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May 4, 2023

What does the metaverse mean for digital marketing?

Before we begin, this is not a blog about your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Whilst a trip through the multiverse sounds fun, we’re here to discuss the metaverse.

Unless you’ve been spending too much time watching comic book capers, you’ll have realised the rise of the metaverse has become one of ecommerce’s most talked about topics.

But what exactly is the metaverse? And what does it mean for digital marketing's future? As a digital marketing agency that does it differently, with a technology-agnostic approach, we’ve done our homework, so you don’t have to.

What is the metaverse?

It is a virtual world that mirrors the physical world using a wealth of technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, AI, social media, and digital currency. The metaverse is believed to be the next evolution of the internet, and it's becoming one of ecommerce's most talked-about topics. As such, it's important to understand the role of the metaverse in digital marketing.

The metaverse is a fully-functioning universe where users can create, own, sell, and invest all at once. It promotes user-generated content creation and gives users individual agency, just like in the real world. And because it exists in real-time and mixes up different platforms, it's perfect for digital marketing and eCommerce.

By 2024, over 34 million homes will own VR headsets, and1.7 billion mobile users will regularly use augmented reality. The market for both will grow from 2.8billion dollars in 2021 to 20.9 billion dollars. This means that businesses need to start thinking about how to use the metaverse to their advantage.

What's the difference between the metaverse and the internet?

The key difference between the metaverse and the internet is that the metaverse is a fully-immersive, 3D environment that allows users to interact with each other and the environment in real-time. It is more interactive than the internet and can be used for a variety of activities, including online shopping, virtual events, virtual education, and more. The metaverse provides an opportunity for businesses to explore new ways of engaging with customers, creating immersive and engaging experiences.

Imagine playing with Lego. There are two choices to make:

1.     You can pick out a Lego box with a specific design. You follow the instructions, spend a few hours working away, and walk off with pride. This is the internet.

2.    You have an unlimited bucket of pieces to choose from. You can add and remove items from your grand design anytime, anywhere. You won’t have a photo finish, but there’s always something new to look at. That’s the Metaverse.

If you can browse the internet, the metaverse is something you can live in it to some extent. Designed to be an interactive, interconnected environment, users are encouraged to work, play, and socialise in the metaverse.

What are the key features of the metaverse?

The metaverse might sound like a science fiction story and is similar to The Oasis in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.However, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Much like the real world it mirrors, the metaverse will evolve and grow depending on what users do with it. The more popular it becomes, the more depth it’ll have.

But if it’s all a bit confusing, here is a list of its key features and ideas to help you get a general gist of things: 

  1. It exists in real time – the metaverse’s timeline syncs with ours, so everything you do happens at once.
  2. It mixes up different platforms - because it’s a virtual world, different platforms can work together, whether it’s bringing items from one game to another or posting from one social network to several.
  3. It promotes user-generated content creation – it’s one of social media marketing’s biggest trends right now, and you’ll be able to create content other users can enjoy in the metaverse.
  4. It’s a fully-functioning universe – which makes it perfect for digital marketing and eCommerce, as users can create, own, sell and invest all at once.
  5. It gives users individual agency – just like in the real world, you can do what you want whether you’re interacting with others online or working solo, making it perfect for collaborative working.
  6. It’s always active – as it mirrors the real world, the metaverse doesn’t end when you log off, it continues indefinitely.

So why does the metaverse matter in digital marketing?

If the Metaverse is a virtual world mirroring the real one, where businesses can build empires and brands can develop, digital marketing will play a pivotal role just like it does now.

Merging the physical and digital worlds together to impact the way we work, play, learn, socialise and shop means digital marketing will change.

By 2024, it’s estimated that over 34 million homes will own VR headsets,1.7 billion mobile users will regularly use augmented reality, and the market for both will grow from 2.8 billion dollars in 2021 to 20.9 billion dollars (Influencer Marketing, 2022).

