Marketing in the metaverse is ready to take off

Credit: Uriel Soberanes/Unsplash

Mike DriehorstWe are in the midst of a second chance at a second life. (Although this second Life never left.)

The first part of the coronavirus pandemic made staying at home and digital living a normal life for almost everyone. As augmented reality on our phones becomes second nature and virtual reality hardware becomes more accepted, the future wants us to take one more step — straight into the metaverse.

The metaverse is therefore much more of a concept and embodies a series of experiences in immersive virtual reality worlds where people can interact and exist. Companies like Fortnite owners Epic have adopted the terminology to describe the worlds in their video games, and social media platforms like Meta are praising their plans to help create the future. Clearly, on this front, we are rapidly moving towards an unprecedented reality (or set of realities).

Where does this lead to marketers?

How will marketers reach the audience in the metaverse?

Virtual influencers are already out there, and the metaverse is a good fit for them.

the Influencer Marketing Factory Reports that the virtual influencer market reached $4.6 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at 25% per year through 2025. Lil Miquela, a character created using CGI, gained some notoriety for kissing a real person in a Calvin Klein campaign† But she’s not the only one big time virtual influencer and some of them are making millions for their creators

Yoox, an online luxury discount site created by virtual influencer Marguerite, is one of the brands considering moving their virtual influencers to the metaverse.

“Gen Z and millennials see no separation between the digital and the physical world,” said Manuela Strippoli, the company’s chief communications officer. told Vogue Business earlier this year.

The role of agencies in the metaverse

In the early days of social media, sophisticated marketers became social media consultants. Major agencies have seized on them to take advantage of the growing opportunities, and dedicated social media agencies have sprung up as well.

Weber Shanwick hired Jeremy Pepper to help her start her social and digital media communications practice in 2006. Maggie Fox’s social media group as well as that of Jim Tobin Ignite social media became one of the first specialist agencies to provide social media advice and services to brands.

We would expect the same for the Metaverse.

In fact, some specialized agencies have already emerged, and some large agencies are developing their virtual practices and metaverses. Just do a Google search for phrases like “metaverse agency” and “metaverse advisor‘ and you’ll see what I mean.

So if you’re a brand that’s not so sure about the metaverse, you’ll have desks to get you started — and help you decide when (or if) to take those capabilities in-house.

Everything that is old is new again

In real or virtual life, marketers will always be looking for consumers. Wherever you see or come across ads in real life, you should expect the same in any virtual world.

Snapchat Lens has already gotten many of us used to trying on funny faces, and many people are now almost used to trying makeup, thanks to brands like MAC Cosmetics. Many companies also offer virtual and comprehensive experiences outside of the phone, as in this recent PepsiCo bus stop campaign

Some video games you can’t even play without see an advertisement

As we dive deeper into the metaverse, there are plenty of marketing meta opportunities, such as on metaverse billboards

While it’s easy to get carried away with the revolutionary nature of these technologies, it’s important to remember that the fundamentals of ROI and KPIs are still present in these virtual opportunities. Smart marketers will thrive in any reality if they focus on aligning their needs with the needs of their audience to create valuable experiences.

Or, as VMLY&R Advertising Week’s Karen Boswell recently put it, “To thrive, brands need to create experiences that are safe, inclusive, and people-led.”

“As with any investment in good experiences that meet a need,” she noted, “returns will follow.”

Mike Driehorst is Managing Editor at SmartBrief, where he writes this monthly column and helps put together the most important marketing news on a daily basis. Subscribe to our free newsletter to get his ideas delivered straight to your inbox.

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