What is the metaverse?

Moving to the metaverse

Although the word ‘metaverse’ has been floating around in science fiction novels for decades, internet searches for the term increased by 7200% last year when Meta – formerly Facebook - CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he was building a metaverse that would become ‘the next internet’. But what is the metaverse, and how will it influence how we market in the future?

 

What is the metaverse?

On a base level, the metaverse is a virtual space that an individual can create and invite others to join. The spaces can be designed for a host of activities – to play, to learn, to shop or to create, alongside other uses. At its core, the metaverse will assist people in connecting with each other, growing communities, and easily developing businesses, so it’s no surprise that many organisations are jumping on the chance to plunge in to the metaverse deep end.

However, the exact definition of what the metaverse is, or could become, has not yet been agreed on. For example, some experts predict that the metaverse will be a new digital economy, where users can create, buy, and sell goods. Other companies refer to the metaverse as a virtual reality with persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist when you’re not playing, alongside an augmented reality. It is clear that the tech world has different predictions and expectations of what the metaverse will be, with no way to confirm who will be correct in their theories. 

The metaverse is predicted to become an $800 billion market by 2024, and companies around the world are willing to immerse themselves in the relatively unknown, with Meta leading the way. Mark Zuckerberg believes we will all work in a virtual reality environment eventually and is encouraging more businesses to embrace the metaverse, with endless opportunities presented by metaverse technology. It is predicted that over 34 million homes will own VR headsets by 2024, making the possibility of metaverse immersion even more likely, whilst experts believe that 1.7 billion mobile users will be regularly using augmented reality. Clearly the metaverse is an area of rapid development and future predictions play into its favour as 21st century tech users gear up to learn more. 


Metaverse in the future of digital marketing

The impact of the metaverse on digital marketing is as yet unknown. However, there are already visible opportunities. It’s clear that embracing the metaverse will target a younger audience, such as Gen Z as these generations are already avid users of existing metaverses in online and VR games.

Digital marketers who use the metaverse will be able to reach out to customers in unique and creative ways as the metaverse exists and operates in real-time, enabling digital marketers to reach their target market at the right time. This is important for the industry as 63% of digital marketing leaders struggle to offer personalised experiences – Web3, the third iteration of the internet, will assist marketing leaders to understand consumer demand and preferences. The information gathered from Web3’s analytics will be used by businesses for targeted advertising and delivering relevant content – all of which is an advantage of being part of the metaverse. 

Web3 is a term used for the newest version of the internet being created, with an intent to give power back to the users in the form of ownership. The core ideas of Web3 are that it is decentralized, permissionless, uses cryptocurrency for spending and offers data that lives on the blockchain.

I personally believe that digital marketing will soon function exclusively in the metaverse. Although it is in the future, how companies adapt their marketing from traditional digital marketing and physical advertising, such as banners, will be critical to their future success. 

But when exactly will it hit? It is hard to say – certainly the next few years. Some elements of the metaverse, particularly those involving Web3, are already in use right now. One example of this is Siri, the interactive Apple feature where a consumer will ask for specifics and Siri, a digital programme, will produce what you are looking for. Due to these existing elements, it is suggested that the transition in to the metaverse, and from Web2 to Web3, will occur quite quickly. 

 

Limitations of the metaverse

Whilst the metaverse and Web3 is yet to fully arrive, digital marketing strategies are being changed to encompass these platforms when they become available, which brings with it some complications. One example of this is that third-party cookies will soon be removed from existing web browsers, making it difficult to track behaviours and target audiences, acting as a push towards metaverse and Web3 despite it not being available yet. It is not just business leaders that may be alienated by the integration of the metaverse either – due to the technological requirements, like VR lenses and top-tier computers, accessibility of the metaverse may be limited for many audiences. The current internet, Web2, is mostly accessible worldwide whereas the metaverse and Web3 seems to have an aura of luxury surrounding it due to the cost implications for many users. Due to the lack of accessibility, brands will need to take care when transferring their marketing strategies over to the metaverse as there is a risk of alienating existing customers
There are also many digital security risks to be considered in the move to the metaverse as new technologies always bring the need for updated security measures involving data privacy and protection. Due to the advanced nature of the metaverse and Web3, personal verification may involve the need for more data from users and companies needing to be aware of their privacy risks. 

As the metaverse will be such a unique and creative space, there will be pressure on marketers to create distinctive content, with an emphasis on quantity too. One blog per week won’t cut it for the metaverse as customers will be attracted by short and blunt content that appears to them repeatedly, showing that a business’s output needs to be high when the metaverse arrives. 

 

Recruitment and the metaverse

There are no two ways about it; metaverse is the future, especially on our way out of a pandemic that shifted most things online. The metaverse is a new world that everyone will be welcome to. In the recruitment world, there are no specific skills required in candidates currently, which is a huge advantage for today’s applicants as they begin to develop and upskill. Candidates who immerse themselves in metaverse tech will have the upper hand moving forward. We are in an evolving market, with new skills learnt this year potentially being redundant next year. This is reflected in the metaverse as candidates who do not immerse themselves into the metaverse/Web3 and learn how to take advantage of it from a marketing perspective, will be left behind. 

How do you think the metaverse will change business? Get in touch with me at gary.wale@lorienglobal.com to share your thoughts. For more Lorien insights, click here or click here to learn more about our digital market service offering and apply for jobs.
 
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