Whether or not you are a tech aficionado, chances are you’ve heard of the metaverse, with it being touted as the ‘future of the internet’. Although in its early stages, businesses across the globe are pumping in resources to truly explore and prepare themselves to leverage its transformative possibilities. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse. For marketers, this could be the golden ticket to usher in innovative ways to engage with customers.
What do marketers have to offer in the metaverse?
Some notions of the metaverse envision not only immersive digital platforms where visitors can interact, shop, and play, but also interoperability between those virtual worlds, where consumers can move their avatars from one metaverse platform to another. It offers opportunities to create marketing strategies that increase conversion and experiment with campaigns that are not feasible in the real world. Simply put, the metaverse does not pause or end. It will always be active, continue indefinitely and exist in real time, along with being a self-contained and fully functioning digital universe that allows users to generate content, invest and sell.
Some brands have already made their presence felt on the metaverse. Nike launched virtual sneakers on the metaverse that can be bought as NFTs. Chipotle has its presence in the metaverse with its new Burrito Builder. Despite the advantages of metaverse for digital marketing, there are challenges that can’ be overlooked—intellectual property ownership, security, privacy and safety—all of which need to be built into it from day one.
What’s holding marketers back?
Big tech companies have made significant investment in research and skill development to build metaverse platforms. While VR immerses a user into virtual world, AR layers virtual objects onto the physical world. The layering requires motion-capture capabilities of VR and computing power for machine vision, and finally AI capabilities to process real world imagery in real-time. It will take several critical technological breakthroughs before we reach the next generation metaverse. This is essential to creating realistic and high-fidelity avatars and virtual spaces that provide a seamless experience connecting people in the virtual world. Brands should have realistic expectations and be cautious while making investments in the metaverse, as mass adoption is likely to take time.
The metaverse we know today has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. Many new technologies are yet to emerge to empower the metaverse which will aid the development of a range of prolific use cases, enhance real-life functionalities and bring extreme opportunities for enterprises, marketers and users.
The author is SVP, Product Engineering, Epsilon India