copy your profile picture from one social network to another.
What is Facebook’s Idea of Metaverse?
On 28 October 2021, Facebook announced that it has rebranded itself as Meta — a name it carefully picked to capitalise early on what will be the inevitable future of human connectivity and, perhaps, of life itself.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave millions around the world a peek into what the metaverse can be expected to look and feel like in a 77-minute video.
Zuckerberg showed a world that can be defined as a much higher level of virtual reality and augmented reality. In the virtual space of the metaverse, everything people do in the real world is replicated.
A virtual reality headset, or any other wearable gadget specifically designed for the purpose, will function as a gateway into this world.
Facebook’s idea of metaverse includes virtual avatars of people playing games, holding meetings, attending workshops, exercising, studying and socialising besides all kinds of activities that can be done in reality.
A more sophisticated metaverse can be extrapolated from this idea. It is, however, noteworthy that Zuckerberg believes it could take around 10 years for the metaverse to become mainstream.
Navigating the Many Metaverses
More advanced metaverse platforms include Roblox and Fortnite. The former is particularly interesting. Roblox has become so famous that over 50% of American children under the age of 16 played it in 2020.
Recently, Venture Beat reported that at the GamesBeat Summit Next event, the company’s chief of technology, Dan Sturman, said that Roblox is creating a metaverse around its players.
That’s apparent because companies, such as Nike and the National Football League entered the metaverse with NIKELAND – a virtual playspace – and Roblox store, respectively.
Fortnite is also one of the biggest ‘competitors’ in the metaverse space. Launched by Epic Games in 2017, it began as an online multiplayer game and has now become a larger social media space with acclaimed musicians, such as Ariana Grande, performing concerts on its platform.
How Will the Metaverse Impact Marketing?
As Metaverse becomes more and more popular, it will grow to be an essential tool for marketers. There is a lot of excitement surrounding this new platform because it brings marketers closer to their customers.
Marketers can create a digital experience that’s tailored to the customer and create a one-on-one experience with the help of virtual reality and augmented reality.
Marketers want to target and keep Millennials and Gen X up-to-date and engaged with their products and technologies, and metaverses allow them to target these audiences in a new way.
Metaverse will give marketers the ability to provide direct customer satisfaction through touchless interactions, which will increase brand loyalty and engagement.
From trying on a pair of glasses or a dress to test driving a new car, augmented reality brings the shopping experience to another level. In an augmented environment, your customers can interact with your products without leaving their homes.
NFTs will play a big role, too. With the ability to personalize avatars and spaces and storefronts, you can create branded virtual content for your customers. This enables you to break into merchandising spaces you don’t currently work in, such as virtual apparel and digital art.
According to Morgan Stanley, the multinational investment bank, NFTs have the potential to become a $56 billion market by 2030. All thanks to the demand the metaverse will create.
Facebook’s long-term goal is to create augmented virtual reality. The company wants to merge the physical and digital worlds, so people can share more of their lives with others. That’s why Facebook has invested heavily in developing augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.
If you’re a brand or business with an open mind and your target audience spends time on a metaverse, it’s time to give it a go.
As you begin to think about the best way to engage with the metaverse – whether it’s building an in-house metaverse team or hiring an agency to help connect and guide you through the process – remember to think big.
Even the sky isn’t the limit in the metaverse.