Part 2: A New Strata of Insights and Engagement within the Metaverse
Part 2: A New Strata of Insights and Engagement within the Metaverse
Welcome to part 2 of the 3 part journey into the metaverse. In part 1 we got oriented to this new set of virtual worlds and a quick primer on what’s under the metaverse. Now we’re going to dive into a bit about the structure and new technology that enables a whole new level of measuring human behavior.
Enjoy the ride!
One Metaverse to Rule Them All?
The talk (and the hype) about the metaverse would suggest one ultimate, defining and interconnected virtual world. GlobalData analyst Laura Petrone seems to subscribe to this point of view, offering that, “The metaverse is the prerogative of big tech companies with the wealth of data, computing power and sophisticated technologies to enable it.”
Then again, the end result may be a variety of different virtual spaces that people visit based on personal interests and needs. This may also reflect the fact that different companies, including multiple big tech giants, already have differing ideas for what the metaverse should be, and who should be “in charge.” (One Apple exec has already said he will never use the word “metaverse!”) This would continue the fact of overlapping apps — like WhatsApp and iMessage — that simply do not communicate.
But even without one single metaverse, there is a single joining factor: the user. Each emerging tech company will want to keep every user happy and engaged in an immersive virtual reality experience within a digital world, and it will be in the best interest of even competing metaverse destinations to agree on interoperability and compatibility. The spaces that permit the use of the same avatar across virtual worlds will flourish; the ones that challenge users to recreate themselves in each digital world will be creating barriers to users’ experience and engagement.
This shared structure of the metaverse may come to resemble the floors of a building. While each of the building blocks supports the other, they each also provide different features —and require their own rules and regulations.
On the foundation level we’ll find hardware, protocols and standards. This is where the phones and VR headsets, VR goggles, augmented reality glasses and haptic onesies will need to talk to each other.
Next up — and built on that foundation — is the ground floor of platforms and standards (e.g. currency, coding standards or APIs). This is the network that makes the universe of 3D virtual worlds possible.
Finally, we’re on the first floor: home to experience. This is where the individual users live on virtual land, play games, work within virtual workspaces, and shop for virtual items across a multitude of unique and interactive spaces.
The joining force across these floors will be open and agreed upon standards that ensure interoperability. The course of technology has shown this is possible. HTML is the common language that developers use to build websites that all web browsers can read. Hardware standards like USB ports allow different devices to connect together. There’s every reason to expect something similar for the metaverse.
In fact, it’s a necessity. Without interoperability across every “floor”, this promised land becomes a series of silos, cut off from each other.
Given the competing nature of tech companies, interoperability won’t be an absolute. And that’s ok: not every element of every metaverse experience needs to sync up. But companies that want to thrive will have a strong incentive to find more ways than not for consumers to take their digital avatars and virtual goods from one platform/place to another with ease. For the everyday person, it may evolve to the point that many metaverses do indeed feel like one shared virtual space. For metaverse companies, good virtual experiences will be good business.
The Power of Personalization: Customizing your own Virtual Reality
The possibilities of immersive 3D environments and experiences in the metaverse give new meaning to omnichannel marketing. This is a next-gen merging of physical immersion and digital environment: a “phygital” space that not only provides unique experiences for the consumer, but ones which can be hyper-targeted and distinctly personalized.
Just like today, if customers in the metaverse are confronted with content that isn’t relevant, they will bail. That’s a missed opportunity for sales and long-term loyalty. On the other side, McKinsey research notes that companies that focus on relevancy — a dedication to personalization — generate 40% more revenue than their non-targeting competitors.
Granted, this level of personalization requires looking at huge amounts of data. But there is a fair expectation that AI — artificial intelligence — will be a strong ally in the metaverse, helping to not only collect, but to also contextualize information.
Imagine a store attendant in the metaverse addressing a customer’s avatar in relation to a specific product — while simultaneously seeing/knowing everything about that person. Admittedly, a bit on the “stalker” side of things — but also undeniably powerful in creating a bespoke moment for that customer.
The result for next level marketers in the metaverse is a form of “engineered serendipity”: observing literally thousands of micro interactions born out of immersive interactions can translate into a macro experience that delights a particular customer — and leads to better brand impression, engagement, and ultimately profits.
Customers in these types of metaverse encounters will undoubtedly feel that a company “gets” them, which can only boost their inclination to say “yes” to recommended products and content. What’s true now will be true tomorrow: positive customer experiences boost customer satisfaction rates by 20%, and conversion rates by 15% — while also lowering marketing costs from 10% to 20%.
This hyper-personalization will require more than insights based on past behavior. It will call for observation and action based on in-the-moment behaviors. Where attention lingers, the micro-actions based on headset orientation and haptic signaling — these are all indicators that transmit that the present moment is the key moment for a successful customer engagement. Successful marketers will win through a combination of:
Viewing and acting on real-time customer data. An intelligent data layer enables brands to see what consumers are doing, their location, their device(s) — and use that to develop smart user personas and content that relates to who they are.
Capturing and keeping customer interest. A combination of real-time analytics, segmentation, and engagement functionality will allow marketers to adapt to tiny changes in customer preferences at the moment (vs. after the fact) providing a concrete value.
Delivering genuine, authentic help. Data can be transformed into individualized engagement that is based on humanity and empathy, as in Reebok’s use of augmented reality to help kids set up regulation-sized basketball courts in their neighborhood.
Building trust through honest value exchange. Two thirds of consumers are happy to share data in return for something of value. Savvy marketers can foster deep relationships by using data language that is clear and relatable, and offering discounts or a tailored experience in exchange. The goal and result are to encourage customers in the metaverse to share the essential data that fuels retention.
The Meta’s in the Details
Get ready to take your KPIs to a whole new level: just 20 minutes of using virtual reality can generate close to 2 million unique data elements. Talk about data possibilities for brands, users and marketing!
The metaverse is going to need more than a digital shoebox for those interactions. This is where new technologies, such as the unique identifiers of the blockchain and automated decision-making of artificial intelligence, won’t just help: they will be integral for interpreting and activating the value in these vast amounts of data.
As a work in progress, the analytics end of the metaverse can’t all be understood today. But it doesn’t take AI to know that marketers who start asking questions today will be in a better position when their customers take their steps from “dirt world” into this increasingly virtual realm.
How will data from virtual platforms get stitched into real-world business intelligence reports?
How will omnichannel metaverse KPIs result in increased revenue, nimbler marketing ops and altogether stronger customer experiences?
What are the next best actions for both your customer’s IRL (in real life) self and their digital identity? (If a customer sees a TV ad in the physical world, AI orchestration could then help with a purchase by their customized avatar at a metaverse pop up.)
What are the advantages of shifting marketing strategy from “one to one” to “one to avatar”? (When preferences are mapped to not just people but their avatars, a business will need to pick up these persona nuances to deliver the right preference to the right avatar in the right world.)
Keep thinking on those questions. And check out part 3 where we dive deeper into some of the real and potential experiences that only the metaverse can bring to life in both the physical and digital worlds.
Want to know even more about the metaverse? Download ID Lab’s Metaverse Cheat Sheet.