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Metaverse advertising examples

There are several ways to approach advertising in the Metaverse. These are;

Billboards

Early metaverse advertising will mainly comprise virtual reality billboards. Virtual billboards are ads for real-world products. They’re easy to design and insert into existing app experiences. For example, when you’re playing a racing car game like Need For Speed, you might be able to see a billboard depicting your favourite snack brand.

Product Placement

As more and more VR games are built for the metaverse, product placement is inevitable. Like real-world placements, brands can place their product as fit for audience experiences in metaverse advertising. For example, Hasbro partnered with Roblox to bring Nerf guns to life in the metaverse. Pokemon Go effectively used this strategy where sponsored locations popped up to invite footfall, using the game’s AR creatures as a lure. Moreover, branded elements could be a subtle but noticeable overlay on top of game surroundings.


Creating an avatar or virtual representation of yourself is the first step before entering the Metaverse. For example, in games like Fortnite, players need to construct a humanoid avatar which can range from a man, woman, or banana. The player can then outfit the avatar using generalised non-branded clothing or choose from sponsored clothing items.

Next is the type of in-game outfits (skins). Fortnite has offered players the ability to equip luxury clothing from Balenciaga or choose a full uniform for their favourite NFL team. These skins give each brand access to various Fortnite layers and keep the companies top of mind for however long a player chooses to equip their skins. Roblox has also partnered with Gucci to create a branded Gucci world within Roblox.

Therefore, sponsoring in-game items offers not only a way to market a brand but a potentially lucrative new revenue stream. For example, a player paid $4,115 for a limited virtual Gucci handbag in Roblox. However, the problem with product placement is that the brand confines its platform to a single game or platform. For example, users cannot bring their Roblox Gucci bag to Fortnite because there’s no interoperability between experiences.

Experiences (Events)

Native VR advertising holds the most promise for metaverse advertising. Brands can create epic experiences that create a story, allows users to interact with their product and eventually make a purchase without leaving the metaverse. For example, Travis Scott, the hip-hop superstar, partnered with Epic Games to perform a concert for Fortnite Users. The live show garnered over 12 million live viewers. Nikeland on Roblox is also a good example where it allows you to engage in gameplay and organically explore the company’s range of shoes, apparel, and accessories in VR.

New generation influencers

The importance of virtual influencers is expected to grow in the metaverse and virtual world that this generation is inhabiting. Metaverse advertising could feature a fascinating new technology called digital humans, essentially AI-powered humanoid bots in 3D. In the future, brands could design their influencers and transform how ads are pushed via influencer marketing. For example, the luxury brand, Prada, debuted a virtual influencer, Candy, to promote its fragrance collection of the same name.

Takeaways onAdvertising in the Metaverse

The metaverse isn’t here… but, it’s near. While gaming companies have leveraged aspects of this technology for years — creating metaverses of their own in the process — we are still more than a decade away from realizing a single metaverse where divisions between the real and the virtual are blurred. For advertisers, the metaverse offers opportunities to explore new and immersive ad formats that don’t just create ads but fully-branded virtual worlds. For both metaverse advertisers and publishers, this will require sophisticated and collaborative advancements in virtual reality technology, data processing and beyond.

Opportunities foradvertisers in the metaverse

For advertisers, the metaverse promises more opportunities to foster immersive, real-time interactions with customers.

Metaverse commerce

The opportunities for brands to harness this virtual world abound. Ecommerce brands could offer their products virtually to be worn by avatars. Metaverse advertisements and promotions are already a growing trend that major apparel brands are picking up on. In 2021, Nike bought virtual shoe company, RTFKT Studios, a developer that makes and sells NFTs for virtual footwear for the metaverse. Beyond just virtual products, the metaverse will also have virtual “stores” where you can not only view ads but also try on and purchase products.

Virtual reality billboards

Where the people go, the ad dollars flow. As more people frequent metaverses, so too will advertisers. In this vein, virtual billboards will become a common sight. Decentraland is a metaverse where users can exchange cryptocurrencies for parcels of virtual land. It’s gained so much popularity recently that brands have started buying billboards in its metaverse. For example, Cloud Nine, which launched a billboard metaverse advertising campaign in the Decentreland Metaverse to promote its new Limitless VPN.

