Metaverse recently became a very potent buzzword for Facebook marketing services providers and tech journos around the world. Right after Mark Zuckerberg announced the change of Facebook´s parent company´s name to Meta, most of us were left hanging with a question: what does that mean for marketers and businesses that depend on Facebook?
Nevertheless, the announcement was received with mixed levels of enthusiasm (yet, enthusiasm nonetheless), and has helped spark a renewed interest in the future of social media and other marketing channels.
Everybody knows that Facebook is no longer just a social media platform, but a digital marketing channel. The company has tried to reshape this perception a few times with some algorithmic tweaks that seem to propel up organic posts and de-boost attempts of product placement. However, their efforts only exacerbated the need for Facebook marketing services that focused on PPC strategies. In other words, the social media platform no longer hides its true colors and openly tells marketers that the best way to raise brand awareness is by giving them a share of your marketing budget. Curiously, marketers actually feel more comfortable when adopting a more straightforward approach to the business aspects of social media as they have more objective ways to measure their success. But that’s neither here nor there.
The point is that Zuckerberg’s recent actions and revelations have put marketers on edge once again.
What will this new direction mean for Facebook marketing services providers?
It is hard not to make some parallels with Zuckerberg´s hard pivot into mobile channels more than ten years ago. Remember, this was a time when even Google engineers would insist that touch screens would never replace physical keys, and many were skeptical about mobile devices being able to replace desktop computers as the main access to social media and eCommerce. However, this push ended up placing the company way ahead of the curve, expanding Facebook’s market share many times over. It also allowed brands and merchants to broaden their audience pool and seamlessly add more sales channels with the use of Instagram and Whatsapp. A total win-win situation for everyone involved, if you ask me.
Now, this recent clubhauling maneuver signals the company’s determination to capitalize on technology as it becomes available, even before it is universally adopted. The pandemic made it clear that audiences are more than willing to change the way they usually do things and has unleashed the immense creative potential of massive communities who completely recreate their lives online within rooms and virtual environments where they meet, communicate, share experiences, play, work and, of course, shop.
The Current State Of The Metaverse
Users have embraced these virtual worlds that are “beyond” reality or “metaverses”, and are now actively contributing to their development. They do it in many ways: as world builders, by helping the community grow by participating and creating welcoming environments, or simply by financing them directly via in-game transactions.
It is said that gamers today spend more than $85 billion on virtual goods every year. These range from virtual pets, in-game items, accessories, cosmetics, and even virtual land.
Blockchain technology has made it possible to create virtual objects that have real intrinsic value and can be traded outside these digital worlds. For example, there are many initiatives right now in the gaming world that depart from the premise that the demand for virtual assets might become a big driver for the economy in the future.
Play-To-Earn games and worlds are exploring the use of non-fungible tokens or NFTs as a way of storing value into in-game or in-world items that could be traded outside said worlds. One example is Decentraland, a 3D virtual universe or metaverse that allows you to buy virtual estate that uses blockchain technology to ensure property rights and scarcity. The virtual universe will let users develop their land and produce in-game currency based on the Ethereum blockchain that can be employed to buy assets or more land. Virtual owners can attract users, and monetize resources, making world-building an attractive future career for those intent on pursuing virtual careers. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding this new economy. However this year a digital real estate investment fund bought a patch of virtual estate for almost $1 million, making it evident that there is real interest in developing virtual worlds.
The same way Zuckerberg was able to foresee, and push for, an almost universal adoption of smart devices before anyone else, we might be witnessing yet another epiphany, or at least an undisguised effort to change the direction of human preferences and attitudes towards new technologies.
Facebook predicted, or even accelerated, the adoption of mobile technology around the world, and they seem hellbent on repeating the same feat today. This time they place their bets on the metaverse, augmented reality, and VR.
Mark Zuckerberg admitted that most people today are not interested in acquiring expensive virtual reality gear for shopping. A disheartening 9% of consumers showed real interest in the adoption of virtual reality, and most of them were in the 18-34 years old bracket. However, these young audiences who are familiar with virtual worlds will become homeowners and breadwinners in the not-so-distant future. Facebook, along with many big names such as Microsoft, NVidia, and Epic Games are aware of this. Current trends indicate that this young audience will lead the shift in preferences and fuel the metaverse revolution within the next decade, and will make Facebook marketing services more prevalent than ever.
How Can Brands And Businesses Prepare?
Today, every brand knows that if they can´t be found online, they might as well not exist. We are also witnessing a huge shift towards omnichannel strategies that allow brands to approach audiences as they browse their social media feed or interact with friends online. However, these interactions are still limited to 2D experiences where users still have to interact with brands through screens and keyboards.
The metaverse finally blurs the boundaries between the online-offline world, providing brands with opportunities to let users directly interact with their products, try them on, and express their brand preferences in virtual environments and communities full of potential audiences. Those who embrace the metaverse will have an incredible advantage over businesses that choose to remain bound to the limited capabilities of their websites.
There are already many brands building virtual showrooms that cater to the social media giant’s ever-growing network of virtual communities. If you or your business want to be kept in the loop, or learn more about upcoming Facebook marketing services and how to prepare your brand for the metaverse revolution, contact our expert marketers at Genius eCommerce®.