Good ol’ Mark Zuckerberg set off a new gold rush of sorts in the world of tech, business, and finance when he announced Facebook’s new focus on building the next frontier of the Internet — the metaverse and renaming Facebook to Meta back in August of last year.
So what is this metaverse and what does it have to do with all the new hype surrounding virtual and augmented reality in 2022?
Simply put, the metaverse describes a new Internet exclusively for 3D virtual worlds.
If you’re a fan of video games or movies like Ready Player One and The Matrix (minus the part where robots take over the world) then you already have an idea of what the Metaverse is trying to become.
This concept has been with us for a while now. In fact, the term “metaverse” traces its origins back to the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash as a portmanteau of “meta” and “universe.”
Virtual worlds to hang out and work in like Gather.town and Mozilla Hubs are already here and they’re a good preview of what metaverse platforms will be like.
“It seems we have reached the tipping point of mass adoption for spatial technologies with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) becoming part of many people’s daily lives,” writes Kyle Pace in the article 2022: The Year of the Metaverse.
What makes this all exciting for 2022 and onwards is that Cheap and affordable AR and VR hardware is almost here, and it’s these technologies that will enable us to enjoy and get full access to these virtual realities.
Ok, so how will all that affect us, marketers?
Virtual and augmented reality is going to be the future of everyone’s online video experience making it the next big marketing channel to look out for.
It’s only natural that brands, creators, and marketers who are able to create and take early advantage of virtual and augmented reality content will have a big advantage in a new digital era dominated by the metaverse.
“The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build,” says Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, from the Meta Founder’s Letter, 2021.
Right now, video is the most effective content type for reaching audiences. It’s easier to consume and more convenient than a blog post or any other type of digital media at the moment, but that might not be for long.
Slowly but surely, we are going to see more VR content on Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and other major video-sharing platforms.
Augmented reality uses what you see in the real world while virtual reality takes place in a completely made-up virtual world. Watch this CNET video to get a comprehensive explanation.
Imagine brands like Nike or GoPro who already create amazing videos of athleticism, adventure, and people doing amazing stunts creating content for the metaverse.
Instead of just 2D videos, soon they’ll be making 3D virtual reality content that will put audiences right in the middle of the action — imagine how much engagement that immersive type of content will have once it becomes more widespread.
On the e-commerce side, brands will be able to use virtual and augmented reality to let customers see themselves using and interacting with products like they would in real life.
“We’re quickly moving toward online store environments that can be personalized for shoppers in real-time and that will feel even more sensorially rich and immersive than physical store environments,” says Neha Singh, founder, and CEO of Obsess, in the article Immersive Commerce Comes of Age in 2022.
“Companies are already building and hosting branded, 3D virtual worlds on their own websites and these spaces will also live on metaverse platforms in the near future,” she added.
Imagine a Louis Vuitton ad where you can simply take the luxury bags or shoes being shown to you and be able to try it out on yourself like in The Sims — but it’s you, or at least a virtual avatar of yourself online in the metaverse.
Virtual and augmented reality content will take outside real-life experiences and show them to you online in a way that feels like it’s happening to you personally. That’s the beauty of it.
These are just a couple of examples of how virtual and augmented reality will affect marketing in 2022 and it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface.
What do you think?
Do you have other ideas of how virtual reality will shape marketing in the near future? Let us know in the comments!