The term “metaverse” has been actively discussed on the Internet and in the media for more than a year, it has been mentioned and promoted by the most prominent minds of our time. In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company's name change from Facebook to Meta. This event was the next stage in the promotion of the Metaverse project, which should become a multifunctional platform for digital communication between people in the near future.
Given the relevance of this topic, we decided to devote our new article to this phenomenon. In it, we tried to find out how to use the metaverse for business and marketing: we expressed our opinion on this matter and supported it with up-to-date information.
What is Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a virtual 3D space, the participants of which can interact with each other in every possible way via the Internet, using the technologies of virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality. The main one of the metaverse opportunities is that it provides almost unlimited freedom of action. It can be considered a full-fledged virtual analogue of real life. In it, people will be able to do much of what is available to them in the real world: communicate, learn, play, work, be creative, etc.
One of the key elements of the metaverse is the system of avatars – virtual images. Participants can choose one or more avatars for themselves and thereby acquire a new virtual identity to play different roles and conduct a variety of activities in the virtual worlds of the metaverse. The term was first mentioned in the novel "Avalanche" by American science fiction writer Neil Stevenson, published in 1992. In it, the metaverse is described literally in its modern sense – as a place where people enter a new reality through digital avatars.
Such virtual spaces can often be found in science fiction: including both literature and cinema. In subsequent years, the theme of the metaverse was actively developed by video games. The ancestor of this genre was the multiplayer simulation game Second Life, released in 2003. It invites players to join a vast virtual world with elements of a social network.
Other modern games play on the same theme, the most famous among them are Sandbox, Fortnite, Decentraland, Upland, Roblox. They have their own characteristics and differences, but in general their plot is identical. It allows players to create virtual characters with ample opportunities to interact with each other and with the outside world. And the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and NFTs has made these metaverses even more realistic. With them, users buy and sell metaverse products using NFT tokens, which can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies or real money. In this way, the metaverses help players earn on virtual avatars. And many well-known brands sell their products and open virtual offices in the digital space.
How to Use the Metaverse?
Given the growing popularity of the metaverses, not only ordinary Internet users, but also entrepreneurs from various business areas are actively interested in them. These virtual worlds provide them with ample opportunities for direct sales of goods or services, as well as for marketing campaigns.
Next, we will talk about promising ways to use the Metaverse for business development and brand promotion. So what are they good for?
Improving the user experience. According to statistics, this is the main goal of almost half of the world's brands. The presence of the brand in the metaverse will provide it with a closer contact with its audience, thanks to the possibilities of the virtual and augmented reality environment. Also, companies can collect more information about users here to customize and optimize their marketing strategies. And the interactive elements of the metaverses will make the user experience more vivid and rich.
Search for new marketing tools. The success of marketing campaigns today directly depends on how successfully the business masters the latest trends and innovation in advertising technologies. The most promising area of Internet marketing is now considered marketing in social media. Metaverses are a fundamentally new and practically undeveloped field for marketing activity. They provide literally unlimited opportunities to promote brands and their products to a global audience.
Development of brand identity. Statistics show that more than 86% of users prefer to interact with authentic brands. The active presence of the brand in social media (including the metaverse) will help it develop this quality, as a result of which the trust and loyalty of the audience will grow. In the metaverse, a business can provide its target audience with valuable insider information, allowing them to see the company's activities and the process of manufacturing its products from the inside.
Digital Marketing in the Metaverse
Businesses are focusing on the metaverse for several reasons. First of all, as it expands its possibilities for communication with the audience. Equally important is the fact that the Metaverse is extremely popular among Generation Z and millennials, an extremely active and promising segment.
With the help of metaverse, business creates its own virtual world with the most saturated level of brand/product presentation, which cannot be provided by ordinary images, videos or other media formats. Each of these worlds can be 100% unique and provide users with a complete immersion in a new reality.
Metaverse marketing involves stronger audience engagement than classic marketing formats. For example, with their help, you can view various products in 3D using VR/AR technologies right from home, without having to go to the store, order a test drive, etc. A good example here is the IKEA Place app, which allows everyone to see how their chosen furniture looks and fits together in a virtual living space.