So if everyone’s getting on board with the tools the metaverse is building itself on, digital marketing needs to develop ways of using them to its advantage. In many ways, it’s a battle of chess between the metaverse and the digital marketing industry, trying to stay several steps ahead.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few things to chew on when thinking about the future of digital marketing in the metaverse.

Creating immersive experiences that go to infinity and beyond

If immersive experiences aren’t already in your digital marketing playbook, they need to be. In a virtual world where anything’s possible thanks to technology’s continuous evolution, your brand can build campaigns that put the user front and centre.

Early adopters of the metaverse have tested the water with immersive experiences to great success. Using the interactive video game Roblox, musician Lil Nas X held a concert to promote his latest album within the game itself. This meant you could only experience the set if you were one of the 33 million people virtual tapping in. In addition, Warner Bros. created a fully interactive Washington Heights for you to explore in promotion of In the Heights.

Now think about your brand, and what you offer your customers.Now, consider about how that translates to the virtual world.Think about how you can reach them and immerse the min your virtual world corner.

The customer journey begins and ends in the metaverse

When Facebook helped social media show up, and Google changed the game for SEO and PPC, aspects of the customer journey had to shift.

Social has always delivered on raising awareness of your brand and shaping perceptions at the top of the funnel. In contrast, PPC identifies mid-to-lower funnel prospects for conversion. But at the end of the day, it’s all at different stages.

With the Metaverse, however, the entire journey has a beginning, middle, and end. If you nurture your offering just right, there are opportunities to grow your customer base with a streamlined, holistic approach to the customer journey.

But to do this, digital marketing must redefine what the customer journey looks like, and how it plays a role within that. In the metaverse, you must get prospects interested, keep them engaged, and make meaningful conversions that keep them coming back.

Local SEO will become more important than ever in the metaverse

Whilst there’s nothing set in stone on how much of an impact search engine will have on the Metaverse, the way Google’s AR/VR set-up currently utilises SEO shows the potential it has in the virtual world.

Here’s an example. If you’re a home décor depot, Google’s AR/VR technology can create 3D experiences directly from your local listings. AR provides opportunities for users to try out your items in their home before buying or offers tips for decorating your home. It builds trust in your brand and persuades people to buy into your business over your competitors.

And this all stems from the on-page and technical SEO work you need to do behind the scenes. If you focus on optimising your local SEO, you’ll appear higher up for those searching near you. In the Metaverse, search engines might pull your digital marketing experiences into full view.

The way we think about content creation is changing rapidly

We’ve established throughout this blog that the metaverse will enable you to develop more interactive and immersive experiences. But drilling it down to content creation, it empowers you to develop more intelligent content.

Depending on the metaverse's development, content creators will use AI-assisted tools such as AI-powered video editing, AI-assisted copywriting, or AI-created animation and imagery. With AI in your brand's hands, you can use your data to achieve results by creating content that applies directly to your demographic. 

The metaverse offers enhanced interaction with your audience, so the way you create content for them to consume must meet enhanced expectations. Your interactions will shift. Maybe you’ll create custom avatars of key figures in your company to deliver updates, or approach customer service in new ways with virtual rooms.

AI-assisted content creation is just the start. With the metaverse, you can use data to create content tailored to your audience. You can also use data to inform your decisions about the types of content you create and present.

AI-powered analytics can help you understand your audience better and identify opportunities to engage with them deeper. This helps to ensure that your content meets your target audience's expectations and resonates with them.

Most importantly, the impact on digital marketing in the metaverse is unpredictable

The metaverse itself was something saved for science fiction movies, so it’s not entirely unfair to say digital marketing’s future within it is just as unpredictable.

Putting our research skills to good use, we’ve come up with a few things your business should consider. But if you’re looking to make the most of the metaverse and get ahead of your competitors, get in touch with us to discuss the future of digital marketing for your business and brand.

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Astronaut - Moon - Star DigitalAstronaut - Moon - Star Digital