By Vipul Taneja
Metavers, a parallel universe
Connecting a multitude of different locations and virtual locations, the Metaverse is an online three-dimensional universe, in which users can interact, play, meet, work and socialize as their own digital iterations or 3D avatars. The metaverse, in essence, is a complex network of virtual digital worlds that coexist alongside the physical world in which we exist.
Like every new dynamic, Metaverse already has, or will soon have, its share of naysayers, just like with anything new and hard to fully comprehend all at once. It’s akin to how a percentage of people reacted to social media in its early days. Some called it a fad, and some tried to avoid platforming indirectly. Cut to 2022, social media not only happens to be an indispensable part of the daily lives of billions of people (Facebook, for example, has more people than the most populous countries in the world), but it’s also a part essential to almost every marketing mix today.
The most receptive section of our audience, Millennials and Gen Z who are truly digital natives today, are heading into the metaverse, or whatever iterations of that virtual space exist. This is the same demographic that popularized virtual universes like those in Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox; and while the fully functional and impeccably connected Metaverse isn’t here yet, there are individual virtual spaces like Decentraland, Axie Infinity, among others, that give a taste of what’s possible in the very near future.
Immersive experience, greater engagement
The main reason a ton of brands across the spectrum, like Vans, Chipotle, and Verizon are already heading to the metaverse, is to maintain their engagement with millennials, gen X, and gen Z, while keeping the products and exposed services where the maximum the eyeballs are. For example, Vans, the skateboarding brand, recently launched a gamified virtual skatepark in Roblox where players can do innovative tricks and earn virtual currency that can be used to upgrade their avatar. As of December 2021, the Vans skatepark had received 48 million visitors.
Luxury brands like Gucci have also experimented with the Metaverse. In May 2021, the virtual Gucci Garden, created as a digital replica of the real-world installation in Florence, Italy called Gucci Garden Archetypes, launched on Roblox. Users could interact with each other while exploring space, and at the same time link their cryptocurrency wallets and buy digital coins created in collaboration with Roblox. Some brands are also building platforms within the Metaverse to allow users to transact/exchange fiat currencies, instead of just Crypto, to provide access to people in countries where Crypto tokens cannot be used as currency.
A head start for marketers
In order to provide some value, as a sort of initiation for the audience, brands should consider offering rewards, or discounts, among other things, in the area they create on Metaverse.
The metaverse can also be used to create deeper engagement, as in the case of the Vans skatepark. Whether or not the user is a skateboarder, the virtual park gamifies the experience, allowing the user to get a taste of skateboarding, while simultaneously earning rewards on the go.
The overall impact on how marketing works will likely be phenomenal. Currently, brands that advertise online use search engines and social platforms. They use text, graphics and videos to get their main messages across. With the standardization of VR technology, these visuals will shift to virtual, three-dimensional space. Marketers will need to adapt to these changes and create content accordingly.
With the rise of the metaverse, search engine optimization will also experience major changes.
While it’s hard to predict how SEO will change, as it will all depend on how the metaverse shapes up, experts expect search engine giants like Google to take a more immersive stance and offer mixed reality search engines that allow consumers to visit websites. using VR technology. Storytellers and Brands must adapt by reworking their stories on 3D media. Marketers will need to keep abreast of rapidly changing technology trends to keep their approaches relevant.
The Metaverse is just beginning its journey, but the possibilities are already endless. It is a space where virtual connections can be made, users can attend an event and visit a brand booth. Without physical space restrictions, the potential growth in audience capacity is truly exponential.
This is the time when marketers need to put on their thinking hats and embark on a creative deep dive. With the rise of the metaverse, engagement with audiences can only deepen, and with the right amount of creativity, impossible is nothing.
The author is co-founder and CEO, Adsparkx
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