Early adopters are reporting promising results with their metaverse marketing strategies. However, the secret to your success lies buried in your audience. Use these tips to plan your metaverse engagement tactics.
If you’re a curious digital marketer, there’s never been a better time to experiment with your metaverse marketing ideas. Advertising in the virtual realm is here, now. Maybe you’ve heard what tech giants and global brands predict: The metaverse will unlock powerful new experiences and revolutionize the internet.
Facebook’s rebrand to Meta is a clear indication that the world’s largest social media network views the metaverse as instrumental to the future of the internet. Significant companies in gaming, blockchain, and social media are dipping their toes in the metaverse marketing. Are you next?
What is the Metaverse?
The term metaverse doesn’t refer to a specific technology. Instead, it describes how we’ll interact with new technologies to live our lives in a virtual space. And keep in mind—there is more than one version of a metaverse where people will interact.
For example, Facebook’s vision of the metaverse is a reality-based social platform that requires a headset to engage in a virtual environment. Decentraland views it as a browser-based virtual world backed by NFTs and cryptocurrency, where parcels of land can be bought and sold. In the Roblox example, it’s an online gaming platform where people play games created by others.
The metaverse is any virtual world where people spend substantial time. There are no limitations beyond the hardware required for augmented or virtual reality. Even the popular game Fortnite is a metaverse where millions of people play, interact, and attend virtual concerts with each other.
The Immediate Opportunity
Various manifestations of the metaverse will be ad-supported, much like connected TV is today. And we can expect experiences in the metaverse to attract large audiences. Therefore, brands will see opportunities to subsidize experiences and lower the barrier of entry for everyone while creating affinity.
There’s untapped potential for effective marketing in the metaverse. The rollout of programmatic advertising in the gaming industry is a prime example. Both Sony and Microsoft are actively pursuing plans to implement in-game ads on their platforms.
Ad inventory in a game’s virtual world could include outdoor ad spaces like billboards and hoardings that can be bought programmatically and targeted to individual players. There won’t always be people who pay $70 for a AAA game, which makes ad-supported gaming the inevitable solution.
Many marketers are standing on the sidelines, watching how things play out for early adopters. The select few who figure out how to reach their ideal audience in today’s virtual world will report improved success early in the metaverse. Regardless of what group you’re in—learning how to market in the metaverse will take time and be ongoing.
What we’ve learned
Everything you can imagine will eventually exist in the metaverse. For digital marketers, the design space for engaging promotional experiences is infinite. Therefore, the biggest challenge will be creating memorable experiences for the virtual-first world.
That’s not to say every ad dollar should go towards metaverse marketing. You can create parallel marketing experiences, combining efforts in the metaverse with what your brand is doing in real life. Big brands use this hybrid approach today.
For example, the ideal B2B marketing or sales summit will have a digital track with some approximation of the metaverse experience. It won’t cause people to drop out from attending in-person but would not isolate attendees in the metaverse. In the beginning, digital marketers will have two channels to reach their people. Creating cohesion is paramount.
Examples of Effective Metaverse Marketing
Wendy’s, the fast-food chain, demonstrated how a hybrid strategy could work for marketing in the metaverse. The brand launched a virtual hangout space called Wendyverse in Horizon Worlds, a free social virtual experience. Fans can hang out in a Wendy’s restaurant and access an interactive world where they can do everything from playing games to ordering fries virtually. Participants in the Wendyverse can earn discounts to use at actual Wendy’s restaurants in the real world.
The high-end fashion house Gucci is also dipping its toes in the water. The brand re-created the Gucci Garden in Roblox. Based on its real-world installation in Florence, Gucci set up the virtual art installation in the metaverse to celebrate its centenary and increase brand awareness among a younger demographic. Visitors purchased limited-edition items for their avatar, inspired by Florence-based exhibits, to be used across the Roblox metaverse.
Additionally, Balenciaga ran a parallel marketing campaign, which allowed customers who bought apparel in the real world to unlock Balenciaga outfits in Fortnite. It also offered digital outfits for avatars in the game inspired by real pieces available for purchase from the virtual boutique.
Marketing challenges to consider
Finding the right audience is one of the biggest challenges for digital marketers venturing into the metaverse. The adoption curve for users is high. The metaverse, particularly the AR and VR implementations, is limited to tech-savvy enthusiasts. And let’s face it, the requirement of specialized hardware or headsets is a big obstacle for new participants. Not everyone has hundreds of dollars laying around for new tech.
Marketers must broaden their view of the metaverse and help ease their audience members into designed experiences. Parallel campaigns in the virtual and authentic world are one solution. Marketing teams should also consider if the metaverse makes sense for the brand given the opportunity costs. Your best action plans start with user research. Know what your people want and expect from you before you jump into a new platform.
Your Metaverse Marketing Starting Point
Let’s recap. Why should the metaverse be on your radar? The metaverse is an opportunity to reach new audiences, improve customer confidence, and eventually increase revenue streams.
If metaverse marketing makes sense for your brand, start by reviewing what’s working for other brands in the virtual event space. For instance, some companies offer whiskey and wine tastings, where the items are shipped ahead of time before a virtual gathering. An event such as this helps you prepare for the real deal in the metaverse.
Once you master virtual events, experiment with gamification or VR platforms, given your resources align with your plan. Exploring these hybrid opportunities (virtual and the real world) forms the foundational learning for your metaverse strategy. See how they work for your brand and audience members. The data will be instrumental in helping you decide whether it’s the right time to scale your campaigns in the metaverse.