What Does the Metaverse Mean?
Accelerated by the global pandemic, a groundbreaking, innovative platform for marketing emerged in 2021: the Metaverse. In the new digital age, the Metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds derived from social connections. It is promised to provide a unique internet experience that combines the latest technologies, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), to create an immersive experience for users and successfully enable a brand to connect with a whole new audience outside of their usual channels.
As of the past year, the average human attention span was just 8 seconds, according to Oracle. With this, consumers’ online engagement changed rapidly, with Gen Z’s and Alphas conditioned to shop and socialise through social media augmented reality filters, video games and immersive interactive content. In turn, Metaverse advertising comes with enormous digital opportunities to reach new audiences, improve consumer confidence, and explore a new revenue stream.
Metaverse advertising will undoubtedly amplify the competition between brands and marketers alike. To get you started, Relevance has put together a complete marketing guide that will help you navigate your way through the Metaverse and how you can leverage these strategies, immediately creating value for your brand.
Parallel Metaverse Marketing
Transitioning into Metaverse digital marketing does not always mean that you have to change your entire marketing strategy. An excellent place to start is replicating what you offer in real life in the parallel virtual world. It is not only a natural method to enter the Metaverse but also an authentic way for your brand to get noticed.
When designing a parallel universe in the Metaverse, creating in isolation is no longer an option. In fact, a vital aspect of Metaverse advertising is its focus on interoperability – providing users with a seamless transition across multiple platforms. This means that designers must ensure that every user’s individual experience is consistent and uninterrupted.
An example of this effective marketing tool is Balenciaga’s collaboration with Fortnite. For one month, players could purchase digital clothing for their avatar inspired by Balenciaga pieces in a virtual reality version of the brand’s boutique. A real-life Fortnite x Balenciaga series was also available in select Balenciaga stores and on their website. In turn, those who purchase the real-life apparel unlocked the Balenciaga Metaverse clothing in Fortnite.
Create Immersive Marketing Campaigns
Creating an immersive marketing campaign is crucial in driving customer engagement and remaining successful in the Metaverse. In fact, according to the Experience Brand Index, brands that focus on building consumer experiences gain 25% more brand loyalty than those that do not.
Immersive marketing campaigns should go beyond the likes of virtual billboards, offering your audience an immersive experience that will push them out of their comfort zone and encourage them to consider the service or product available. Since Metaverses are experiential and immersive in nature, try to offer branded installations, live concerts and advergames that users can interact with instead of just placing simple advertisements.
Luxury brands are starting to discover new ways of advertising through collaborations with brands already well established in the Metaverse, such as a Lil Nas X concert in Roblox. Selfridges also partnered with Pokemon to create a virtual reality city and Gucci provided the ‘Gucci Garden’ experience where consumers could digitally immerse themselves in the spring garden exhibit.
With events as such becoming increasingly popular, particularly with Generations Z and Alpha, Metaverse events won’t just be used as a marketing tool you can use but will be seen as a necessity.
Establish an Online Identity
Digital identities are perhaps one of the most essential Metaverse marketing tools, where avatars represent people. A study conducted by the Institute of Digital Fashion found that 92% of people value customisation in creating their virtual avatars. Like real life, consumers in the digital realm can now spend significant amounts on self-expression.
With this, the direct-to-avatar (D2A) economy is emerging, allowing companies to sell and retail their virtual products directly to digital avatars. Naturally, luxury fashion brands are leading players taking advantage of this Metaverse digital marketing opportunity. Prada has partnered with Riders Republic to design virtual outfits, accessories, and snow sports equipment that players can purchase for their avatars. Similarly, Gucci sold a digital bag on Roblox for $4,000.
To help you establish an online identity, try experimenting with augmented reality. Through AR, users are able to visualise clothing products in real-time, ultimately changing the shopping experience. Alternatively, collaborating with online game universes will help you create virtual possessions that can naturally fit into the gaming experience. Otherwise, you can use 3D and AR platforms with open marketplaces to develop wearable and tradeable digital garments.
As an extra, you can also turn your virtual goods into an NFT. This can prove authenticity, which in turn helps to build consumer confidence.
Design a Virtual Space Indicative of your Brand
In this post-COVID era, it’s easy to understand the continued need for virtual meeting spaces. No matter your industry, creating a virtual 3D space is an effective marketing tool in establishing your presence in the Metaverse and building a solid emotional connection with your customers. Within these virtual reality venues, customers can tour, try on, try out, and participate in interactive 3D product exhibits.
To create your virtual reality establishment, team up with AR/VR platforms and designers to define a visual environment with experienced platforms. Depending on your industry and what is on offer, you may choose to create more than one virtual venue. For example, Net-A-Porter created an entire island on Animal Crossing to showcase its 3D headquarters, photography studio, and editorial room.
Interactive marketing is a great marketing tool to meet your customer’s needs. A superb Metaverse digital marketing example is the Gucci Garden virtual exhibit on Roblox. This interactive environment allowed Gucci’s customers to explore themed rooms and interact with digital clothing and accessories. Visitors even had the option to purchase exclusive, limited-edition avatar items.
While many brands launch their shop on Metaverse spaces like Roblox, try launching your shop on your own virtual site to help you build a first-party data strategy.
Offer Digital Collectables
NFTs or non-fungible tokens are a fundamental part of Metaverse advertising. An NFT tends to be music or art created by designers and is a one-of-a-kind digital trading card that can’t be replaced by another. It is important to utilise this marketing tool as according to Morgan Stanley, NFTs have the potential to become a $56 billion market by 2030. With this, designers can create some fantastic NFTs in the form of artwork, using them for brands to sell as a means of marketing.
Although the long-term value of NFTs is uncertain, luxury brands should look to utilise them for the marketing opportunity and their immediate high returns. For example, Budweiser’s rarer NFT beer resales have gone up for more than $20,000. Meanwhile, Mike Winklemann, also known as Beeple, sold his single piece artwork titled Everydays: The First 5000 Days for 69.3 million USD at a Christie’s auction on 11 March 2021.
There are several ways in which you can offer branded collectables. Firstly, offer an NFT with the physical item. While NFTs give collectors the appeal of exclusivity, a physical product provides them something to show off. Luxury watchmaker Longines listed a watch with 45 limited-edition NFTs, while Burberry sold out 1,000 limited edition scarves that came with an interactive NFT deer.
Alternatively, NFTs can also be used to reward audiences for purchasing your product, giving them more reason to engage with your brand. Try giving away NFTs to those who attend a Metaverse event you want to promote.
So, what does the Metaverse mean for the future of marketing? As the hype increases, marketers and their agencies are keen to benefit from the Metaverse, whether that means exploring virtual worlds, engaging in gaming, or purchasing NFTs. As with all new opportunities, the Metaverse advertising does not come without its challenges, such as high unpredictability, the risk of being inauthentic and a lack of standardisation.
While guiding principles can inform what kind of strategies marketers can utilise, Metaverse advertising strategies remain in their infancy with plenty of room for experimentation. In fact, the best practices are yet to be established. This gives marketers ample room to be unique and experimental in their approaches. Relevance is a digital marketing agency that specialises in helping luxury brands navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. Contact us to learn how to help you with some of the Metaverse tools discussed in our Metaverse guide.