The metaverse: definition and marketing opportunities
25% of people will spend at least 1 hour a day in the metaverse by 2026. Whether it’s for work, shopping, learning, social interactions or entertainment.
There is no doubt that to stay competitive and successful, companies cannot miss the train: how can the metaverse transform the marketing of tomorrow?
Enter the metaverse!
I. What is the metaverse?
We can consider the metaverse, not as a technology, but rather as a concept existing across various technologies. Let’s keep this nuance in mind to understand the metaverse.
The metaverse can be described as a virtual world parallel to the physical world. Its intention is to replicate what we already do in our daily lives, such as socializing, shopping, or attending concerts. It reproduces the real world in a virtual environment, where we can interact with spaces, objects and other people.
Like visiting websites on the Internet, you can visit platforms on the metaverse. This is why it is considered a universe.
These virtual spaces continue to evolve and develop based on user decisions and interactions within the space. To this end, the metaverse mirrors the real world because it has no “end”.
Characteristics of the metaverse:
- Always active:
Metaverse universes do not end when you leave them, nor do they end
- Exists in real time:
The metaverse has a timeline that synchronizes with the real world
- Individual interaction:
that is, users can do separate activities at the same time
- Autonomous and functional:
The metaverse is a fully functional universe that allows users to create, own, sell and invest. Users can also be recognized and rewarded for their work in the metaverse
- Mixing different platforms:
Different platforms can work together in the metaverse. For example, in the case of video games, you should be able to bring elements from one game to another!
- User-generated content:
Metaverse universes are more than just virtual spaces where users can relax. Users can create content that other users can also consume!
How does it work?
To access the virtual world that the metaverse allows, it is essential to have a suitable device:
- Virtual reality (allows a person to be immersed in an artificial world created digitally)
: headsets, such as the one produced by Meta, the Oculus Quest is the most widespread and allows to immerse oneself in virtual worlds
- Augmented reality (adding digital content to a real environment)
is also a technology developed in the metaverse. Special equipment such as glasses may be required
Note that these technologies are still rather recent and progress very quickly!
Examples of activities in the metaverse
3 facts that demonstrate its explosion
1. The evolution of the term “metaverse” in Google Trends
This shows us a significant increase in the number of people searching for the term metaverse over the last 12 months.
2. Chief Metaverse Officer and other metaverse titles
Search LinkedIn for the keyword “metaverse” and you’ll find plenty of results of people using metaverse in their profile title, headline or experience.
3. Instagram shows +1 million posts that use #metaverse
II. Current opportunities and limitations of the metaverse
The metaverse is a still-developing technology that is generating a lot of interest and questioning, especially about how it can improve the society we live in.
The opportunities of the metaverse
Sense of real presence in the virtual world
This is the first promise of the metaverse: to make digital experiences more immersive, more real. Real to the point where we should no longer feel alone in front of our screens.
The metaverse makes geographical barriers obsolete. Once you are in the virtual world, your physical location no longer matters and you are no longer bound to it.
The metaverse would therefore develop the feeling of being physically present in a virtual environment. For example, organizing a virtual meeting with your colleagues in Facebook Horizon or Spatial is closer to what we experience in real life versus the grid of thumbnails on Zoom.
Large-scale industrial workspace
The metaverse could also be a large-scale industrial workspace. Manufacturing companies can make digital copies of their machines that they can test in the metaverse before implementing them in the real world.
The design can then be corrected or improved before production begins, saving time and resources.
Synergy of Blockchain Technology Applications
Another notable advantage of the metaverse is that it allows each application of blockchain technology present in Web 3.0 to make more sense for concrete use in the virtual world.
The blockchain is the foundation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum for example. The metaverse promises to open up a virtual world where we can play, work and socialize with our friends in immersive environments without ever leaving our homes. And of course, anyone with any understanding of human nature could predict that one of the most popular activities would be shopping and buying things!
