Today, there are few in the digital advertising space that are unaware of the metaverse. However, we couldn’t say this was the case even six months ago. In October 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta, thereby laying the foundation of the next big move for this massively popular social media platform. Later last year, Facebook also announced their unique concept for the metaverse and made the public aware of what it could come to be in the next 5-10 years. And we know that a lot can happen in a decade. If we look back 10 years, Facebook was still fairly new. But today, billions of dollars of advertising are spent on Facebook every year. But will this metaverse be as big and as much of a game-changer for advertisers as Facebook was? Will this change the way social media advertising is being done currently? Only time will tell but we seek to find out how it might potentially affect advertisers in the years to come.
What is The Metaverse?
A metaverse refers to a shared virtual-world environment that people can access via the internet. According to Reuters, it consists of digital spaces which are made more lifelike through the use of virtual reality or augmented reality. Still not clear what it means? Think of the hit video game Fortnight, a virtual reality game where avatars play the game in real-life, fighting against each other and attending events that are held in that metaverse. Every person playing in the metaverse will have their own personal digital presentation. Facebook’s metaverse goes beyond video games and incorporates real-life elements. You could just be walking down the street or chatting with your friends in the garden in its metaverse. It’s a whole new planet with real - but virtual - people in it.
How do brands enter The Metaverse?
With the emergence of a non-gaming metaverse, there are countless opportunities that exist for advertisers - and the immersive environment of the metaverse is not just an opportunity for consumer-facing companies. From training future doctors to rolling out new product demos to retail employees, the opportunities through this new interface will be endless. We can also see there are plenty of business applications as some brands like Gucci and Nike have already entered the space. The Verge reported that the luxury brand Gucci released a digital pair of sneakers in March 2021 that can be worn in augmented reality or in partnered apps for $12.99 USD.
The first question advertisers should be asking is about your target demographic. Brands must understand what behaviours are trending with your current and prospective consumers will help you indicate when and how to enter this space.
Secondly, you will need to look for applications suited for your business on the metaverse. Whether it allows your company to try new, creative projects or find new ways to connect with your demographic, you will need to understand how this new piece of media fits into your campaigns and organizational objectives. And then, plan your entry. Ask your agency team to start formulating a point of view on how your brand can (or whether it should) appear in the metaverse and when is the best time to do so. Understand the trends you are seeing across their client portfolio and what tests could be put in place to enable you to get your brand exposed to the metaverse comfortably. However, your regular ads will not work in this medium. You will need to think abstractly and place creative ads with engagement as the main KPI.
This technology is new, so the measurement and tracking parameters we are used to are not yet available, but it’s just the beginning. Regardless of whether you are planning to build your own in-house metaverse team or hire an agency to help guide you through the process, you will need to think big and creatively.