Immersive ad formats

The metaverse will have its own unique ad formats, complete with full marketing attribution so advertisers can track traffic and allocate ad spend intelligently. While we can’t know exactly what these new formats will be, it’s certain they’ll be more immersive than traditional ad formats. Rather than a video that pops up on your screen when you open an app, these ads will create full-scale experiences that weave a story, allow users to interact with products, and eventually make a purchase — all, without leaving the metaverse. One early example of this is Nikeland on the metaverse gaming platform, Roblox. In Nikeland, you can engage in gameplay and shop the company’s range of shoes, apparel, and accessories, all in VR.

Advergames

In the metaverse, playable ad formats will evolve into even richer brand experiences that both entertain users and create an immersive world in a game-like format. An early example of this type of “advergame” is Balenciaga’s “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow,” a video game where users create their own avatars to walk the catwalk, experiencing Balenciaga’s fall collection in the process.

5 Metaverse Components to Know About

1. Mixed Reality

Mixed reality is the combination of AR and VR. But why does the metaverse need both these elements to exist? AR and VR have different characters that complement each other to make the metaverse possible.

VR is a virtual world, and users must use special headsets to access it. The universe is generated by computers, creating various visuals, circumstances, and environments for the user. VR relies on a fictional reality predetermined by a system. Users may also need gloves and sensors to access VR worlds. Some examples of VR include McDonalds’ Happy Goggles in Sweden and MindCraft VR.

On the other hand, AR focuses on a real-world setting, and users only need a smartphone to experience AR. AR enhances how users interact in the physical world. Unlike VR, which develops an entirely fictional world, AG allows you to immerse in the physical world while amplifying what you see. Typical examples of AG are Pokemon Go, Snapchat lenses, and the IKEA Studio App.

How VR and AR work together in the metaverse is this mixed reality enriches components of the physical world for users while enthralling them in a virtual universe. Real-life elements aren’t lost in the metaverse, thanks to AG. But users are also welcomed into a fictional reality because of VR.

2. Artificial Intellignence

As you understand how VR and AR work in the metaverse, it’s no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. The metaverse needs AI as this component covers machine learning techniques too. AI algorithms paired with machine learning allow systems to process how users interact in the metaverse and use this data to refine the user experience.

AI usually applies to non-playable characters (NPCs) in the metaverse. These are system-designed characters that users may engage with. Credited to AI, NPCs can have more life-like conversations and interactions with users based on historical data. Overall, this makes the metaverse more realistic and captivating.

3. Internet of Things

If you’ve been wondering how the metaverse receives correspondence from the physical world, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the answer. IoT is the primary reason users can access the metaverse through technology devices.

This component also collects data from the real world, feeding it into the metaverse and producing a more realistic experience. Like if the weather conditions in the physical world are cloudy and cold, IoT makes it possible for elements in the metaverse to be influenced by this.

There’s power in AI and IoT working together. From IoT data, AI can fine-tune the metaverse and develop real-time simulations and interactions.

4. 3D Construction

Because how could a 3D virtual world exist without this component? You’ve most likely seen a demonstration of 3D construction before. Think about virtual home tours real estate agents started using when Covid first hit. These tours are only one of the hundreds of applications of 3D construction.

3D construction makes the metaverse feel and seem like the physical world. Through 3D models of buildings, objectives, people, real-life locations, every aspect of the metaverse becomes possible. Once experts construct these models, computers process the data and build replicas of these models. Experts then create elements of the metaverse with these replicas.

5. Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Users need a payment method for purchasing your offerings and a way to secure ownership of digital products. Yes, this is where cryptocurrency and blockchain become relevant.

Some companies offer unique cryptocurrencies for users. The metaverse, Decentraland, is an example of this. Players can buy parameters of land as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They will use the metaverse’s cryptocurrency to do so. But how do users have the confidence in knowing they own what they buy? Blockchain technology secures ownership of what users purchase in the metaverse. The image below reveals the success of Decentraland’s cryptocurrency, MANA, over the past five years.

Final Thoughts

The metaverse will completely change how we interact with brands. The metaverse will affect industries, but the companies that can benefit the most from the metaverse are global consumer brands. Due to its nature, the immersive internet will enable prolonged engagement with brands as long as these experiences are unique, creative and social.

