How marketers and retailers can benefit from the move to the metaverse

Facebook Meta Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg announces Meta. Source: AP/Eric Risberg.

When chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, the internet went into meltdown mode. 

Much of the criticism over Facebook is fair and reasonable. Meta and wider the tech world have a way to go to repair the damage caused by its ethically questionable approaches — let alone its own reputation. 

But we’re here to chat about the other side of the coin. And why this presents an incredible opportunity — for marketers, creators, businesses, and of course, end users, and how to embrace this evolving world for the better. 

What it really means 

The Facebook-to-Meta transition means innovation is about to happen. What the metaverse will look and feel like is something that will always be evolving, but from initial reports we can expect, 3D virtual rooms, shared virtual experiences with loved ones across the world, concerts, virtual workrooms for collaboration, shopping, VR gaming and fitness. Essentially, the options are endless.

Where there’s change, there’s opportunity.

With growing amounts of businesses using Instagram and Facebook particularly to generate sales, it’s reassuring to know these platforms will remain as the apps we all know and love. I find comfort in knowing the Facebook ad campaigns I run for businesses won’t be heavily affected by the re-brand. 

If anything, I think this could be an interesting avenue most businesses will be able to add to their growing online presence. 

Shop ‘til you drop in the metaverse

Not only will consumers be able to enter virtual spaces, in the metaverse we’ll be able to walk through these spaces in our favourite custom clothes, now referred to as ‘digital skins’. 

But more than looking snazzy, there is a real potential for businesses to facilitate a new ‘e-commerce’ and shopping experience. 

Currently, the term ‘creator’ refers to individuals, but in the metaverse, this will be expanded to include organisations that will be able to develop digital places like stores, and ‘worlds’ — a nod to show the integration of advertising in a clever and integrated way. 

Laggy Zoom meetings are a thing of the past

As an owner of an ads agency, I’m particularly excited to have collaborative meetings through Meta’s Horizon Workrooms so we can hire and connect with the best minds across the globe, without them ever having to step into a physical office. 

Up to 16 people will be able to join the Workroom from a VR headset, and up to another 34 people can then enter through video or audio call without the need for a headset. 

This gives a whole new meaning to ‘global connection’ and recruitment — with the ability to connect with the best of the best, regardless of physical location. 

When I look into a crystal ball, this is what I see 

I’ve been touting augmented reality to be the next ‘big thing’ for the last 12 months and maybe this will be the catalyst. 

Spark AR is an incredible piece of software in the Meta family, which allows users to create AR experiences. Perhaps we will start to see businesses jump on the AR bandwagon and weave this into their advertising?

I may be thinking a million steps ahead, but I imagine the VR headset would integrate ads in between experiences. 

While digital experiences will never be the same as a long hug after missing someone or dancing to your favourite artist together, I think it’s a fun development to experience AR festivals, events and dropping some cash at digital stores! 

What now? Four steps to being metaverse ready 

So, if you’re a business owner, creator, retailer, or marketer, what do you need to do to make sure you’re an early adopter and here to embrace the benefits of the metaverse? 

It’s time to follow these four steps: 

  • Training: embrace as many training programs offered by Meta or Facebook for you and your business. There are loads of free ones available, which you can stay across via Facebook’s free online learning platform, Facebook Blueprint;
  • Investments: start investing in AR technology online and in-store training, or look to hire the right talent and work with the right experts in this space. Spark AR has some great training and information for beginners. If you are looking for inspiration on what can be achieved with AR look no further than Ikea, ASOS, and Patron Tequila;
  • Regulations: make sure your policies and procedures are set up to protect the privacy and rights of your consumers, staff, and community. This should already be a strong part of your business – but if it’s not, ensure you seek the best professional legal, and ethical advice; and
  • Stay open-minded. With any new development comes opportunity — so get ready to embrace the metaverse with passion and excitement.

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