As all good marketers know, it’s crucial to reach customers on whatever new channel they might be on. Soon, that could mean reaching customers through virtual reality and the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is a concept that’s very much still being evolved. Still, in general, it refers to a network of virtual worlds that are accessed by virtual and augmented reality technology to help facilitate social connection. While the concept isn’t entirely new, it has regained prominence in the cultural rhetoric thanks to Facebook. They have declared the Metaverse as the future and even changed the name of its parent company to “Meta” as a tribute to that.
For marketers, the Metaverse could present a new opportunity to tell brand stories and reach customers in a new way, just like the transformations of radio, television, the internet, and social media did in years past. The market for the Metaverse is expected to grow 44 percent or more over the next few years — a significant increase that potentially speaks to the growing opportunity for marketers.
Some brands have already begun to invest in VR and AR-related marketing. Nike, for instance, offers virtual try-on for its shoes through augmented reality and has signaled it will invest further in the Metaverse. Other companies have followed suit, including makeup brand Loreal, fashion brand Gucci, and entertainment giant Disney. In total, estimates find those job listings related to the Metaverse grew 400 percent in 2021.
These brands likely see the opportunity in the Metaverse to focus on experiences. These experiences are much more memorable and interactive than an ad flashing across a screen or other forms of marketing available through traditional channels. Additionally, its interactive nature turns users and potential customers into content creators themselves, adding other ways to feature your brand story.
Yet, while all this opportunity for marketers may be on the horizon, it’s also still very much early days. There is still far from widespread adoption of virtual reality and significant advancement that needs to be done in this area from a technology perspective. That means that while some more advanced users may already be there to reach through marketing, today, there is far from the potential that many predict we may eventually see.
There is also still much we don’t know about the Metaverse. For instance, who will own the major platforms through which users access the Metaverse? Facebook is undoubtedly positioning itself to be this leader, but it is still a nascent player. Additionally, what will the parameters be around marketing in the Metaverse, and who will set those rules? That remains far from clear.
In either case, when it comes to new platforms, typically, the first movers usually have an advantage. For SMBs, this could mean beginning the early considerations of how their brand could translate in the Metaverse and some small, calculated investments they could make today that could have a big payoff down the road in a future virtual world.