The above examples showcase that, with the metaverse, marketing will no longer be business as usual. Instead, it will be fun, and marketers will only be bound by their creativity and resources. The sky will be the limit. For consumers, this means that we can expect some fantastic immersive experiences in the years ahead, potentially increasing brand loyalty for those venturing into the metaverse first.

A Marketer’s Role in the Metaverse

Since the metaverse mixes reality with technology, it presents an entirely new approach to marketing.

People can literally interact with businesses in the metaverse. Instead of viewing an advertisement, a person—or, a person in their metaverse role—can interact with the advertisement.

Now let’s not jump ahead. You don’t need to create your own interactive metaverse ads for all of your customers to share a game or a virtual drink with…not yet, anyway. However, because the metaverse has these undefined constraints and opportunities for what metaverse actually is and can do, there are new metaverse advertising opportunities that haven’t even been invented yet.

So, what is your role as a marketer? Honestly, your role as a metaverse marketer is to be open to being strategically creative in your advertisements, consumer relationships, and technological investments to accommodate the up-and-coming marketing platform that is metaverse.

A Marketer’s Role in the Metaverse

Since the metaverse mixes reality with technology, it presents an entirely new approach to marketing.

People can literally interact with businesses in the metaverse. Instead of viewing an advertisement, a person—or, a person in their metaverse role—can interact with the advertisement.

Now let’s not jump ahead. You don’t need to create your own interactive metaverse ads for all of your customers to share a game or a virtual drink with…not yet, anyway. However, because the metaverse has these undefined constraints and opportunities for what metaverse actually is and can do, there are new metaverse advertising opportunities that haven’t even been invented yet.

So, what is your role as a marketer? Honestly, your role as a metaverse marketer is to be open to being strategically creative in your advertisements, consumer relationships, and technological investments to accommodate the up-and-coming marketing platform that is metaverse.

Taking Marketing to the Next Level With Metaverse Advertising

Metaverse marketing is all about expanding the possibilities. The main thing to understand about metaverse advertising is that it parallels reality.

Metaverse is not just a space in which to place advertisements as you would on a social media platform or on top of a search engine results page (SERP) with PPC advertising (pay-per-click advertising).

Heck, even social media ad stories differ from metaverse, and they involve social interaction. Instead, metaverse is a space of interaction and immersive experiences.

An important component of metaverse advertising is collaboration. You may not have the technology to transfer your marketing efforts to VR. That’s okay, because other companies do. Metaverse provides the unique opportunity to collaborate with brands and businesses you may not have thought of before. Let’s take a look at how this can work.

Metaverse Advertising Examples

Roblox is a huge player in the VR world. In fact, Roblox has its own version of a metaverse. Since Roblox is both a company and a platform, it allows other brands into its metaverse to get a taste of VR advertising.

Through its partnerships, it’s pretty clear that Roblox is preparing for a new era of metaverse and virtual reality lifestyles. Rapper Lil Nas X put on a virtual concert in Roblox. And Warner Bros. collaborated with Roblox to make a virtual setting for its film In the Heights. These virtual spaces make it possible for people to experience real-world settings and situations from the comfort of their homes.

And yes, there’s money in it. Lots of it. According to a 2021 report, Roblox brought in $454.1 million in quarterly revenue. VR advertising is becoming less about ads and more about creating user experiences.

Another example of broader metaverse advertising is the Gucci garden virtual tour, where participants can explore the Gucci Garden. Gucci also sold rare Gucci items on Roblox for the iconic fashion brand’s 100th birthday. The Gucci Roblox bags were more expensive than the real-life celebratory bags…enough said.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Coca-Cola’s NFT
  • Concerts on Animal Crossing
  • Hyundai’s Roblox mobile adventure
  • Wendy’s Twitch account advertises its “fresh, never frozen beef”—their character is now active in Fortnite’s Food Fight mode and the fast food company received recognition from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for this
  • Balenciaga’s Fortnite clothing—or “skin,” if you will

This list just skims the surface of how companies are integrating within virtual worlds. We hope this list provides some insight into how active the metaverse really is.

