Marketing in the metaverse — a guide for advanced businesses

As reported in B&T Magazine, a new global survey conducted by Ipsos for the World Economic Forum found that less than half the Australian population – 44 per cent – are familiar with the metaverse, while only 36 per cent express positive feelings about engaging with it in daily life.

This is in contrast to global statistics, particularly in developing countries such as China, India, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Colombia, where more than 50 per cent of people on average are both aware of the metaverse and have positive feelings about engaging with it.

While most Australians feel adverse or indifferent about the technology, our uptake of virtual reality (VR) devices in homes is increasing. Between Feb 2021 and 2022, active usage of VR headsets grew by almost 10 per cent. Now, at least 4.6 per cent of Australians aged between 16 and 64 are using these devices daily.

The increasing uptake of VR technology, particularly by millennials and generation z, combined with the stalled investment into metaverses by Australian businesses, presents fertile ground for those who want to market in the metaverse.

Meta what?

Firstly, let’s recap on what the metaverse is. The term comes from a blend of two words: “meta” meaning beyond or transcend, and “verse” which refers to the universe. Today, the metaverse can be defined as shared virtual three dimensional worlds where users are represented by virtual avatars. These worlds continue to evolve and expand as more people enter and interact with the space. Heralded by many as the “future of the internet”, the metaverse provides a gateway to entertainment and identity beyond online gaming. Its possibilities are diverse, allowing people to work on projects, compete in sports, or watch concerts together on shared virtual platforms.

The value of generation z

Marketers need to stay focused on the value, and therefore experience, of millennials and gen zers as a target market in this world. These generations are already avid users of some forms of metaverses, growing up playing games like Roblox and technologies like VR. Since this audience is advanced in their understanding of metaverses, it’s important for brands to execute marketing with care to ensure that it hits the mark. In this blog, we share four practical considerations for digitally advanced businesses to consider in their pursuit of marketing in the metaverse.

4 ways to market effectively in the metaverse

1. Parallel metaverse marketing with your real world marketing

Since the metaverse is designed to be an extension of our daily lives, aim to create marketing experiences that tie in with real world experiences or parallel what your brand does in real life. It should be strengthening consumer’s brand affinity by increasing exposure to your brand. So, for example, consider how you can use the technology to run virtual installations of live experiences or events, such as watching concerts or talks, shopping or playing.

2. Design interactive experiences

While you can place virtual advertising such as billboards in the metaverse, it may not be any more effective than placing ads in the real world. Research shows that consumers, especially young consumers, are less receptive to advertising than they used to be. We are ad weary and don’t want our experience to be interrupted, especially in social or other entertainment platforms. Since metaverses are experiential and immersive in nature, it’s best to take advantage of this by offering the same immersive experience with your ads and marketing initiatives. Our advice is to offer branded installations and events that your audience can interact with instead of placing ads.

3. Make collectibles available for frictionless selling

People like collecting things. Some do it for pleasure, others seek status or prestige, and many do it to show loyalty to their team, country, or brand. The metaverse takes advantage of this by opening up a new space for people to showcase their interests and build their online identity. If your brand sells products, you can offer virtual items that your customers can only collect in the metaverse. Global designer fashion brands are leading the way and making large profits from selling virtual handbags and clothing. For example, fashion brand Gucci built an immersive eCommerce experience on Roblox which offers limited-edition Gucci items for sale in The Collector’s Room. When it first launched in May 2021, Gucci collected 286M Robux (Roblox currency) USD, which is equivalent to 6.7M AUD.

Similarly, Fortnite, an online video game that amassed over 400 million global users in just five years, partnered with fashion brand Balenciaga in Sept 2021. Balenciaga designed four virtual outfits (or “skins”) that players can purchase, alongside accessories and weaponry. Players can also travel to a virtual Balenciaga destination in-game, complete with a store. The brand also sold a limited-edition run of Balenciaga x Fortnite hats, T-shirts and hoodies in stores and online.

4. Engage with existing communities

Generally, people are opposed to advertising in its raw form. So it’s important to tread carefully so as not to interrupt people who are already there. Brands should do the groundwork required to engage with existing online communities, including creators, to add value to their experience or create a useful tool or item. Think of this as influencer campaigns, metaverse style. The aim is to create user-generated content. So, community members will play an integral role in the execution of your campaigns.

Above all, be clear about your reason for marketing in the metaverse and create a business case for investing the time, money and resources. The more you dedicate to planning and consultation, the more successful you’ll be.

Want an expert to provide you with a sounding board for your brand’s next big marketing idea? Get in touch.

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