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Metaverse and your business – marketing revolution or evolution?

An immersive digital world, the metaverse is still at a very early stage of development – and there’s no one simple definition.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, a metaverse is ‘always active; exists in real time; players have individual agency; a self-contained, fully functioning universe on a mix of platforms; and contains user-generated content”.

There could be as many metaverses as there are brands who create them. These self-contained universes are a potential tool for digital marketeers, creatives and brands who want to target consumers who engage through self-created avatars in virtual reality worlds.

The marketing world is abuzz with the metaverse. Brands can create metaverses fairly cheaply and there are potential opportunities for brands to play big in this virtual world if consumers engage.

The metaverse could close the gap between ecommerce and instore shopping through virtual product discovery. Consumers go into a shop and they can try a product before purchasing. Online, they find speed and convenience without trial. The metaverse could combine the convenience of online with the reassurance of testing before purchase.

Brands could use the metaverse to drive growth through combining social experiences with product purchase. Brands will be able to create a specific social universe, which users can virtually interact with and then be able to buy products from – e.g. a fashion show to showcase items that are available to purchase. It could also enable brands to benefit from user generated context on an even greater scale.

The metaverse could accelerate communication about brand purpose. For example, P&G’s BeautySphere allows consumers to interact with the brands while allowing P&G to share details about their approach to sustainability and promote their long-term values.

How do I measure engagement? There are currently no defined measurement metrics for engagement in the metaverse. So, if return on investment can’t be measured, could long-term goals around awareness provide the justification needed for investment instead?

Is there a risk for brands who move into the metaverse too quickly? If brands get it wrong, then reputations can be put at risk. However, mitigating the risk – by for example, building partnerships with existing metaverse platforms – could reduce the likelihood of getting it wrong.

Right now the metaverse is hype*
*The question we’re all asking is if and when people will engage with the metaverse.

Currently, there’s relatively low consumer awareness of the metaverse. According to wundermanthompson‘s trend report: ‘only 38% of global consumers have heard of the metaverse.’ Even less will be actively trying to engage.

While the metaverse is on the tongues of brands and marketers, consumers are not heavily invested. Those currently engaged are already engaged in gaming or virtual tech. The dominant user groups of these virtual spaces are Gen Z and Millennials.

People will need to buy technology accessories, such as headsets, to get involved in the metaverse, so the benefits will have to be clearly understood and relevant to the mass market if they’re to truly engage. Based on current consumer interest, this is a long way off.

The metaverse could remain hype, so brands should make sure their audience is wishing and willing to engage with it – but also understand what benefits will drive engagement. Brands need to know why they’re creating a “universe”.

It appears that, for now, the metaverse doesn’t change anything about the basics of marketing. Brands still need insight to communicate in a way that is relevant and authentic about a product, and with a message that is on point and delivers to consumer needs.

The metaverse may not be a revolution but instead an evolution of our online environment. It won’t fundamentally change how people are currently living but may be used to successfully amplify what already exists.

The key thing for brands, however, is to only play in this new virtual universe where they can see and measure real benefit and genuine engagement – and to ensure that reputations aren’t being put at risk through lack of control.

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