VR Headsets: A Medium of Metaverse Advertising

Although VR headsets are nothing new, they are becoming increasingly more popular. Metaverse participation with VR headsets will continue to gain in popularity, so creating metaverse advertising that will work on these devices will also gain in popularity.

Using VR headsets allows for a completely new experience, as well as new opportunities for advertisers to explore a metaverse full of potential, including the opportunity for 360 marketing campaigns.

Despite the growing popularity of VR headsets, accessibility can still be an issue. We will talk more about this as a challenge later in the article.

2. Parallel real-life marketing in the virtual environment

Transitioning into the metaverse doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do everything differently. A good starting point is to replicate what you offer in real life in the parallel virtual world. It’s not only a natural method to enter the metaverse but also an authentic way for users to notice your brand.

An example of this is Deliveroo’s marketing campaign on Animal Crossing. The online food delivery company deployed virtual riders in the game for multiple island-wide deliveries. Players received not only a surprise delivery on their virtual island but also a promo code that they could activate in real life. Within the first hour alone, Deliveroo’s marketing campaigngained three million in-game engagement.

Similarly, introducing your real-life cause in the metaverse can increase your brand engagement. Hellmann’s, a mayonnaise brand, brought its commitment to reducing food waste to Animal Crossing as well. The company created its own virtual island and invited players to donate their virtual spoiled turnips for a cause. This helped Hellmann’sdonate 50,000 meals to FareShare, a food waste charity.

There are also benefits and limitations in doing this metaverse marketing strategy.

Pros

  • Increased brand engagement and recognition
  • Immersive user experience
  • Reduced supply chain cost and risk

Cons

  • More time spent in planning the campaign
  • Heavy marketing effort prior to implementation

The Rise of iCommerce

Maury Rogow, CEO of Hollywood’s Rip Media Group, notes that retail will be one of the largest sectors in the metaverse. This is a realisation that is slowly coming into perspective, more so after the COVID pandemic. Covid lockdown measures and work-from-home policies pushed more people into buying goods and services online. Between 2020 and August 2021, the global e-commerce industry has grown by 25.7%. It is further predicted the sector will grow by another 16.8% bringing global eCommerce sales worldwide to $4.921 trillion before the year ends.

This growth is sufficient to increase competition, and forward-looking brands are looking for new ways to connect with their customers. In the coming years, we will see a significant increase in Direct-to-Avatar (D2A) purchases, meaning digital products are sold and used only in the digital world.

Consumers are now getting accustomed to the reality of shopping and socialising digitally through social media but also using AR filters, video games, immersive interactive and real-time content. This, together with the fact that the average human attention span is 8 seconds, has led retailers to redefine how they interact and sell their products.

This will result in an entirely new branch of online commerce, which I call iCommerce (immersive commerce). iCommerce is the activity of buying and experiencing digital products on the immersive internet, most likely in one of the many (upcoming) metaverse spaces. Just like with the start of eCommerce, those players that were first to explore this new field will stand to benefit the most. However, in the metaverse, business as usual will not get you very far. Creativity is a prerequisite to succeed in the immersive internet, and here are seven companies taking that to the next level. So, let’s dive in to see which retailers are already metaverse-natives.

Challenges presented through Metaverse Advertising

Although the metaverse is a fantastic platform for brands, it still has some challenges. Some of these are;

Data privacy & ethics

In metaverse advertising, brands can see a version of their identity in a 3D avatar form. Therefore, advertisers can target ads based on someone’s appearance in VR. As an online-enabled space, the metaverse can lead to new issues in security and privacy for individuals and brands. The main agenda for criticism of digital solutions revolves around the fact that they collect data from users. Such data can be used for intrusive online advertisements and identity theft.

Untargeted & irritating content

Because metaverse advertising is available to all brands, it could also include untargeted, irritating, and nonsensical content. For example, a VR popup is just as annoying for a user as a non-VR one.

A tsunami of content

Constant video popups, indistinguishable sponsored content, and repetitive ads are too familiar in the digital market. In metaverse marketing, they take on an even more intrusive dimension and could cause sensory overload. Moreover, social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are anticipated to make quick moves to defeat the competition in the metaverse. Therefore, for users, this means a tsunami of product placements, emojis, banners, among others.

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