The Metaverse is a fundamentally new phenomenon, so companies using them seem to be more innovative. The competition in traditional marketing is too high, and many tools have long-lost their effectiveness. Metaverses, on the other hand, provide businesses with innovation in marketing through non-standard solutions for promoting brands and products. This gives it the opportunity to stimulate the loyalty of existing customers and attract new audiences. On the other hand, the novelty of this space has its risks, as it is still difficult to measure the results of marketing campaigns and evaluate their impact.
Another interesting feature of the metaverse is decentralization, which provides advertisers with greater creative freedom. Here they don't have to adapt their campaigns to the strict limitations of traditional Internet marketing formats and platforms: Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.
How to Start Marketing Your Business on the Metaverse?
If you want to start promoting your brand among the participants of the virtual space, then first you need to add it to the key thematic sites. These include Meta Horizon Worlds, Decentraland, The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, Roblox. There, you can not only advertise your goods and services, but also sell them to customers for NTF tokens. To do this, you need to purchase land or real estate in order to open a virtual store.
Another effective way to promote a brand in the metaverse is to organize virtual events. It will provide an opportunity to advertise your products to the audience and participate in collaborations with other companies. Mass events with many participants are regularly held in the metaverses: concerts of famous performers, fashion shows, etc.
An equally promising marketing technique is to promote brands and products through metaverse influencer marketing. Some brands create their own virtual characters and spin them around in the metaverse. Others collaborate with real players whose characters are popular in the virtual community.
Metaverse Marketing Strategy
To date, there are already a number of strategies for using the Metaverse for marketing purposes. Next, we will talk about some ways to profit from the metaverse:
Open a virtual store based on VR technology
Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are able to provide maximum immersion, allowing users to see the 3D space and objects in it as if they exist in reality. Now VR is only at the beginning of the development path, but many companies are already using it as a tool for communicating with employees and customers. This technology has also shown its effectiveness in the field of e-commerce: with its help, companies open virtual stores. In them, buyers can view goods through VR devices as if they were there in reality.
Create opportunities for brand engagement through augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) provides no less promising metaverse business opportunities than VR. It does not immerse the user in virtual reality, but instead brings virtual elements into the real world. This is a fairly simple to implement, but effective technology that is already actively used by many companies. For example, the Amazon AR platform allows customers to place virtual furniture in their home before buying real items to see how it will look in their interior. And Porsche has created an AR visualization of its cars, allowing you to create a detailed hologram of them anywhere.
Combine the benefits of VR and AR in mixed reality
Another currently popular metaverse ad format is mixed reality (MR). It combines the characteristics of virtual and augmented reality, being a hybrid of these formats. MR technologies place virtual objects in the real world, giving users the opportunity not only to see them, but also to interact with them. An example here is the Microsoft HoloLens headset, which allows you to see, hear and control digital content in reality.
Offer customers virtual tours of your store, office or production
This metaverse marketing example is ideal for small and medium businesses. It does not require any capital investment or long development, but it helps to increase customer loyalty by immersing them in your business. To do this, you just need to prepare panoramic photos and videos of the work of different departments of the company with a 360-degree viewing angle, and then upload them to a website or other resource where your target audience can view them.
Use 3D scanning technology to import physical products into virtual platforms
Finally, it is worth noting the no less innovative 3D scanning technology, which is actively gaining popularity in metaverse marketing. With its help, a business can create a virtual copy of their goods or any other objects from the real world. They can then be embedded into the virtual space of the metaverse, allowing users to flexibly interact with them using VR and AR devices.
The Metaverse is rightfully considered one of the most original and sought-after innovations in digital marketing in recent years. Virtual space offers not only a lot of opportunities for users to spend time, but also good prospects for business development and marketing. By incorporating their brands and products into popular metaverses, companies can effectively capture the attention of the audience and introduce them to their benefits.
Moreover, metaverses allow businesses to freely sell virtual copies of their goods for NFT tokens and then exchange them for real money. This and much more makes the metaverse a promising new market for various business areas, where many well-known brands are already actively developing.
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