Don’t fear the metaverse – we’ve been through this before

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Many questions surround the Metaverse hype, with major players such as Epic Games raising $2 billion for its kid-friendly Metaverse initiative, Facebook changing its name to Meta, and Snapchat trying to make a splash with its reality glasses. increased. Is the metaverse just a playground for techies and gamers? Is it just a fad or is it here to stay?

These questions are no different from the uncertainties people had in the 1980s and 1990s about the Internet itself. Newsweek published an article in 1995 by Silicon Valley technology writer Clifford Stoll claiming that computers and electronic publishing could never replace physical newspapers or magazines. Stoll argued that hardware and software would eventually max out, and the Internet could never be as portable as physical print. (Ironically, Newsweek ceased its 80 years of print publishing in 2012 to focus solely on electronic publishing.)

We know today that Stoll’s prediction was almost comical, but we still have naysayers who doubt the next tech trend: the Metaverse. And just like the internet, the metaverse is growing in popularity with young people.

According to Newzoo, metaverse gamers (i.e. people who play the three most popular metaverse titles: Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft) are younger than the average gamer. Metaverse gamers aged 10-20 and 21-35 outnumber non-metaverse gamers. And older generations of gamers, including Millennials over 36, are less likely to engage in the metaverse today.

The Metaverse will happen, but the extent of its success depends entirely on how humans can physically interact with it. While PlayStation VR, VIVE by HTC, and other VR headsets have had minimal success, Oculus is the closest thing to “consumer VR” in the mainstream market. But that could soon change. Apple has a mixed reality headset and the augmented reality-enabled Apple Glasses in the pipeline. Google’s Project Iris is right on Apple’s tail, despite Google Glass’ previous failure.

From gaming to enterprise, use cases continue to be discovered. It won’t be long before everyone is rushing to board the virtual train to the metaverse. And innovative marketers are already leading the way.

Related: How brands can strategize for the metaverse

Metaverse Pioneer

Startup founders, entrepreneurs, C-level executives, and marketers should all care about the Metaverse, because it’s the new Wild West: a whole new world of advertising that’s both literal and metaphorical.

If you were around in the early days of the internet in the late 20th century, you know that advertising giants like Meta, Amazon, and Alphabet started the dot-com era. This new frontier allowed smaller players to leapfrog much bigger competitors with deeper pockets. The video killed the radio star, and the web slaughtered both. The internet was a disruptive technology that forged new connections that supplanted existing businesses everywhere and in every industry, from media to retail.

The mixed reality and extended reality segments have this same potential. Every modern smartphone is AR-enabled. Meanwhile, around 9.86 million VR devices were shipped globally in 2021, and the VR market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 15% through 2030. This would place the number of VR users within the user population ranges of some of the most popular social networks, such as Discord and Twitter.

And you don’t need a VR headset to play most metaverse games because you can access them through desktop browsers, game consoles, and sometimes even mobile devices. A number of incredibly interactive marketing opportunities in the metaverse don’t exist on old-school social platforms, including next-gen storefronts, advanced influencer marketing, and experiential marketing.

Next-gen digital storefronts are appearing throughout the metaverse. Major fashion houses such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Prada have taken stakes in everything from Roblox to The Sandbox. Samsung opened a flagship store and hosted an event at Decentraland. Major trade shows cost some big brands tens of millions of dollars to attend, so a permanent virtual showroom might be a more economical option.

Advanced influencer marketing is also used in the metaverse. Travis Scott’s virtual Fortnite concert drew over 12.3 million concurrent players into the game. Those astronomical numbers simply can’t be matched on any other platform. The highest concurrent viewership ever on Twitch, for example, was 2.47 million. On Instagram Live, the record is 3 million and that of YouTube is 1.4 million. Scott reached almost twice the live audience of all three platforms combined.

Experiential marketing continues to prove itself in the metaverse and is changing the face of in-game advertising. You can defy the laws of physics to create the immersive experience you want your customers to have instead of using static pop-up ads. Skate shoe brand Vans, for example, has built an entire skatepark in Roblox, while Adidas is all about NFTs and virtual courts in The Sandbox. Each is testing experiential virtual marketing and revenue in the metaverse.

Related: Metaverse: Game-Changing Innovation for Entrepreneurs

Join the Metaverse

The metaverse is the next step in connected technology, and there are many highly populated worlds that you can fit into are under construction. However, you need to be clear and intentional in every move you make. To get off to a good virtual start in the metaverse, apply these three tactics:

1. Invest for the long term

Don’t just throw money on the metaverse and hope for the best. Intentionally apply metaverse marketing. Make sure your audience is appropriate and aligned with the required budget. Perform due diligence to understand which audiences are using which metaverse platforms. These open digital worlds may seem similar, but they attract entirely different demographics. Make sure you find the right audience in the right metaverse location so you don’t waste money.

Major media and advertising agency players, such as WPP and Horizon Media, are expected to enter the space, along with other major agencies around the world. They are already thinking about metaverse inventory, because they expect it to be the new Internet. Today, Internet ad spend has surpassed traditional ad spend and is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If we place that same trajectory on the metaverse 30 years or less from now in tandem with the cumulative effects of technology, then it’s fair to say that more and more budgets will shift to the metaverse as popular adoption accelerates. .

2. Charge your team with intentional creativity

The Metaverse is a living, breathing world. If you join Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform on Oculus, for example, you’ll be greeted by a real Oculus employee who provides customer service, a walkthrough, troubleshooting, and more. Start talking now with your customers or your internal teams to think about how your business could realistically live in a metaverse with all the necessary resources. If you need help getting started, just write your thoughts on a whiteboard. Bad ideas do not exist at this exciting stage.

In the late 1980s, people probably weren’t thinking about how to put the yellow pages online, for example, and the company didn’t survive the Internet transition. So get creative if you want to anticipate the transition to the metaverse. Building a half-hearted presence could have a worse effect than not showing up at all.

3. Improve by trial and error

Bloomberg Intelligence projected the Metaverse as an $800 billion market opportunity and the next big tech platform. The first to enter and master the space usually sets the rules. You will need to be open-minded and think creatively in this new environment. People who build something new will attract the attention and excitement of the community – and eventually the general public. Be fluid and ready to move in any direction while remaining authentic to your brand.

Test to learn, because you can always move toward things that work and away from things that don’t. Also, make sure that the money you use to identify these opportunities or weaknesses is minimal to begin with.

Related: 6 Ways to Prepare Your Small Business for the Metaverse

As technology evolves, the metaverse will remain popular. Younger generations are already finding ways to incorporate it into their lifestyle, just as they did with the internet and games. I have no doubt that we will see the next FAANG company emerge from the metaverse in another decade.

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