The history of marketing runs parallel with the history of technology. Both radio and television changed advertising in the 20th century. By the 21st century, the internet revolutionized how companies interact with customers. Now, most expect the metaverse will impact digital marketing significantly.
Most people became aware of the metaverse, which has been around for some time, after Facebook announced the name of its new parent company, Meta. Also, with the new name came a commercial that seemed to bewilder more than inform people.
But despite the strangeness of that ad, the metaverse offers a lot of potential for digital marketing. Once the technology needed to access the metaverse becomes more accessible to more people, it will only be a matter of time before not taking advantage of those opportunities could mean falling behind.
What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a term that has come to encapsulate many different things, much like the word “Internet” is an umbrella term that covers everything you can access online. The metaverse consists of 3D platforms that people can enter through virtual reality (currently achieved by wearing a headset). Digital versions of users – avatars – move through virtual environments, interacting with objects and digital versions of other people.
What they experience can range from traveling to a faraway land instantly to visiting a club or going to a concert with friends. And yes, also shopping. It essentially combines virtual reality, augmented reality and gaming experiences into one platform. That’s a powerful mix, which is why experts predict the metaverse will impact digital marketing significantly.
The Metaverse is Growing
Big companies such as Nike, Disney and Gucci have all announced they will move into the metaverse, according to AdWeek. How exactly that will work remains unknown. But they immediately see the potential.
Why the big interest? “The first and most obvious reason is that it merges the best of the physical and digital worlds to impact the way people work, play, learn, socialize, shop and generally communicate with one another,” AdWeek reported.
Everything with VR, AR and gaming has evolved toward becoming more immersive. Rather than look at static images or watch video, a growing number of customers want more interaction and agency when it comes to how they shop and make purchases. The metaverse is built exactly for such experiences. People, for example, can enter a virtual store and see items as if they were there. But that’s just the start.
The reason Facebook and other companies are investing in the metaverse is because of its limitless nature. Companies can potentially create almost any kind of experience. Want to know what it looks like to stand atop a mountain in the Himalayas? How about standing on a beach in Hawaii? The metaverse can successfully create all types of experiences, safely.
The Customer Journey
In digital marketing, it’s possible to streamline the customer experience. But the metaverse may potentially offer even more of a chance to do so, managing the entire customer journey from intent and evaluation to decision-making on purchases. Companies can offer customers the ability to learn more about a product in new and interesting ways, and allow them to make a purchase, all within one experience in the metaverse.
User Generated Content
There’s user generated content on the internet right now, of course. But the metaverse will open up entirely new ways for people to use, share and promote products through content creation. Consumers will have the ability to co-create content in ways that it’s impossible to predict.
In announcing Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg set high expectations. He said the metaverse will take people “beyond the constraints of screens, beyond the limits of distance and physics, and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other.”
Is he right? If there’s one thing that the internet has taught us, it’s that it’s impossible to know exactly where technology will take us. What seems certain is that the metaverse will impact digital marketing in big ways. As the largest companies begin to experiment with the metaverse, it’s smart advice for companies of all sizes to pay attention.
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