Predictions 2022: Brands and the metaverse

predictions 2022 - METAVERSE

The metaverse was a fairly unknown term until Facebook went and changed its name to Meta earlier this year – now the whole world is trying to figure out the metaverse.

If you’re scratching your over what this new, scary and as yet unquantified new world order will look like, you’re not alone. 

As our real world, sadly, lunges from crisis to crisis, the promise of all things meta, has already kicked off, with millions being spent in the land grab for space in cyberspace.

Brands, marketers, agencies and media alike, will head into 2022 knowing there’s a sharp learning curve ahead with the metaverse and how they will make it work to their benefit, so here’s what our experts have to say on possibly the biggest buzzword since the ‘internet’ emerged back in the 1990s…

Aaron Goldman, CMO, MediaoceanAaron Goldman, CMO, Mediaocean

“With specific details of the metaverse still scarce, brands are trying to understand what advertising potential it holds, with giants like McDonalds, John Lewis and Ralph Lauren all recently attempting to embrace the virtual space.

“Since Mark Zuckerberg announced the renaming of Facebook to Meta it’s become clear that they will play a large role within the metaverse; no surprise since the company already owns Oculus VR, pioneers of the technology that is likely to proliferate with virtual environments.

“This could in turn speed up the development of other VR and AR technologies to enable customers to experience brands and ads in new formats.

“Marketers should start thinking about these new channels and the technology that beneath the surface to plan for omnichannel strategies going forward.

“Ultimately, marketers need to ensure flexibility across their campaigns and dynamic creative will be key in effectively targeting consumers with highly-relevant messaging across multiple touch-points in the metaverse and today’s media landscape.”

michael hudson ceo gamebakeMichael Hudson, Co-founder and CEO, GameBake

“One of the most interesting things happening in social media is how urgently major platforms are getting into gaming, creating what I call ‘instant gaming’ offers. 

“The biggest threat to social platforms and even players such as Netflix isn’t each other, it’s gamified social platforms such as Roblox. 

“Facebook, predictably, is the market leader with over 400 million people playing games on its platform. What you might not know is that 30 million people already play games on Snap, and 2021 behemoth TikTok has recently launched an exclusive mobile game with Zynga, following the lead of its Chinese counterpart, Douyin. 

“Facebook’s Meta moves will only accelerate social media’s convergence with gaming and the rush to build virtual experiences for their users. 

“I expect to see Facebook use the brand equity of its Oculus virtual reality gear and other platforms like Snap to develop their Bitmoji avatars to further gamify their offering and boost user retention.”

Lloyd Davies, Managing Director UK, Making ScienceLloyd Davies, Managing Director UK, Making Science

“The creation of the metaverse has further accelerated the importance of social commerce, with countless options for retailers to meet customers in the merging world of augmented reality and virtual reality.

“To fully explore this new territory, marketers must first focus on their social commerce strategies. 

“As the pandemic has shown us, shop floor-only sales are a thing of the past; social commerce is already taking giant steps forward to connect brands with consumers, as direct sales channels open across established platforms such as TikTok Shopify, Instagram Drops and the recently announced Youtube Shopping. 

“Marketers should be prepared with unique and flexible social commerce strategies, backed by data, and with informed content strategies to match. 

“To keep pace with rapidly moving environments, A/B testing should be incorporated within these strategies to keep creative engaging and develop a seamless customer journey.”

Alex McGibbon, VP Client Solutions, EMEA, XaxisAlex McGibbon, VP Client Solutions, EMEA, Xaxis

“In the digital world consumers are increasingly spread across channels, platforms, and devices for their information and entertainment needs, which makes omni-channel strategies vital to reaching audiences wherever they might be.

“The effectiveness of these campaigns is good news for marketers looking towards that new channel-of-channels, “the metaverse”. 

“While what we’ve seen so far may seem more meh-verse than meta, expect the metaverse(s) to start to shift to be a new realm to connect with consumers. 

“This adds extra complexity to our omni-channel offerings, which already require a lot of leg work, so we should look towards AI to be the leading force behind efficiently joining up data and execution to achieve the outcomes that marketers want.”

Nadia Ozeri, Director of Buy-Side, Total Media SolutionsNadia Ozeri, Director of Buy-Side, Total Media Solutions

“The pandemic provided a huge boost to the mobile gaming industry, with a significant increase in the number of gaming apps installed in 2020 and a subsequent boost to the popularity of the medium that has powered its popularity through 2021. 

“Crucially, many of these new mobile gamers are women, who now make up half of the total number – around one billion people. 

“Marketers need to move past the perception that gaming is a hobby for young men if they want to make the most of a fast growing gaming audience in their 2022 media plans and connect with this valuable demographic.”

“Audiences respond positively to imaginative and interactive digital experiences, which  makes augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) exciting technologies for marketers to tap into. 

“We have already seen brands such as IKEA successfully use AR to help customers design their own space, and its application in other verticals holds high potential: from virtual real estate tours, to getting a ‘feel’ for that hotel you might book for your holiday, or trying out how lipstick colours and clothes look before you buy. 

“And while the metaverse is still very much in its nascent stages, there will increasingly be tools available that give marketers the power to connect with consumers in these digital spaces. 

“As a result, we should expect to see AR and VR play a larger role in marketing strategies in 2022.”

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