Meta (formerly Facebook) is committing its efforts toward the metaverse. As official Facebook Partners, JAY was invited to take part in a unique, partners-only webinar series to learn more about the metaverse and how businesses can channel their marketing efforts to take advantage of the ever-evolving landscape. As a gift to our readers, we are sharing these webinars with you! Be sure to continue visiting our news section for insights and links to the next two webinars.
The webinar is broken into a three-part series.
First off, props to Facebook / Meta / however you want to refer to them as, for setting up this webinar series. Our entire industry is (or at least should be) interested in the metaverse.
What the heck is the metaverse and why should I care?
This question has been asked in boardrooms around the world for the past year or so. In fact, searches for the metaverse increased 700% over the past 15 months.
The metaverse is a digital space where consumers actively participate in interactive, immersive experiences. These experiences can range anywhere from shopping, gaming, product demos, interactive consultations, and so much more. Facebook accurately described it as “a version of the internet that will seamlessly integrate into our everyday lives.”
A common misconception about the metaverse is that it’s a way for digital nerds to escape their actual lives. That couldn’t be more wrong. Instead, businesses should look at the metaverse and augmented reality as a way to enhance consumers’ lives, not escape it.
The metaverse future hinges on a few factors according to Facebook:
- Presence: the ability to be “there” with someone
- Persistence: creating a continuity where metaverse experiences become more and more normal
- Interoperability: making it easy for users of all demographics to connect effortlessly through multiple devices.
One of my friends lives in North Carolina. One day last week, I played basketball with him. We also did some shopping, gambled a little bit, played trivia, and even rode around on scooters. No, I didn’t fly out to see him either. We did all those activities from the comfort of our respective living rooms.
Through NBA 2K and its open source “world.” The game allows you to build an avatar – either by using preset defaults or by doing an AI facial recognition scan to automatically build your character. From there, you can earn VC (virtual credits) by playing the game and completing tasks and challenges. Or (THIS IS WHERE MARKETERS SHOULD PAY ATTENTION) users can purchase VC with actual, real-life money.
I scoffed at this idea at first. Why would I spend my real hard-earned money on a video game character? Until I saw my buddy’s avatar decked out in the latest swag from Nike and Jordan. My generic NBA 2K gear was no longer going to cut it…
NBA 2K is not even close to being the only video game that encompasses this “FOMO” attitude. Billions of dollars (yes, actual currency) are spent on games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, Red Dead Redemption and the list goes on and on. Consumers will spend money in these virtual worlds of entertainment.
Another great example of how businesses are already using augmented reality can be found in the home decor industry.
Thinking about ordering a dresser? Of course, you measured out the space and have the exact dimensions you need. You find the perfect model, order it, and voila, it’s at your house in a few days. You lug it upstairs, put it together, and… you hate the way it looks.
Now you must go through the painful return process (which starts with you taking it apart and hopefully not dropping it down the steps) and praying your card is refunded in a timely manner. This all could’ve been avoided by using augmented reality. Simply take a picture of your space, select the product, and get a precise view of how it will appear.
While this may lead to fewer orders, it gives consumers peace of mind regarding their purchases – which is something all companies should aim for. It also will decrease the number of returns which will help supply chains across the world. When supply chains are more efficient, prices historically favor consumers.
Shoppers want more immersive experiences. 66% of online shoppers want to virtually try or demo products before purchasing. 700 million consumers use augmented and virtual reality platforms every month!
The metaverse – Facebook believes – will be able to provide those experiences. Live shopping with easy checkout processes like facial recognition. “In-person” consultations and demonstrations. The metaverse will take scenarios that were considered impossible before the internet (then deemed “digital-only” with the internet) and turn them into real-life experiences that benefit both consumers and businesses.
Those examples show that different platforms are already utilizing technology that will be key in the metaverse. Consumers clearly care and are yearning for more. As always, consumers have been quicker to adopt than businesses, which leaves a void and an opportunity for businesses.
The key is to find how your business can fill the void consumers are looking for in your industry. The second part of Facebook’s webinar series will focus on Augmented Reality and how it’s so much more than comical face filters. Enjoy the exclusive video from Facebook and be on the lookout for our next recap where we’ll share part 2 of the webinar series!