Facebook’s rebrand to Meta in late 2021 made the metaverse a household name and it’s been an Internet buzzword ever since. But just because it’s a buzzword doesn’t mean every brand should join in.
In this article, we’ll break down how to determine if the metaverse is the right match for your brand. We’ll also show you how businesses have already entered this trailblazing tech innovation.
Why brands invest in the metaverse
Let’s be honest, a 4D immersive universe sounds intriguing to consumers and companies alike—brands aren’t just selling a product or service, but a futuristic experience. As a pillar of Web3, the metaverse promises technological advances that will transcend the physical and digital realm, decentralize the Internet and transform the society we know today.
According to the Sprout Social Index™ , more than two-thirds of marketers anticipate investing at least a quarter of their budget into metaverse tactics over the next 12 months. Some 33% of marketers believe their brands are ahead of the curve for implementing augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) into their social strategy.
Brands are more likely to jump on board than consumers, who aren’t all the way there yet.
Even Gen Z and Millennials, who are most likely to anticipate using AR, VR or extended reality (XR) to interact with brands in the future, are still in the minority at 46% each. As the metaverse grows and becomes more accessible to consumers, adoption will also increase.
Metaverses offer an entirely new experience for users to socialize, play games, work and even make purchases. Even though consumers have been slower to adapt, the excitement around this new technology has skyrocketed on social media. According to Sprout Social Metaverse listening data from January 10–March 10, 2022, there was a 102% increase in conversations about the metaverse with a positive sentiment of 91% on Twitter.
And many big-name businesses are already taking advantage of the metaverse as a marketing tool, creating brand activations to stay ahead of the competition. Similar to the birth of social media, brands joining the metaverse want to be early adopters who take calculated risks and cash in.
How to join the metaverse: 5 steps to find the right brand opportunity
1. Understand the metaverse
You need to understand what the metaverse is, how it works and industry projections before you join. If you don’t have proficient knowledge of the metaverse, you won’t be able to pitch or execute successful brand activations. You wouldn’t dive into a traditional campaign without any research. Preparing to join the metaverse is the same. You don’t need to be an expert, but you should be able to explain essential concepts like extended reality and interoperability.
The metaverse is an emerging technology which means new developments will arise. Stay on top of online discourses and breaking news because like any other technology, the metaverse will change. And continue to learn about other Web3/metaverse components like cryptocurrency and wearables, because you’re likely to hear about them again. Consider signing up for a metaverse newsletter, like AdAge’s Metaverse Marketing Today or Time’s Into the Metaverse to help you stay aware.
2. Consider if the metaverse aligns with your target audience and brand
Currently, Gen Z and Millennials are the most active participants in the metaverse, but consider other traits beyond age. For example, an energy drink or gaming rig brand could benefit from a brand activation on a metaverse platform like Fortnite and Roblox (MMOs). Major gamers use energy drinks to stay alert while playing and gaming rigs allow them to play comfortably, so a marketing campaign that engages this audience in the metaverse could work.
Also, think about how your brand aligns with the metaverse in general. For example, many fashion brands have joined the metaverse to sell exclusive digital clothing and NFTs, establishing themselves as trendsetters that offer their clientele an exclusive experience.
3. Brainstorm engaging marketing campaigns
Brands can use metaverse marketing campaigns to boost engagement or sell a product or service. Do you want a solely virtual experience, or will you offer real-life benefits as well? What do you want to accomplish for your brand and how will you meet your audience where they are? Consider questions like these and brainstorm.
You can offer a collectible like a digital outfit or NFT, collaborate with a metaverse platform to create a branded installation or event or use ads on a virtual billboard. These are a few common tactics, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
4. Choose a metaverse platform
Once you confirm that joining the metaverse aligns with your brand and audience, pick the metaverse platform that can help you execute your campaign the best. Consider which existing metaverses let you connect with users in a meaningful way.
5. Invest and join the metaverse
Now that you’ve completed the other steps, it’s time to join the metaverse. If you would like to experience the metaverse as an individual first, explore the metaverse platform of your choice. Depending on the platform, it’s as simple as purchasing hardware or downloading software and creating an avatar.
If you’re interested in brand activation, collaborate with metaverse platforms to determine how to bring your vision to life. You’ll need to reach out to a representative from the metaverse platform of your choice and go from there.
Where can I get into the Metaverse?
The metaverse is still in its early stages and interoperability remains a major challenge, so there isn’t a single, universal gateway yet. For now, there are multiple metaverses you can explore.
There are also a few technologies you can use to explore these metaverses. These can include extended reality wearables, PCs and laptops, tablets, smartphones, public blockchains, decentralized autonomous organizations, etc. The list goes on, which is another reason why frequent research, exploration and experimentation is essential.
