By Olivia Soto
What do you envision when you think about the future? With current events being dominated by conversations about NFTs and virtual reality, it is hard not to imagine a world led by new technologies. These developments have left advertisers eager to capitalize on the next generation of big tech. Facebook’s recent corporate name change to Meta is a key example of the desire for companies to stake their claim in this new frontier.
Meta has generated buzz around what many people refer to as the next iteration of the internet — the metaverse. As our lives become more intertwined with the digital realm, the metaverse presents new opportunities for brands to bring advertising to life and create more immersive experiences for consumers.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is often referred to as a merger between the physical and virtual world — essentially a three-dimensional version of the internet. Tools such as VR headsets will allow users to access and interact in these different “worlds” via digital avatars. According to Mark Zuckerberg in Meta’s founder's letter, “The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place.”
While this sounds like something straight out of your favorite sci-fi film (or maybe an episode of Black Mirror), the metaverse becoming reality isn’t too far in the future. In fact, current world-building games such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnight can be considered precursors to it because they already allow users to interact with each other and exist in the digital sphere.
What prospects does the metaverse hold for advertisers?
With this new avenue of immersive technology, the possibilities for advertisers are seemingly endless. Similar to how both the creation of the internet and social media provided companies with innovative ways to market themselves, the advancement of the metaverse will likely have the same effect.
The metaverse gives companies the chance to experiment with fresh, out-of-the-box campaigns that will engage their target audiences. An instance of a company benefiting from creating digital interactive experiences was seen this past October with Chipotle's "Boorito" promotion (an annual event in which the company rewards costume-wearing customers with perks such as free food). While in the past this event was always held in-person at Chipotle’s restaurants, this year customers were able to receive free burritos through dressing up in “virtual costumes” on Roblox.
“Our hope is that within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Zuckerberg told Facebook users in Meta’s founder’s letter. As the metaverse continues to develop, it is necessary, if not inevitable for brands to use this opportunity to give themselves a unique edge and interact with new generations of consumers through imaginative marketing campaigns.