Long before Mark Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook as Meta, the idea had been in existence since ancient Greece. The term “metaverse” wasn’t coined until 1992 by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson, but mankind seemingly always harboured a secret desire to explore a world beyond our own.
The difference now is that the technology to implement it is almost there.
Highly immersive online experiences have found their biggest success stories in the gaming industry (Ariana Grande and Travis Scott both played shows on Fortnite.) It has expanded beyond the one field, however, and marketers were savvy to recognize new opportunities to espouse brand awareness in a virtual realm.
Here are some ideal ways to market in the metaverse.
Surely, You’ve Heard About NFTs
There’s a lot of confusion about what a non-fungible token (NFT) is. The list of answers include various jokes about mushrooms and, more concerningly, the suggestion that they’re an outright scam.
An NFT is essentially a digital asset. It can be an artwork, music, or gaming gear whose existence is authenticated through blockchain technology. If that still doesn’t quite make sense to you, don’t panic. Just as those without the technical skills to create an app can now do so using third party software, there are sites that can help novices mint NFTs.
Virtual Real Estate
The idea of scarcity online is largely, and rightfully, ridiculed. NFT marketplaces, however, are more like the building blocks of a late ‘70s video game. There are plenty of blank pixels on an Ethereum virtual world like Cryptovoxels. However, those blank squares might not be worth what they are today; investors are warned of potential short returns only.
As for the marketer, the advantages of owning digital land are the same as they are in the real world. The virtual land can be leased or rented to others who wish to hold events, or you can host an event to promote yourself.
Gamify Your Brand
The majority of Canadians play computer games, and it’s become one of the most attractive aspects of the metaverse. During the pandemic, time spent gaming rose by 29 per cent. Yet, creating a game in the metaverse — even an 8-bit one from the NES era — is complex.
The important thing to remember about the metaverse is that it’s in its infancy. There will be companies to help you with what you don’t know. When Nike wanted to create the virtual world Reactland to launch React, they joined forces with Weiden+Kennedy Shanghai.
What of Zuckerberg’s Enterprise?
Be wary of Zuckerberg’s Meta as there’s reason to avoid it. What the harshest critics haven’t mentioned often enough is that Meta is still in its early stages of development. Though their virtual world looks as exciting as going into the office in real life, it has yet to reveal what advertising opportunities might be available.
The metaverse in its current state is like the Internet itself in the early-to-mid ‘90s — there were those who wrote off this technology as just a fad back then.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer