If you missed part one of our metaverse blog series, fear not, there’s still plenty of time to catch up. After all this newfangled metaverse term (and entire topic) is morphing and spinning at whiplash speed. So, if you’re still scratching your head and trying to determine where you stand on all of this, this is the blog for you.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got ten minutes and a burning desire to dive in, we recommend watching this really great video—which unpacks, steams and places on padded hangers—all the things that you’ve been Googling since late October when Zuckerberg made his epic announcement. It’s produced by The Verge (3.2 million subscribers on YouTube) and features welcomed oh-I-get-it language.
Video aside, it appears we are not the only ones unsure about what to make of the metaverse and Meta brand debate. Thought leaders themselves appear to be colliding like tricked out bumper cars. With that in mind, we thought it might be fun for you to take a look at a few personas we created that show the breadth of where marketers seem to stand on adopting the metaverse and Facebook’s pivot.
As a marketer — and yes, non-marketing people are welcome to weigh in also—are you gung-ho or somewhat of a skeptic? Does one of these four descriptions align with your thinking? Which one are you? Take a look and then let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Who you are:You were among the Beta Testers for the Blackberry or the iPhone or both, depending on your age. Always on the prowl for fast companies, you have a desktop shortcut to themetaversejobs.com. You bought cryptocurrency stocks before the term was minted. You leaked the news about Christie’s Auction House shattering the $100 million ceiling in NFT sales worldwide back in September of 2021. You finally accepted people who wanted to connect with you on multiple platforms just to share this video. A few days later, you shared this, then this. And then you bought a Henri Rousseu art poster to hang above your Portal which sits next to your Occulous Quest 2 256GB advanced AR system (which by the way was renamed since we last posted the first part of this series. Starting in early 2022, you’ll start to see the shift from Oculus Quest from Facebook to Meta Quest and Oculus App to Meta Quest App will follow.)
You had Google Alerts set for metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality in 1957 when Morton Heilig unleashed his multimedia device called the Sensorama. Okay, maybe not a Google Alert, but you did go to the library to read about him and while you were there you may have also picked up the 1935 science fiction thriller Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley Weinbaum. (In that short story, the main character meets a professor who invents a pair of goggles that enable him to view a movie with sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. You can read more about the history of VR here). And finally, you don’t just drink the Kool Aid; you always ask for seconds and thirds.
Bottom line? You have a ferrous appetite for all things tech and were likely born with a Fitbit around your tiny wrist.
What you think: You believe that we’re already in the metaverse and have been for quite some time. This really is the new frontier of the web where product placement and strategic, money-making collaborations abound.
Zuck’s holistic vision is likely to expand to dimensions of digital culture such as shopping and social media. Just like the internet, industry insiders are predicting the metaverse will become a necessity for all brands. So let’s unpack this notion, shall we? Where there are brands, there’s sure to be advertising, product placement strategies and influencers. But what will all of this look like in 3D?
Marketing in 2030 may look nothing like the communication touchpoint of today and hot commodities may be items that we can’t even touch or feel as evidenced back in late October when someone bought a CryptoPunk NFT (nonfungible token) for 124,457 ethereum, which converts to roughly $532 million. However, as the cryptocurrency world is still in its infancy, this transaction wasn’t exactly a cut-and-dried move.
Tech Youtuber Sara Dietchy, who has an enviable 821K subscribers, offers her insights. The 26-year-old recently landed a Zoom interview with Zuckerberg earlier this month. We like it because it’s not as scripted and overproduced as Zuckerberg’s formal announcement. In just under a half hour, Sara has Zuck breakdown his vision of Meta and how it fits into the Metaverse. Marketers take note. At 28:25, Sara presses Zuck on potential ad revenue streams within this new frontier. He dodges the question and responds that the focus is much more on building out the creative economy but our call is that there will definitely be ad opportunities in the metaverse and not just embedded in gamification.
As we mentioned, some say Facebook’s announcement is just a deceptive ploy to shift unwelcome attention away from the headline-grabbing controversies of the moment. Others contend that it’s a bold move and a much-awaited Web 3.0 stake in the global ground. A new report from the Harris Brand Platform (a syndicated brand tracker from The Harris Poll that captures the emotional attributes that consumers associate with specific brands) says brand trust among those familiar with the company actually waned after the rebrand announcement (Fast Company 10/28/21).
What you might say: “I’m the Vasco da Gama of digital. I’ve always been focused on helping my clients grow their businesses across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Quest… and now even more options abound to catapult awareness and emerge brands as the first to dabble in new 3D touchpoints. Gitty up!” According to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence, this impeding ecosystem has such promising economic potential that it is expected to reach $800 billion by the middle of this decade, and by 2030 that figure is expected to blow up to $2.5 trillion. You are a fearless and unapologetic opportunist and you clearly understand why big technology trailblazers are already talking about and acting upon the not-so-distant future.
What you do: Your eyes widen at shiny new objects and you confidently recommend exciting ways your clients can reach metaverse audiences. For example, in 2015, most of your clients’ brands launched custom Snapchat Filters and lenses. These days you may have already erected digital billboards in the metaverse. This is already happening in games like Tiki-Taka Soccer and FIFA Mobile, in which ‘billboards’ increase awareness and could very well lead to more information about the product if there’s interest. You are currently also researching product placement opportunities in the gaming world, taking a page out of Nike’s playbook…it’s just research at this point.
Where you subscribe:
- Podcasts: Welcome to the Metaverse, So Meta, The Metaverse Podcast, GM
Metaverse, Business Daily, Hello Metaverse, The Qhanu Podcast, The BNFT Podcast,
Future Tense, Marketplace Tech, Accidental Tech Podcast
- .com Newsletters: TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, Wired, Tech2, Gizmodo, Mashable,
TheVerge, DigitalTrends, TechRadar, Tecnorati, Businessinsider, Venturebeat
Your Twitter heroes include:@garyvee,@CathyHackl, @_LucasRizzotto, @celine_joshua,, @thevrara, @ShaanVP. @CharlieFink @altspace, @kentbye @Meta
On your holiday list: An annual membership to Supernatural. Moxie for the kiddos. And for your Roblox-obsessed tween? A Maingear Turbo gaming system. And for your love? Well, how about a vacation? Well…an immersive vacation. Snag a FeelReal Sensor Mask where your honey can heighten the VR experience with smells, vibration, heat, mist, wind and more.
Who you are: You’re a yellow blinking light, proceeding with caution when weighing new ideas and innovations, but you eventually get there, albeit on your own terms. You jumped on the bandwagon when iPhone 5 rolled out. You are a forward-thinking yet vigilant marketer and very much believe that print is still alive. When it comes to making strategic media suggestions for your clients, you generally advise them to take an integrated approach, a thoughtful mix of print and pixel touchpoints to reinforce messaging. You can explain the difference between Retail Media and Shopper Marketing. Your kiddos may be playing Fortnite, but you’re not forking up the bucks for in-game skins and other items by Marvel and Star Wars. You tend to read articles just like this to see what others are doing in this space.
What you think: You know that since this time last year, Google searches for “metaverse stock” have increased by 17,900%, according to research by Instagram, but you’re not exactly calling your broker just yet. You realize that not every product or service is a good fit for virtual consumption. Vans and Roblox may be a digital brand marriage made in heaven, but will consumers actually need help from our favorite animated Gecko in order to protect their virtual property and positions? That might be a bit far-fetched.
Most importantly, you remain open-minded and listen to trailblazers like Isabel Perry, Director of Technology at Byte, the darling of the burgeoning metaverse marketing technology companies, who recently said: “Metaverse is jam-packed with innovative marketing potential, (ranging) from live shopping to virtual stores, fashion shows, product launches, content production, live flagship events, enhanced social, pimping-up of Zoom calls and NFTs paving the way for real economies. The possibilities that this hybrid digital/physical world offers are near-endless. It’s time for forward-thinking brands to get involved.”
So the shared experience of walking through malls (remember them?) will be just as visually stimulating and yes, you and your friend (who resides in Sydney, Australia) can grab a smoothie at the food court after you (or rather your avatars) trash the fitting rooms at the digital H&M store. And say you bump into your cousin while in the smoothie line. She’s wearing a fly sweater. Instead of asking her where she got it, you simply click on it and it goes in your closet… that is— your avatar’s closet… or your actual closet… who knows? The point is that brands should be open to the metaverse and how it will or won’t) interrelate with the Facebook app.
Moreover, various data privacy issues are starting to bubble up too. Marcus Carter, a senior lecturer in digital cultures at the University of Sydney, voiced his concerns about data privacy in Facebook’s metaverse on Friday, saying, “Facebook’s VR push is about data, not gaming…Metaverse technologies like VR and AR are perhaps the most data-extractive digital sensors we’re likely to invite into our homes in the next decade,” Carter said. (Fortune.com 10/29/21)
What you might say: “The metaverse is actually a good decade or more away…now let’s go play some board games.”