It is possible to buy digital versions of just about anything we can buy in the real world. Buying things will probably only be the beginning: decentralized finance (DeFi) is perfectly suited to work in virtual environments, and we can expect metaverse-based lending, borrowing, and investing to become more and more common.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) could play an important role in the metaverse. NFTs are tokens that live on a blockchain and can be used to authenticate ownership of digital assets. We know them primarily as digital artworks, but in theory they can be connected to anything, including virtual avatars, gaming assets and real estate?
One of the main functions of NFTs within the metaverse would therefore be to assign value to objects. They provide a framework for assigning value to digital objects, as they can be used to prove that someone is the rightful owner of a particular object.
@digitad.ca NFTs are debuting on social media 🚀 #marketing #digitalmarketing #socialmedia #nft #mediascial ♬ Motivation For Success – TimTaj
Video game development
Gaming will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting use cases for the metaverse, and once again, innovation in this space is driven by blockchain.
For example, the Sandbox is a virtual world where you can create your own games and environments. This uses the Ethereum-based $Sand currency to buy and sell digital goods and assets.
One of the most popular games in the metaverse right now is Axie Infinity, in which more than a million daily active users train and battle digital creatures, similar to Pokemon. The winners are rewarded with cryptocurrency!
Creating and promoting a virtual economy
A virtual economy is simply an economy existing in a virtual platform.
Another advantage of the metaverse is that it could support the creation of a virtual economy that functions similarly to a real-world economy: online stores would move from two-dimensional website layouts to realistic, graphics-rich virtualized stores where customers could interact with merchants and consume.
The metaverse would thus provide a digital platform for an immersive exchange of digital products and services. In addition, the creation of new business activities and jobs that exist either in the shared virtual space or in the real world will build a whole new economy.
Improvements in online learning and education
It is impossible to ignore how learning and education were impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Students were unable to continue their education, and we had to find alternative ways to resume education.
That’s whenonline learning became the new norm, using platforms like Zoom.
With the metaverse, learning would be more accessible than ever. The physical location of the classroom no longer needed to be a consideration. People from all over the world will be able to share information and study together in real time in a convenient educational environment.
In addition to that, the transmission of ideas and concepts could be easier with visual learning. Students could experience historical phenomena right in front of them rather than theoretically: imagine wandering the streets of ancient Rome to get a real-life glimpse of life back then!
The current limits of the metaverse
The emergence of a new technology always faces challenges and raises certain issues.
Lack of regulation
A number of existing laws already apply to the metaverse and give rise to various legal considerations. BUT. Inevitably in the age of data protection, there will be significant privacy regulatory issues.
This is because virtual and augmented reality technologies require the processing of large amounts of personal data. Much of this is biometric in nature and therefore enjoys heightened protection, requiring explicit consent when used to identify an individual.
In addition, the metaverse will also be used by children, again imposing a new set of requirements and regulations.
The metaverse immerses you completely in a virtual world, similar to gaming, addiction can become a problem. Besides your basic physical needs like eating and sleeping, you don’t need to leave your virtual reality (VR) setup.
Also, living in a virtual state can make it difficult to differentiate between the real and virtual worlds. It will be a great challenge to balance the time given in the metaverse while trying to prevent addictive behaviors.
Loss of connection to the physical world
One of the main concerns about the metaverse is how easy it is to lose track of time while you are in it. This is because your senses are basically turned off, or in other words, they are connected to the virtual world instead of the real world.
People who are exposed to the metaverse for too long may lose their attachment to reality and go beyond it, not wanting to acknowledge the existence of a world other than the virtual world.
To some extent, we encounter this type of behavior today with the use of mobile devices, spending about 5 hours a day looking at a screen.
Cybercrime has been a serious problem on the Internet as long as it has existed. Governments have spent millions and years fighting it, which has helped to increase the security levels of our current internet systems.
However, because the metaverse is a new concept, it does not yet benefit from these developed levels of cybersecurity. This makes it vulnerable to all sorts of illegal activities.
Another concern is that due to the decentralized aspect of the metaverse, governments do not have much power to fight and counter cybercrime.
Connection and hardware problems
The metaverse will require a fast and reliable internet connection to make the shared virtual environment as seamless as possible. This must include a fiber-based connection and fifth-generation wireless network technology, including 5G technology.
