The metaverse has now passed the threshold from worlds for geeks to worlds for everyone. Every day we get calls at IDLab from marketers wanting to “put my brand in the metaverse”. Immediately after making that request, the next question is: So how do I start marketing in the metaverse?”. Here is a primer on some easy things you can do to start marketing your brand in the metaverse.
At the risk of infusing too much reality into our virtual reality conversation… we all have an obligation to our teams, leaders and shareholders to make well-informed marketing decisions so before we get into the incredible virtual world of web3 and the metaverse, let’s take stock here in the real world. Consider these current metaverse realities and budget your resources (time, people, capital) appropriately:
- By 2026, 25% of people will spend an hour in the metaverse and 30% of companies will offer services and products for the metaverse (Gartner)
- The metaverse market was worth $478.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to be worth $800 billion by 2024 (Bloomberg)
- By 2030, the Metaverse market will be worth between $8T and $30T (Citi)
- 64M Americans are projected to use VR in 2022 (eMarketer)
- Every year, $54B is spent on virtual goods in the metaverse (JP Morgan)
- 74% of US adults are joining or considering joining the metaverse (Statista)
- Today Metaverse players are 59% male and 38% are aged 10-20. According to a survey of 5,521 metaverse gamers, the largest group of users of the top 3 games (Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox) are under the age of 20. (New Zoo)
- Meta (Facebook) has invested more than $10 billion into the metaverse (New York Times)
- The market cap of Web 2.0 metaverse companies is $14.8 trillion (Statista)
To get started on the right foot with your metaverse marketing we recommend answering these questions to help you set your strategy and have the right expectations:
- Why do you want to be in the metaverse?
- What do you expect to get out of being there?
- Do you have the in-house resources to support your metaverse campaigns (concept, execute and sustain) or do you have the budget to hire the resources (e.g. agency) you’ll need?
- If you have the resources, what are the first three things you need to do to establish your presence in the metaverse?
- If you don’t have the resources to enter the metaverse what can you do now to at least establish a beachhead for future expansion (we recommend buying land for your store/office/venue in a good location and holding on to it until you are ready to start your marketing. If you want you can rent your land out while you assemble your strategy and resources.
(Need help answering these questions? Contact us.)
While we are still in the infancy of web3 and the metaverse the number of users continues to grow and all marketers need to have a clear plan for the metaverse as one of their marketing channels. Whether the plan is to go big like Gucci, the NBA and Sotheby’s; or wait for a few months, you either have a plan that defines your brand’s future in the metaverse (and with it web3) or you let your competition define your future for you. The Yellow Pages let their competition define their future when web 2 was getting started. How are they doing now?
Here are 5 simple ways you can get your metaverse marketing started now:
- AD Placements – Insert yourself natively within the platform
- Experience Placements – Parallel real-life marketing in the virtual environment
- Product Placement – Retail virtual goods to digital avatars
- Events – Create immersive and on-brand unique experiences
- NFTs – Offer digital collectibles
1) Ad Placements
Just like billboards, bus posters, signage, POS, street furniture and taxi toppers in the real world, there are prime advertising spaces in the metaverse – but without the physical limitations of the real world – think BladeRunner building-sized digital billboards and Ready Player One street scene.. Since the metaverse is a parallel world, it has the same real-world advertising potential – with heaps more brand and product interactivity.
In fact, video games like Grand Theft Auto and NBA2 have promoted brands within the games for years now.
- Total campaign control
- Increased views/impressions and engagement
- Beyond “flat ads”, can give an enhanced user experience
- Performance data hard to get
2) Experience Placements
Like the Gucci Garden in Roblox (one of the metaverse worlds), companies are beginning to develop virtual spaces that encapsulate customers in the brand and give them on-brand elements to interact with that go way beyond anything we can do in the physical world. We call these hyper-experiences (memorable moments in which we totally immerse customers into the very essence of the brand in ways that inspire them and make an indelible impression on them). This brings them into your brand in a deeply personal way.
The Gucci Garden virtual event is a great first foray for the brand; users can spend in-game money (equivalent to real-world money) to buy limited edition items. One user spent $4,115 in real-money equivalent for a virtual limited-edition Gucci bag!
- Total brand immersion
- Control over the customer experience
- Can introduce the audience to (new) brand dynamics
- Planning and costs intensive
- Has to be frequently monitored and may have to evolve
3) Product Placements
Just like in the real world, brands are placing their products in related (virtual) experiences for persistent brand messaging and the physical/cognitive correlation that increases brand recall and emotional connection. Hasbro did exactly this when they collaborated with Roblox to bring their Nerf guns to the platform. The mechanics of product placements in the metaverse are very similar to the physical world but we encourage you to think beyond the current constraints of physical product placements and to connect your placements to let your creativity run wild – don’t forget to find ways to tie your marketing back to the physical world. Consider virtual product enhancements (earned or in-game purchases; special product features) and using AR in the physical world to tie back to the virtual world.
- Persistent brand messaging
- Strong emotional brand association with the joy of the event/game
- Puts the product in a relevant and memorable context
- Placements are costly for high-volume games and events
- If exclusivity is not agreed upon could have to compete with other brands that have more/better in-world product features
4) Event Placements
With an ever-increasing number of well-attended virtual events in the metaverse, you can host events to attract your target consumers. Events in the metaverse can accommodate millions of users – more than any real-world venue and at lower soft and hard costs. Ariana Grande attracted 78 million Fortnite users to her virtual concerts last year. For comparison one of the largest real-world concerts ever was Jean Michel Jarre, Moscow, 1997 for an audience of 3.5 million.
- Potentially massive reach and engagement
- Good for almost all types of business
- Replays and merch provide “long-tail” revenue
- Big names/attractions are very costly
- Requires a high level of creativity and coordination
- Promotional campaign (cost and effort)
Yes, there is a lot of hype around NFTs at the moment and yes, the value of NFTs is seemingly unpredictable but there is still immense brand equity and revenue generation to be had while NFTs continue to evolve.
Coca-Cola and Nike are two prime examples. This year Coke launched 136 digital collectibles to celebrate Pride Month, with the proceeds going to LGBTQIA+ charities. NFTs offer the ability to celebrate unique
moments, and/or selling propositions for your brand and products. NFTs can be purchased in crypto exchanges (e.g. Opensea) or within the metaverse itself. Users are attracted to NFTs because of their uniqueness and potential investment value.
- Returns (revenue and profit) can be very high
- Ownership of product
- Concept, creation and sales processes are time-consuming
- Risk that the sale price is too low if auctioned (not a good image if the expected price was high)
If you are a brand with a multi-million dollar marketing budget you need to start marketing in the metaverse this year.
If you are a brand with smaller budgets use the next 12 months to experiment with small forays into the metaverse and above all else – begin to build your competitive beachhead now using bite-sized marketing efforts.
For all brands, get in now, ride the wave, don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy the vast growth web3 and the metaverse are going to bring your way!