As interest in virtual worlds continues, so does the growing opportunity for marketers to carve out their piece of this rapidly evolving digital space.
The concept of a “metaverse” has existed since author Neal Stephenson coined the term in his sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where human avatars interacted with virtual agents in a computer-generated, three-dimensional world. And unlike traditional games, the world of the novel kept turning while you were offline.
Though it’s taken some 30 years for the idea of a virtual world to take shape fully — and it’s still evolving — the notion of an online, virtual environment where people can interact, play games, and purchase goods and services has captured the attention and investment of stakeholders worldwide.
Many brands see the Metaverse as an extension of their ability to advertise their products and services in our daily lives. And with the global metaverse market projected to reach $1.35 billion by 2025, it is expected to become one of the largest and highest growth marketplaces for paid online marketing in the near future.
But is now the right time for your brand to invest in this relatively new world? And what sort of brand experiences lie ahead? We’re answering these questions and helping you get a leg up on the virtual competition below.
Where does B2B fit into the Metaverse?
The Metaverse you know about is likely the B2C version. That’s where all the gaming, shopping, and virtual concerts are taking place. Income is generated by advertising, virtual commerce, and subscriptions.
The B2B Metaverse differs because it’s built to support businesses and revolves around enterprise solutions, software licensing, and consulting services to generate income. It’s also equipped to support advanced technology like virtual and augmented reality and 3D modeling. Where data privacy and security may be more of a concern on the B2C side, the B2B side is built to protect sensitive business information (although, admittedly, it isn’t perfect yet).
This virtual space allows businesses to connect and collaborate with other business entities worldwide, increasing brand awareness and reach.
For example, in 2020, HTC held its annual industry conference — Virtual VIVE Ecosystem Conference (V²EC) — in a completely virtual environment where attendees joined and sat in a stadium as their avatars. Because the conference was hosted virtually, more than 1,000 people from 50 countries were able to participate, and 1.1 million viewers tuned into HTC’s livestream.
Another instance of B2B applications in the virtual world is Kaon Interactive’s LiveShare software, which engages buyers in sales meetings with a Metaverse platform. Sellers are able to engage the buyers with an interactive program that the buyers can then explore on their devices to self-identify areas of interest.
What will paid media in the Metaverse look like?
While we can’t promise what the future of this space will be, we have a few predictions on how it will look:
In 2020, gaming grew by almost $57 billion — more than movie and music streaming combined. Not only are there some 227 million gamers in the United States, but they also have money to spend. A Statista report found that the average American gamer spends about $23.87 monthly on video games.
In-game advertising is nothing new. After all, 94 percent of free mobile games have in-game ads already. But, the Metaverse has the potential to expand the possibilities of well-established advertising strategies. Incorporating clever product and ad placements and hosting (and sponsoring) events and experiences are great ways to get your brand out there in the Metaverse.
And remember, because the Metaverse is perpetually active and based on user-generated content, the potential to provide targeted advertising based on user preferences and activity is only limited by your imagination.
The internet loves videos, and you can take your campaigns even further than their current bounds on the Metaverse. For instance, the Metaverse allows video marketers to utilize eye and motion capture, as well as facial and vocal recognition technologies — all valuable tools for gauging feedback on ads. And with the power of a 360-degree camera, you can go further than ever when creating brand videos, case studies, and educational videos to boost interactivity and convert viewers into customers.
Virtual Billboard Space
Much like in real life, virtual billboards proclaiming your brand’s products and services can appear anywhere, having unlimited reach. Brands can tailor their virtual billboards based on user categories and include interactive elements to engage potential customers.
Influencer marketing is lucrative in the physical world — it’s a $16.7 billion industry as of 2022. So, it follows that your brand can use some of the same strategies in the metaverse.
Already, there are at least 300 virtual influencers. One successful B2B virtual influencer is Ester Olofsson, created by RAUWcc CEO Maarten Reijgersberg. She was initially developed as part of a marketing campaign for a hotel chain and remains a valuable tool for RAUWcc to test new projects and innovative ideas.
Transform your Metaverse strategy with Thunderfoot
Although the Metaverse is still in development, you should consider getting comfortable with it now to enjoy the benefits and efficiencies of being an early adopter. We see the metaverse as an opportunity for clients to have a first-mover advantage because they can begin building a loyal customer base today.
That’s not to say that your business should place the Metaverse at the center of your marketing strategy just yet. Because virtual worlds are so new, there are different risks associated with launching campaigns and measuring the results may be challenging. Also, keep in mind that not every consumer you’re trying to capture is necessarily on the platform yet.
If joining the Metaverse feels intimidating, investing in an experienced, integrated digital and paid media team is the way to go for taking your brand to the next level. Our integrated team of designers, developers, content creators, and digital marketers can help demystify this growing space and work with you to gain an early advantage.
Become a client and see how we can optimize your presence in virtual worlds.