What do I need to join the metaverse?
Getting what you need to join the metaverse is simple. Your list depends on the platform and the type of experience you’re looking for. Regardless of the metaverse you choose, you’ll need an avatar, which you’ll create when you join the community.
Some metaverse platforms like Fortnite allow you to join via PC, game console or smartphone. Note that smartphones and tablets typically don’t have sufficient processing power for ideal performance—in other words, you might experience slower loading times or occasional lags. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for the best experience.
Some metaverses like Decentraland require a digital wallet. You can get a digital wallet through cryptocurrency platforms like Coinbase. If you don’t have a digital wallet, you can still customize your avatar, explore and interact with other users within the metaverse. You just won’t be able to sell or buy items, participate in events or earn daily rewards.
If you want a fully immersive experience of the metaverse, you’ll need a wearable device like a virtual reality headset. There are a lot of VR headsets on the market, but the most popular is the Meta Quest 2. It allows easy access to VR games, virtual workspace, apps and more. You’ll also need the Oculus Touch Controller, which is basically a joystick you use to interact with objects in the metaverse. Playstation VR and Valve Index are also common wearable devices.
Choosing the right metaverse platforms for your audience
There are a lot of different meteverses to choose from. Here’s a list of popular metaverse platforms you can use:
Each one has its own nuances, so remember to explore to best understand how to incorporate your brand.
How major brands join the metaverse
Now that you have access to a list of metaverse platforms, let’s go over a few brand examples to help inspire your own campaigns:
Each year football fans grab some cold ones while watching the Super Bowl. In February 2022, Miller Lite became the first-ever brand bar to join the metaverse. Meta Lite Bar was hosted on Decentraland and even aired the brand’s Super Bowl ad. The virtual tavern offered 21+ patrons interactive games, a photo booth and more. The beer brand also gave users the chance to win $500 cash to stock their fridges before the Big Game.
More recently, Miller Lite collaborated with international superstar J Balvin to launch a new physical merch line entitled BodegaWear. The clothing line is an exclusive streetwear collection inspired by the bodega scene. All of the proceeds will be donated to Accion Opportunity Fund, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources to Latinx business owners.
The Meta Lite Bar is back! Swing by to celebrate the launch of @JBALVIN‘s BodegaWear and get a chance to win an Ice Boom Box Cooler. Even with fire on the aux, your beers will be ice cold.
Go to https://t.co/CzvYlsHVKB to learn more.
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite) July 28, 2022
Miller Lite launched the collection on their website on July 26, 2022, but the merchandise line was available on Decentraland at the Meta Lite Bar as well. Users can obtain a J Balvin-inspired hairstyle. They can also enter for a chance to win real-life merchandise including a limited edition boombox. Users just have to visit the bar and play a daily mini game for entry.
Miller Lite even created a tutorial thread on Twitter to walk fans through the metaverse:
Visit the bar starting NOW, and (pro-tip) hit the tap.
— Miller Lite (@MillerLite) July 28, 2022
Target launched its first metaverse project within Horizon Worlds called Take Pride worlds. The project was led by Kelsey Dahlager, Senior Manager, Social Evolution.
As its name implies, the project celebrated Pride month. Take Pride was created by a team of LGBTQIA+ designers and Flutt3r, a world builder for Horizon Worlds. The virtual experience offered three worlds for users to explore, play games and more.
The big-box retailer peaked at #46 on the Horizon Worlds “Hot World Chart” out of over 10,000 worlds. Target is known for its DEI efforts, so taking its annual celebration to a new realm illustrates the brand’s ability to embrace change and inclusion.
NARS launched a branded experience on Roblox called, NARS Color Quest, a 90-day brand activation inspired by the brand’s popular Laguna and Light Reflecting products. The activation features four virtual islands where players can earn badges and Robux (Roblox’s currency). Players can also customize their avatar’s makeup and snap photos with friends. Who knew beauty, adventure and video games could be the ultimate trio?
Nike also opened a branded experience via Roblox. NIKELAND, features a variety of playrooms and mini-games. The activation is available across devices so players can enjoy platform-specific interactions too. For example, Roblox uses a smartphone’s technology to identify the player’s movement like running or jumping.
Along with mini-games, players can purchase digital Nike favorites like the Air Force 1 and the Air Max.
This metaverse experience is just one part of Nike’s long-term plans to decrease accessibility barriers and integrate digital athletes and products.
Join the metaverse
Now you know how to determine if your brand should join the metaverse and how to go about it.
To learn more about the metaverse and other emerging technologies marketers are using, download the Sprout Social Index™.