A few weeks ago, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s vision for the metaverse as the successor to the mobile internet. It will be a set of interconnected digital spaces that let people do things they can’t do in the physical world. The metaverse will be characterized by social presence – the feeling that people are right there with one another, no matter where in the world each person actually is.
What does that mean? To quote Mark Zuckerberg from his interview with Stratechery, “I think the metaverse is this embodied Internet, where instead of looking at the Internet, you’re in it.”
To support users’ experiences in the metaverse, Meta is developing two hardware offerings. In 2022, the company is planning on introducing Project Cambria. It is a high-end, mixed reality headset that mixes virtual graphics with the real world in full color. Meta is also working on Augmented Reality (AR) glasses called Nazaré which will enable overlaying computing onto the world around us. This project is expected to take several more years. In his interview with Stratechery, Mark Zuckerberg indicated that it would take 10 years to bring his vision to life.
Meta isn’t the only company developing products for the metaverse. Nike recently filed seven trademark applications to develop and sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel. According to a report on CNBC, the metaverse is a priority for Nike. The company is planning on launching and selling virtual clothing, headwear, shoes, in online and virtual worlds. The company is presently hiring a virtual material designer of footwear as well as other virtual design positions.
The videos from Meta are exciting, but everyone is wondering what the actual metaverse will be like. Unfortunately, it will take 10 years or so to find out.
The metaverse, with all of the special hardware and software being developed, will undoubtedly provide a new and unique experience that we can only imagine today. But we can get a taste for virtual words through Roblox.
Roblox is an online game platform and game creation system which many marketers have embraced to market virtual clothing, hair, and accessories to their 40+ million daily active users.
A broad range of marketers have run experiential marketing programs on Roblox, including Chipotle, Gucci, Hyundai, and Vans.
Vans ran a campaign on Roblox around an experience which includes skateparks, a store where users can customize their sneakers, and a space to attend virtual concerts.
Gucci sold limited-edition clothing and accessories priced between $1.25 and $11.25 in Roblox Robux. The company’s two-week Gucci Gardens experience resulted in 20 million visits with thousands of Roblox users acquiring multiple items.
According to Roblox, creators will earn $500 million by selling user-generated content in 2021.
Here are some lessons marketers are learning on Roblox:
Though marketers still have years to plan for the metaverse, virtual worlds will provide performance marketers with some interesting opportunities. First, virtual worlds enable hosting live events with customers and marketing partners, endorsers, and celebrities. It will be much easier logistically to invite select premium customers to a one-hour meet and greet session with an endorser than flying that endorser to meet with the same clients in New York, London, Toronto, Amsterdam, or anywhere else. And that meeting experience can be customized in a way that cannot be done in a Zoom or Skype call.
Second, beyond one-off events, virtual worlds enable creating a community where members can interact with the brand and other users. Want to get feedback on a new feature that’s in the pipeline? Instead of hiring a research agency to schedule a focus group, you’ll just turn to your community manager to invite select clients for a session in the metaverse.
Third, another exciting opportunity in virtual worlds will come from co-marketing. By working with a marketing partner or with a complimentary brand, co-marketing will enable your brand to be showcased in another brand’s virtual world for their customers and partners to experience and buy.
Though we’re still years away from the metaverse, there are exciting virtual world opportunities available now and in the coming years to prepare for this future.
And if you’re looking for support in your marketing campaigns with Meta’s brands in 2021 or 2031, reach out to Creative Clicks.