by Patrick Parker, CEO of SaaS Partners
When founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the Metaverse, it opened a truly monumental number of questions. The Metaverse is a digital environment that will be populated by avatars representing its users. In that regard, it is like a video game, though with increased interconnectivity, elements of social media, an expanded suite of activities (compared to, say, World of Warcraft), and, it is expected, a prominent place in the future of Web 3.0.
It’s also expected to integrate elements of virtual and augmented reality to help give users a deeper sense of immersion. So far, many high-profile brands are already gearing up to take advantage of this change in the internet. Nike has filed several trademarks with the intention of selling virtual sneakers, along with other apparel. Disney jumped on the NFT bandwagon through the VeVe NFT platform and has been highly successful thus far, while also looking to the Metaverse to usher in a new generation of storytelling. New companies, too, are looking to use this technology to disrupt the traditional media landscape.
The foundational tech of the metaverse, VR/AR, is expected to see a boost in coming years as well — from $12 billion in 2020 to $72.8 billion in 2024. The blockchain may also be a core component of the Metaverse. According to Statista, global spending on blockchain solutions may grow to $19 billion by 2024, as well.
The implications of the Metaverse are poorly understood, as of yet. The same is true for what the Metaverse will mean for the governments, companies, and users around the world. For marketers, it represents the possibility of change at all levels, making it impossible for savvy marketers to ignore.
The times they are a-changin’
In Meta’s own words, the nature of commerce is set to change. The Metaverse will allow buyers and sellers to connect in new and intriguing ways through immersive marketplaces and the sale of digital products, like the virtual sneakers proposed by Nike. The Metaverse is also set to revolutionize how users interact with the real world through augmented reality. For businesses, a prime example of this would be using AR to virtually place furniture in a room, allowing buyers to see how everything looks before making purchases. “Regardless of sector, there will be use cases for businesses that seek to leverage mixed reality and physical-world experiences,” the Meta article observes.
There are some key sectors to keep an eye on as Meta develops what could be its flagship product. The article notes that, though the company is still in its early stages of rolling out the Metaverse, the digital environment is likely to involve commerce and advertisements at some point in the future. This means that companies may be able to expect “classic” Facebook Ads within the Metaverse.
Companies may also be able to build their own virtual stores, and hold events in the digital landscape. For that reason, a company may attempt to raise its profile and marketing potential by investing in virtual property. Marketers may also wish to engage with the Metaverse and its user base by creating their own NFTs.
However, another Forbes article written on the topic cautions that traditional advertising formats may not translate. Engagement will become a key performance indicator, and marketers will need to think creatively to stay in the game. Marketers will have to be on the lookout for new metrics to gauge success while also thinking creatively about how to update traditional ones to accommodate this new environment.
Just as we know little about what the Metaverse will look like when it arrives, we know almost nothing about how it will develop. Keeping track of new developments and closely monitoring users’ desires and expectations will be essential going forward.
Marketers can rest assured that their talents will remain valuable going forward, even if this new environment requires a certain amount of retraining and the adjustment of fixed perspectives. Marketers adapted with ease throughout the equally disruptive transitions from the pre-internet era to Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, so the Metaverse doesn’t need to be scary. Ultimately, it’s more of an opportunity than a risk.
Patrick Parker is a five-time tech founder and the CEO of SaaS Partners. From business ideation to product development to building scalable marketing strategies, SaaS Partners is a support system and launch pad for entrepreneurs.