Skip to main content

Would you believe companies are spending millions of dollars on virtual property/real estate?

It’s true. According to a report by CNBC, a company called Republic Realm spent 4.3 million dollars on a parcel of virtual land in the Metaverse world called “The Sandbox.”

AR and VR technology is only getting more popular. An eMarketer report states virtual reality experts predicted  58.9 million people will use VR and 93.3 million will use AR at least once per month in 2021. These numbers represent 17.7% and 28.1% of the U.S. population.

58.9 million people will use VR and 93.3 million will use AR at least once per month in 2021.

(Source: eMarketer)

It’s safe to say the Metaverse has made a splash across a variety of industries and it’s here to stay.

What is the Metaverse?

A common perception of the Metaverse is it’s a more immersive version of a video game, which isn’t true. In layman’s terms, the “metaverse” is when the real world meets a virtual world. Within the Metaverse your physical being is represented as an avatar where you can buy goods, meet up with friends and participate in live entertainment. One of the main things that differentiates the Metaverse from other VR or AR applications is it doesn’t end. This means it continues to grow as more users and companies engage within it.

There are several aspects of the Metaverse that set it apart from other platforms. Unlike Facebook, where users can share thoughts and ideas expressed via text, imagery or video, Metaverse users can create virtual spaces  other users can interact with. Since the Metaverse is still in its infancy, user generated content will continue to level-up alongside evolving user ability and creativity.

The Metaverse contains seemingly limitless opportunities, as users are free to create their own reality and can be recognized and rewarded for the high-quality content they create. Since it’s always active and exists in real time, the Metaverse provides brands new ways to connect with their audiences.

Brands Already Advertising within the Metaverse

Brands are already taking advantage of these unique opportunities. Here are a few of our favorite, forward-thinking Metaverse marketing campaigns from the last few months:

Vans created a virtual skatepark in Roblox, which allows visitors to try out new skateboarding tricks in exchange for points. Users can leverage those points to purchase store items for their virtual avatar.

Coca Cola launched an NFT (non-fungible token) collection, which raised over $500,000 in just 72 hours. The collection featured separate NFTs with a physical edition fridge filled with Coca Cola.

Nike took to the Metaverse to create an immersive augmented reality space called Nike’s House of Innovation in New York. How could users visit this space? With their phone and other AR tools. The users were taken to a recreation of the Smith Rock State Park where they could use a digital map to access the fashion house. Nike is also planning on creating digital versions of its shoes in multiple locations within the Metaverse.

In 2021, Gucci partnered with Roblox to create a two-week campaign where users could visit the Gucci Garden space, which featured several rare items that are even more expensive than their physical products.

As companies follow in the footsteps of some of the world’s largest brands, there will be increased competition and additional considerations to explore.

Why Advertise in the Metaverse

Besides its growing popularity, there are several other reasons to start considering a future marketing strategy within the Metaverse. The main reason for early adoption is to appeal to today’s consumers – especially if your brand caters to Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z generations.

65% of Gen Z consumers have purchased virtual items.

(Source: Voxburner)

Consumers today want more innovative ways to learn about a company or product as opposed to invasive advertising tactics. Another advantage of the Metaverse is  it exists on multiple platforms and is always on. This means users can always visit different spaces in an instant.

For example, if a user is visiting the virtual Nike space and they want a nice bag to go with their new sneakers, they can teleport to the Gucci Gardens space to make this a reality. The Metaverse offers the ability for companies to create immersive virtual experiences that mimic what they do in the real world.

How to Advertise in the Metaverse

Companies might not be looking into marketing in the Metaverse for the simple reason that they don’t know how. Admittedly, it can be a confusing process due to its recent launch and gradual adoption – but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s worth noting that many of the brand examples discussed earlier are billion-dollar companies with infinite resources. Not all companies have this luxury. The Metaverse can be difficult to understand unless you have access to experts and developers, but there are a few key entry points we recommend looking into as you begin testing the waters for your brand down the road.

Event placements are spaces where users can enjoy immersive virtual live events. For example, Travis Scott performed a live concert within Fortnight to an audience of 12.3 million viewers. To put that into perspective, one of the largest concerts ever held was Rod Stewart at Copacabana Beach in 1994 with 3.5 million in attendance. That’s the power of the Metaverse.

Companies can also utilize ad placements such as virtual billboards, signage and posters that exist in different Metaverse spaces. You can also utilize product placements within the Metaverse where companies can sell the same items that exist in real life but offer them virtually.

Finally, companies can create NFTs for users to collect, which is a strategy Coca Cola utilized by selling a collection of NFTs that featured unique products.

Current Challenges & Opportunities within the Metaverse

Similar to when Facebook and other social networks started emerging, the population at large had concerns, and the Metaverse is no different. These Metaverse universes are still young. As they progress, accessibility will be broadened.

Technology continues to be a driving force within almost every single industry, which makes it imperative for marketers to keep up on latest trends. VR and AR spaces are continuing to grow, so it is impossible to ignore them. If you do, you are likely to be left behind.

It’s time to start thinking about bringing your real-life experiences to the virtual realm. Marketing strategies must make the shift from invasive to innovative across all industries sooner than later to meet consumers where they’re at today.

Want to keep up with future marketing and integrated communications trends and insights? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Ryan Solecki is a Paid Search & Digital Marketing Specialist at Franco.