The Future of Advertising in the Metaverse World, by Magna’s Firas Hariz

By Firas Hariz, media manager, Magna Global FZ LLC

The news has been all over the place, Zuckerberg has recently announced the change of Facebook to Meta Platforms. Inc. You might be wondering what’s with that change, how will it affect the users, what changes and potential will it have on the marketing/media industry and the brands? I had the same questions in mind when I first read the news and now I got it here explained:

What is Meta?

So let’s start with a quick explanation: Metaverse is all part of the virtual world, and this virtual world is already part of some people’s lives. To date, virtual worlds have mainly been present in video games like World of Warcraft, Fortnite, where users connect, communicate, and play together online by creating their avatars and characters.

With this revolution, people will be closer to each other.  The question is, how this is going to happen? Every user will have the chance to be part of events or spaces virtually, like attending a concert by watching it live and being part of it “virtually”. As the work environment has been changing lately and remote work is now a preferred option by many, virtual offices will take place with Meta to interact and work together. Everyone will navigate through Meta with their avatar.  It’s like teleporting from one place or experience to another, and it goes beyond games.

Many brands are already part of this virtual world by displaying their products there or having a virtual shop there.

Metaverse will have 3 phases:

– Horizon Home: a virtual home for you to have fun with your friends and family.

– Horizon Workrooms: virtual offices for meetings and work.

– Horizon Worlds: a world app to connect and create content.

How will Metaverse affect marketing and brands?

The presence of virtual worlds and experiences will lead to a lot of changes in marketing and the way brands will be present. Some brands have already established a virtual world on their own as Gucci, Hyundai, and others will eventually be following suit. Metaverse will allow brands to have more opportunities and potentials to interact and engage with their consumers.

“Every brand and company will need a metaverse strategy,” Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer and CEO of metaverse-focused consulting agency Futures Intelligence Group, tells The Current. Hackl says that being part of the metaverse will become brands’ calling cards similar to how social media profiles and websites work today.

But how will Metaverse change the advertising world?

Brands will have new opportunities to be present during engaging moments while users are engaged in the virtual world thanks to Metaverse. It will be a more immersive form of digital advertising; image going outside and seeing billboards, inside malls seeing digital advertising screens, in-mall booths, people wearing branded clothes, and firms sponsoring activities! So essentially what you are actually going to see in the virtual world.

This is already happening in gaming, where brands may be found in real-time within gaming environments. The advertisements are more realistic and immersed into the gaming environment.  This means the likes of billboard ads and branded apparel appear in-game just like they would in real life. CPMs range from $6 to $12 across platforms and can be purchased programmatically or dynamically via Roblox. To add to this, a Bidstack study revealed that “95% of gamers felt that ads enhanced gameplay realism”.

Companies will be able to partner with existing virtual worlds to hold events within them, such as Gucci in Roblox and Coca-Cola in Decentraland, in addition to what has already been mentioned. Fortnite also often adds new regions to the map in collaboration with brands such as Disney (for Star Wars) and Marvel (for Captain America, Nexus War and Deadpool). Some companies, such as Wendy’s, have advertised by creating a “Food Fight” mission that requires all players to enter the restaurant while playing Fortnite.

This doesn’t stop here; you can also create fully immersive, 3D virtual venues, universes, locations, and places from the bottom up. Designing virtual venues, worlds, and spaces to hold events and experiences is one of the most immediate opportunities for businesses in the metaverse right now. It’s a similar creative possibility to the early branded websites.

I’m sure you’re picturing how immersive this universe will look and feel right now – and it’s only getting better. E-commerce will also change, and as you may know, some brands have already created their digital stores, thanks to Covid, and I believe this will now progress to the next level; some brands will be able to sell virtual products in the virtual world – I may have a virtual meeting at Starbucks, so I will go grab a virtual coffee and sit there – that’s how I imagine it. You’ll go to Zara and buy a virtual dress/suit for an event, God knows, especially now with the booming NFT market.

As appealing as this seems, these prospects are not without risk, from tracking to brand safety to, most crucially, ROI. It can be expensive and time-consuming to build entire universes. Marketers are taking a pause because they can’t track return on ad expenditure as clearly as they can with other digital platforms.

This, in my opinion, is the best time for brands to grow because they are presented with more opportunities. Social media’s early days were not without flaws. Right? You can’t expect everything about the new medium to be great. Companies should be prepared to participate in this new virtual environment, even if it is odd. Being where the customer is is critical for any company’s growth.

What comes next will undoubtedly be unique and exciting! More information and news about how Metaverse will impact our daily lives and revolutionize the digital and marketing world will be released. However, it will certainly generate several opportunities for us to capitalize. Always be on the lookout!