November 9, 2021
Brands Should Prepare as Metaverse Gains Traction
On Oct. 28 at its annual developers’ conference, Facebook announced the company will change its name to Meta in an effort to reflect a broader vision for the 17-year-old technology company.
Its individual brands – including Facebook, Instagram and What’s App – will continue to exist under the Meta umbrella but the parent company will take on a new identity – much like Google’s transition to Alphabet in 2015.
The new name references a future version of the internet – the metaverse – that scientists and futurists have been talking about for years, where people to interact with one another in 3D virtual worlds. For instance, imagine people represented as avatars sitting around a virtual conference table having a work meeting, or phone calls as remarkably realistic virtual in-person conversations.
Meta’s 3D world will be driven by the company’s Oculus virtual reality glasses, accompanied by custom avatars and meticulously designed 3D online experiences. Interestingly, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a point of noting that the company’s work in the metaverse will be kept separate from its other brands to protect user privacy – so your interactions won’t be at risk of privacy breaches. Your metaverse persona will not be connected to your social media persona unless you want it to be.
What Does It Mean?
Meta’s focus on VR means that the somewhat nascent technology will not be going away any time soon. Instead, we should expect it to become more affordable and attainable for the masses. Currently Oculus glasses sell for $399.99 and account for roughly 75% of all extended reality devices – which include both virtual and augmented reality technology – a category projected to continue seeing double-digit growth over the next four years.
Solving the accessibility riddle may help Meta gain back younger audiences who have ignored the company’s Facebook and Instagram platforms in favor of social media outlets like TikTok and Twitch, which focus heavily on 3D gaming, entertainment and sports.
What Should Marketers Be Doing?
The metaverse is an exciting concept, though experts acknowledge we are likely years away from a functional 3D internet that people can use at scale to interact with others. But Facebook’s gambit suggests more attention and resources will be invested in realizing its potential.
Brands should be paying attention to the metaverse’s phased roll-out. Like the advent of corporate websites 25 or so years ago, the metaverse will make it possible for brands to interact with consumers in ways they can’t right now within custom brand-designed 3D experiences, which will be the websites of the future.
While the technology continues to be developed and the barriers to entry are lowered, brands should begin now thinking conceptually about their presence in this new paradigm. Imagine virtual 3D showrooms where avatars can try on clothing, try out products, and shop as if they were in a physical store.
Now is also a great time for brands to dabble in VR and AR experiences to prepare themselves for the internet of the future. Although we don’t have a true metaverse yet, these experiences will form the foundation of interaction moving forward within the 3D space.
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