The term Metaverse has found its way from nerds' and scifisists' coves to the tables of every knowledgeable marketer, advertiser and brander.
We should once again get excited over something new, and make immersive content, create viral social media filters, or, at the bare minimum, organise virtual events. But they just don't fit into our workflow. Even our TikTok channel that we set up last year is shouting in the silence. Our brand is not a trailblazer or a trendsetter. Plus, we're always busy.
The Metaverse buzzing might push many brands to hop on the trend train without understanding what the babble is all about. This has caused pricey and heavy productions that don't really serve anyone. More so, vice versa.
Metaverse campaigns just for the sake of Metaverse itself don't interest the target group, not to mention Metaverse tests and tech demos. They don't build on the companies' strategies, missions or visions and certainly don't bring anything more under the line.
Where did customer experience and the brand's consistency suddenly disappear?
What is the Metaverse?
No one knows yet. It won't be defined for a long time - not necessarily ever. The internet we know today has changed and evolved throughout its existence. The Metaverse is the internet's evolution's next logical step. Its content will be three-dimensional, and the user interfaces different XR solutions. Metaverse is a perfectly good, non-technical term to describe the connection between digital content and the real world.
Why should we get excited over something that is still so unfinished and we know nothing about? Because the Metaverse offers real value already today.
The Metaverse offers solutions for the biggest challenges of marketing.
Your product and brand don't interest anyone!
We live in the experience economy. Social media feeds, display banners, and video ads feed us information day in and day out - and we are extremely effective in disregarding them. One-way marketing and advertising have long been at the end of their road. Consumers' ability to focus has decreased due to this flood of information. Who of us won't jump from task to task, between social media channels and news feeds from time to time... Hey, look, a squirrel!
How to get your voice heard in the ocean of messages?
Consumers are more interested in the value products and services offer. More important than the lowest price or best quality is how the product or service fit into their personal values and everyday life. What kind of emotion does it awake, and how does the brand communicate?
Interactive and experiential brand messaging is a perfect vessel to get the message through and resonate with the target group.
When every product is, more or less, similar to the next one, the story is the only one differentiating brands from one another.
The Metaverse enables a real connection.
Immersive technologies and extended reality (XR) enable brands to differentiate and consumers to detach from all the noise. XR content harnesses its consumer as a part of the story. It enables a connection where the message is better delivered and heard.
A British augmented reality (AR) studio Zappar co-operated with the media company Mindshare in research on AR content's effect on the brain already in 2018. The study revealed that AR content is up to 70% more memorable than other content forms. AR experiences also engaged people 1.9 times better than similar, non-AR experiences.
Why settle for traditional banners and video ads that don't attract or engage?
Stronger memory mark and better engagement? Yes, please!
The Metaverse offers more time spent with the brand.
The online publisher Marketing Week released an article about effective marketing in the autumn of 2022. Writer Mark Ritson asks two questions in his article: do different ad formats have different dwell times, and does a longer dwell time affect the ad's effectiveness?
The answer to both is: yes!
For example, in the media agency Dentsu's international research, a two-second dwell time resulted in 28% memorability (the consumer remembers both the advertised product and the advertising brand). When that same ad's dwell time increased to 14 seconds, the memorability almost doubled.
What does this have to do with the Metaverse? That is, immersive content has an average dwell time of several minutes - sometimes even half an hour.
What if you spent your valuable advertising funds in a media form that enables more engaging and memorable storytelling?
Interactive content as a part of an effective marketing package - and the customer's purchasing path and life.
Oliver Lindahl wrote in his Master's thesis for Hanken School of Economics about effective marketing: "Effective marketing has to stand out, gain the consumer's attention, answer to a need, and get the consumer emotionally and cognitively invested."
As a content form, XR hits just right in each statement:
- Immersive content is still a relatively novel media form and is interesting and attractive.
- It grasps the audience's uninterrupted focus for several minutes.
- It helps in understanding abstract or complex matters.
- It is a better storytelling medium than many others.
- It engages the content consumers exceptionally effectively.
However, XR content isn't a solution to marketing challenges by itself.
The most successful XR productions are integrated into other marketing acts. Then, the immersive content serves as a strategic element in the whole that is brand messaging. Then, the content blends naturally into the workflow, from mass communications to retail to the consumer's home.
The Finnish XR house Arilyn (that's us!) arranged a Metaverse-themed webinar for international marketing, advertising and branding professionals in December 2021. 66% of the attendees felt ready for the Metaverse's coming. Even if Metaverse might be confusing to many, its potential is noticed. 97% of the attendees answered "Yes" when asked about seeing Metaverse's benefits. The most intriguing benefits for the marketers were storytelling possibilities (32%) and differentiation in the market (25%).
When will the Metaverse be here?
It is already here, and things in it can be done now.
XR technologies have matured to the point where content is more accessible. There is no need for app downloads and installations or registration to all kinds of services. The content runs through mobile and desktop device browsers - similarly to any other digital content online.
Thanks to the tech evolution, there is also no need for prolonged and pricey projects - you can begin with small steps. You can find the most suited way of doing things by trying and evolving. There are tools for DIY and services for strategic partnerships.
For example, you can start easily and quickly with Arilyn's free consultation and move forward to a co-creation workshop and explore different possibilities.
In the end, the matter is nothing more than digital marketing.
One Metaverse, please!
Arilyn launched - perhaps the world's first - online store for creative XR concepts to ease out stepping into the Metaverse.
Metaverse's benefits and possibilities are easy to understand through these concepts, and they can be used as inspiration for finding your own way of doing. The creative executions are always individually planned to support each client's unique goals.
The content in the online store is also freely available for inspiration.
Begin your journey to the Metaverse now!
Even though Metaverse's coming of age still awaits itself, marketers and advertisers have no reason to wait. No one has ever succeeded with new technologies by waiting to start when the technology is ready.
The world is never ready, but the future will come, nevertheless.