However, given the growing importance of gaming in our society – 50% of us play games online according to GfK, NOM and other time use surveys – and the immense financial power of Facebook = Meta, Google and all the producers of online games, I daresay the Metaverse has a slightly higher chance of success than its predecessor.
So, with the necessary caveat that no one at this point can predict when the Metaverse will become mainstream, if ever it will become mainstream, there are already plenty of opportunities for marketers in the virtual world called the Internet. 3.0.
For those who aren’t gamers and/or haven’t seen Spielberg’s Ready Player One movie (recommended anyway): The birthplace of the Metaverse is the gaming community.
Games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and even Minecraft are a form of the Metaverse, a virtual world where players interact with each other through avatars, whether or not they’re wearing VR goggles. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and cryptocurrencies are, respectively, the product and the means of payment within these virtual worlds. The brands that are already commercially active in these virtual worlds have an advantage over the rest of us, because they have jointly determined and written the rules of participation.
The participation of brands in virtual worlds varies. Nike and Vans have created their own country in the Roblox gaming community, with virtual stores where users can buy anything; from outfits to skateboards for their avatars. Through gamification and incentives, these brands build loyalty in the gaming community. Burberry has created a playable monogrammed Sharky B NFT for the Blankos Block Party game. Adidas offers NFT in the Bored Ape Yacht Club market.
In any case, fashion and sports brands are the natural forerunners in this area, but fast movers like Coca-Cola are also investing in this by offering iconic vintage products like NFTs.
This borders on the sale of art in the form of NFTs, which is now a thriving business, with virtual art pieces auctioned off for millions of dollars by the most prestigious institutions, including Sotheby’s.
The intention of the Metaverse is that all existing virtual worlds will eventually be linked and that we use a single avatar not only for gaming, but also for meetings, shopping, and socializing.
The infinite scalability of the Metaverse makes it interesting for brands to jump in quickly.
But the uncertain and experimental phase in which we find ourselves forces us to move with caution.
Sarah Barker, Global Group Commerce Solutions Director of Reprise Commerce, has published a very practical and concrete advice with a 5-step approach for brands that want to enter the Metaverse and also pursue a commercial return.
Brands that do not have experience with the Metaverse (1) are recommended to do an exhaustive analysis of the profile of the client with the most potential and adapt real-life proposals for virtual use. Small-scale testing on existing platforms is also recommended. There are enough creation tools on existing platforms like Snapchat and TikTok to try this out for a relatively low price. Also, (2) make room in the budget to educate and guide clients in the optimal use of virtual offerings so that they also (3) stay consistently engaged with the brand and (4) become loyal. Loyalty programs can be designed for this, just like in real life, but then applied to specific virtual platforms. Finally (5) accurately measure engagement, conversion, and ROI. All game platforms offer a comprehensive and fully functional set of performance tools, so that can be the least labor intensive aspect of a Metaverse project.
In short, while the Metaverse still sounds like music from the future, there are already business opportunities, and therefore ROI, to be achieved, and these will only increase. An exhaustive analysis of your customers’ customer journey on existing virtual platforms is therefore not an unnecessary luxury, nor is it a short- and long-term action plan.