What you do: You were one of the 184.1K who liked the tweet from the folks at Twitter on 10/28/21 that read: BIG NEWS lol jk still Twitter.” You believe knowledge is power so you follow trusted news sources for the latest on all things metaverse. You decide to give web 3.0 a whirl by collaborating with AR creators, like https://www.kineticards.com/, on your agency’s holiday card. It’s a project that will allow you to dabble in new technologies with little to no risk—a virtual surprise and delight approach that just might spur calls from passive clients of yesteryear. Who wouldn’t smile upon receiving a card like this? You continually research partner companies with creative metaverse offerings so that you stay abreast of the latest work by creators and developers in 3D.
Where you subscribe:
- Podcasts: Marketing School – Digital Marketing and Online Marketing Tips, The Digital Marketing Podcast, CopybloggerFM
- .com Newsletters: Digiday, VentureBeat, Cnet, NyTimes, wsj.com, geekwire, Axios, ScienceDaily, TechRadar
Your Twitter heroes include: @Hubspot, @CMIContent, @SproutSocial, @BuzzSumo @adhawk, @ahrefs, @ThisisSethsBlog, @LarryKim, @randfish, @annhandley, @avinashkaushik, @Web3foundation, @neilpatel
On your holiday list: Cardboard VR Glasses at Walmart ($10.99). Roka Ultra, Amazon Echo (latest model), Lumecube 18” Ring Light, an Osmo bundle for the kiddos. Oh, and Upshot Smart Bow & Arrow Gaming System.
Who you are: You like to play it safe.When it comes to spending your clients’digital media budgets, you want to make sure that you’re investing in the right vehicles at the right time for the right audience at the right price. Right now, it’s looking like the Wild Wild West and the only ROI in sight is Ronald, the orthopedic intern.
What you think: Facebook is after everyone’s data with their push forward into the metaverse. You’re concerned about privacy issues, how data will be used to push greedy agendas and how advertisers will begin to exploit access to buying habits of the unsuspecting sect by trying to sell goods and services to kids. You’re also worried about scams in the metaverse, and would be more comfortable taking a wait-and-see stance before I recommend that my clients begin to throw dollars behind new ways to expand their digital reach. It’s not about being among the first to play in this space. It’s about being smart about playing in this space and being aware of etiquette and the arrow on your moral compass. Brands could (and will) go south by being too eager to own bragging rights.
What you might say: Facebook isn’t the only architect of the metaverse. Last month, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella talked about a vision that was just as compelling as Facebook’s offerings. Particularly, Mesh for Microsoft Teams seems really thoughtful and well executed and will likely go head to head with Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out and which brands are embraced by marketers and business leaders.
What you do: Go on a quest for knowledge, case studies, thought-leaders, creative pioneers, and conferences like Digital Summit, Social Media Marketing World, and more. You do the research. You plant brain pegs in your mind and try to understand what the metaverse is and what it’s not. It’s obvious that Facebook wants us to be curious, laying down phrases like “The Dimension of Imagination” which kicked off the Meta video launch and traditional TV spot for mass consumption. Which begs the question…Isn’t the dimension of imagination different for everyone? No doubt that this is a time to herald creators and developers as they’ll be laying the tracks for the train to spaces yet to be constructed. Zuckerberg, in an effort to tout transparency, mentioned that this metaverse will need to be built by everyone, not just Facebook. Which means that this dream-like world where the ID, Ego and Superego party in a blurred framework of what’s right and what’s wrong—well, the collective experience should be pretty interesting, diverse and yes, imaginative.
Where you subscribe:
- Podcasts: Behind the Numbers by eMarketer, Social Media Marketing by Social Media Examiner, Marketing Over Coffee, HBR’s IdeaCast by Harvard Business Review, Copyblogger FM, Tech Talker’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Navigate the Digital World
- .com newsletters and blogs: MatthewBall.vc (The Metaverse Primer series) wix, hubspot, Adweek, Neil Patel, Orbit Media Studios Blog, Content Marketing Institute
Your Twitter heroes include: @FrancesHaugen, @wolfejosh, @ShaanVP, @mvs_org
On your holiday list: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, A subscription to Consumer Reports, a weighted blanket, an essential oil diffuser and oils, Pet Insurance
The Negative Nancy
Who you are: Well, let’s just say your home, your phone and your TV and your kitchen appliances…they’re not smart. And neither is your car. But that may be because you’re all about the digital detox. You are a “no phones at the dining room table or any table for that matter” kind of person. You’re not connected even in the analog sense. Your eyes are not blinded by dollar signs from this alleged gold rush period.
