Although the metaverse is very up and coming, it won’t be long before this trend has a major influence on brands and the marketing of products and services. Specifically, if users are spending an increased amount of time in various metaverses. The metaverse has been born from a decentralized system, it has no servers or administrators – so marketing in this type of space it is going to be like never before. What will the regulations be, if any? And how will brands pay for advertising, will this only be financed through cryptocurrency? There are so many unanswered questions. Explore some of the methods that the market leaders are using and plan to use in metaverse marketing channels very soon.
An NFT or non-fungible token is a digital piece of property or asset that can be bought and sold. High demand and low supply can also make NFTs collectable items. A brand can decide on the scarcity of these assets as they will be in control of the marketing strategy surrounding the creation and sale of NFTs. They are highly likely going to be used to build a closer and more direct relationship with customers.
There are real-life examples of how NFTs are already used in a marketing engine. For example, the NBA’s website ‘NBA Top Shot’, auctions NFTs of the best NBA moments in history and sells NFT packs for users to start their collection – IRL (In-Real-Life) this is similar to Pokémon cards or Match Attax. In contrast, last year Kings of Leon was the first band to release an album as an NFT. The token gave fans special rewards such as a limited vinyl edition of the LP, gig tickets and bonus tracks. These brands are showing how using NFTs can help brand engagement and offer inclusivity to loyal followers – all the while taking profits from the sale of the tokens.
At the end of 2021, Nike acquired a company that makes NFT sneakers called RTFKT, a brand that was fully formed in the metaverse. The end goal for Nike is?… Avatars in the metaverse wearing Nike sneakers!
In high-end fashion, Gucci partnered with Roblox to create a virtual two-week art experience in its metaverse. The Gucci Garden experience was a virtual recreation of the brand’s real-life Gucci Garden Archetypes which is in Florence, Italy. Featuring multiple themed rooms that recreated Gucci’s most popular advertising campaigns of the past. The move provided Gucci with a unique opportunity to target and build brand awareness with the younger generation, one which they might not have penetrated as well with IRL marketing tactics.
This is no joke; real estate developers are channelling millions of dollars into purchasing pieces of land on various metaverse platforms. These real estate companies have a virtual vision of a world like how existing reality works. Real estate developers buy a plot of land and build a mall or large department store, they then make a return on their initial investment by selling or renting plots to businesses who want a storefront within the property, only in this instance it would be a virtual store.
Jean-Michel Jarre and Rod Stewart hold the title for the highest reported attendance of IRL concerts, each boasting attendees of around 3.5 million people. Travis Scott collaborated with Fortnite in April 2020 to present an event: Astronomical. What was created was a one-of-a-kind musical experience which drew in 12.3 million players on the first day and 27 million unique players across the entire 5-day event! The event helped Travis Scott’s new single at the time on to the No. 1 Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and it was aligned with a huge merchandise drop including action figures and NERF guns. Although penned as a fantastic immersive experience for attendees, the whole thing was equally an innovative promotional event for the rapper.
The key theme in metaverse marketing
One thing to keep in mind is the current demographic entering the most popular spaces in the metaverse. Gaming takes centre stage right now with companies like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite the big players in the arena. According to data from Statista, as of September 2020, 67% of Roblox games users worldwide were under 16. There is no denying that Gen Z and Gen Alpha kids are growing up in a world that is not only mobile and digital-first but now AR and VR first too! In their lifetime their real world may become their virtual world and vice versa, how will users cope with a distinction between reality? It could be this lack of distinction that propels opportunities of a way in for brands and businesses wanting to be successful with marketing in the metaverse.
Some marketing in the metaverse will likely be like what is already in the real world today. In the same way that out-of-home-advertising (OOH) works, digital billboards in cities and at popular events. Advertisers will be able to erect digital billboards in the metaverse or advertise in a game or during entertainment to build brand awareness or take the user on to learn more about the product. Although many do say that the metaverse will be a place to escape the real world, so copying our marketing techniques might not be the right move. It is highly anticipated that we will take on entirely new methods of experiential marketing creating experiences for users through creative and technological innovation.