Another issue is that it discriminates between those who have the ability to acquire and use the hardware and digital tools necessary to access the metaverse and those who do not. Less advantaged individuals and communities will not be able to enjoy its benefits.
III. How can the metaverse transform marketing?
Naturally, a new era of digital marketing is on the horizon that will complement marketing as we know it today with immersive user experiences.
Metaverse and social media
Users of today’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok , as well as communication platforms such as Zoom, are today limited to simply viewing their computer or mobile screens.
However, a metaverse-based platform will allow for a more immersive experience by creating a sense of “real” presence through more graphic, real-world content.
Near-real social experiences are probably the next step in the evolution of social media. The metaverse has everything it takes to create independent virtual communities on social media with their own ecosystems. Facebook’s plans for the metaverse with its name change to Meta already clearly present favorable prospects for the growth of social media.
Indeed, the social media metaverse can help you talk to your friends in the same room, even if they are miles away from you. Imagine discussing the latest music trends in a virtual space with your friends on a social metaverse as digital avatars. It certainly offers a promising advantage over conventional video and voice communication, doesn’t it?
Metaverse and SEO
The last decade has been about optimizing your content and enriching the right set of keywords for your audience to find. Digital marketing experts have focused and continue to build SEO strategies aimed at being found on Google, YouTube or other search engines.
The next decade is going to be all about “how to be found in the metaverse”.
Several directions are possible:
- Visual research
Search optimization could now definitely move towards visual search. As Google improves its visual search skills for the metaverse, it will become increasingly important in future SEO strategies.
Indeed, from Google Lens to Snapchat LIDAR to Pinterest Lens, brands are clearly in the process of integrating visual search into a smooth and enjoyable experience.
- Local SEO and augmented reality
Using Google’s latest AR/VR technology, local stores, restaurants and small businesses can offer consumers a 3D experience of their local listing.
- Search Engine
Will search engines be the gateway to being found in the metaverse? Having the keyword “metaverse” in a brand name, product or title is helpful for being found in search and social channels by those looking for this type of interaction.
- Social media in the metaverse
Some social media outlets such as Facebook and Snapchat have entered the metaverse competition with virtual reality platforms and gadgets such as Facebook Horizon and Snapchat Spectacles. Taking advantage of these platforms can give you a taste of the future of social media and stay competitive in your market.
Metaverse and communication
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses around the world to embrace digital technologies and online forms of communication. Telecommuting has become a solution to keep these businesses and the people employed.
Even educational institutions have been forced to use technologies and services to enabledistance learning. The Covid-19 pandemic is the main reason why video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams have become a must.
However, these platforms do not offer a compelling and engaging experience, unlike face-to-face interaction. The interaction is limited to real-time screen-to-screen audio and video. A metaverse-based platform like Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms would allow for more engaging interaction between participants due to the immersive and graphically rich virtual environment.
Instead of seeing the rest of the participants on a computer screen and communicating via microphones and speakers, imagine being in a virtual office or conference room, and being able to see around and navigate this 360-degree virtual environment while interacting with the participants’ realistic avatars.
Metaverse and customer experience
Ephemeral stores are commonplace for businesses of all sizes. Whether it’s products or services you sell, a virtual popup in the metaverse would give you the opportunity to share your brand on a larger scale.
A virtual popup is a chance to network, advertise and sell your products and services. While ephemeral stores in a physical location have a limit of traffic, the metaverse technology helps you reach a wider and unlimited audience!
The clothing retailer Forever 21 has created a unique experience that allows them to operate their store inside Roblox. In Forever 21 Shop City, the company will publish new collections simultaneously in the real world and in the metaverse. These same items will be available as virtual goods in Forever 21 Shop City that players can purchase for their Roblox avatar.
The metaverse has no secrets for you!
It may have taken 30 years for the Internet to get to where it is today, but the metaverse is about to experience rapid growth with technology in the making. Our experts are here to help you with your web marketing projects of today, and tomorrow!