What you think: Facebook’s announcement was a PR damage control stunt.Blockchain is a type of trendy necklace. NFT is an acronym meaning Not For Tourists. You were also an early skeptic of the web, even before Facebook’s arrival.
What you might say: “Hey, did anyone catch late-nite hosts Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon talking about Facebook’s name change? Anyone can see that Facebook changed its name to distract the media from talking about The Facebook Papers, Russian Interference in our Election bru ha ha, fake news, whistle blowers and critics who say enough irreversible damage to the psyches of young teenage girls. I am thinking of taking my profile down altogether.”
What you do: You make memes of Zuckerberg that go viral faster than Kim and Kanye’s North West clad in a Gucci crop top.You’re currently reading “Resisting the Virtual Life” by James Brook and Iain Boal, a 1995 anthology that challenges technological innovation.
Where you subscribe:
- Podcasts: It’s Complicated, Darknet Diaries, Crime Junkie, Mark Maron’s WTF, Smartless
- .com newsletters/blogs pcgammer, The Atlantic,Electronic Frontier Foundation
Your Twitter heroes include: @JackDorsey, @udiWertheimer, @Jasonaten, @johnhanke @MikeQuigley @FBHaters, @GregAFish
On your holiday list: Blank journal book and portable reading light, bean bag loungers by Fatboy, Hamama microgreen growing kit, candles by Homesick, one of these, gift cards to the BocaDetox Center, DataDome bot-driven, online fraud protection software (and yes, a bit ironic).
The Bottom Line
To be honest, we expected a bit more out of Facebook’s official video announcement and prefer this guy’s explanation of the metaverse as it relates to Facebook’s name change. Meet Kevin actually has 1.74 million YouTube followers. This video alone was viewed 238,744 times. We like the tell-it-like-it-is, uncomplicated language and references.
It’s important to keep in mind that this entire debate may not be fully normalized and digestible until millennials are AARP members. Right now, we’re all knee-deep in the aspirational phase, full of wonder and possibility. Technology hasn’t quite caught up with the creative corners of our minds. What we do know is that it’s human nature to long for a new world where everything is seemingly better. You could say that ultimate escapism is having a cultural moment.
Newzoo, the world’s most trusted and quoted source for games market insights and analytics, published an at-a-glance grid of the current, yet ever-changing metaverse. And yes, there is only one metaverse with lots of moving parts. It’s a place where the convergence of hardware and software and state-of-the art technologies blur digital and physical paradigms to the point where perhaps they are both sort of indistinguishable. Many argue that the Metaverse already exists today (just ask any 12-year-old Roblox junkie). We don’t have the vocabulary to talk about the future of the magnitude of the metaverse just yet.
Tiffany Rolfe, Global Chief Creative Officer of ad agency R/GA, says: “…Though the metaverse doesn’t exist yet, it will provide a new universe of customers and environments to build within for entertainment companies like Disney, tapping existing intellectual property. And some of these new experiences will be similar to the 30-second TV spot. It’s a story that could play out over time across different platforms, different realities, stuff could happen in the real world, and then it connects you to something that’s happening in the virtual world.” (CNBC/EVOLVE: “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse, how will the world of advertisements look?” 11/20/21.)
″…Brands must redefine their approaches to audience engagement,” said Lewis Smithingham, Media.Monks’ Director of Creative Solutions. “In the metaverse, brands need to strike a balance between being present and being authentic by providing utility and meaning for people through creativity and technological innovation. In short, brands must create experiences people actually want.” (CNBC/EVOLVE: “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse, how will the world of advertisements look?” 11/20/21.)
At Meld, we likely won’t be hiring for Chief Metaverse Officer anytime in the near future, but we’ll continue to immerse ourselves in emerging knowledge by attending conferences and by following #metaverse, #metaversemarketing, #AR, #NFT, #OVR, #cryptocurrency, #gamification and others. If and when we can transport our own holograms to another time and place, we’re going to jump into the future to see if this metaverse thing took off.