You’ve been reading about the metaverse, and you aren’t sure what to do about it yet. Is it too early? Is it already too late? What level of investment is needed? Where will you find expertise?
Historically, brands that get involved too late with emerging opportunities might find themselves on the sidelines while scrappy challenge brands leapfrog them in key areas. So one of the worst mistakes you could make right now is to assume the metaverse isn’t going to be a big thing. It’s going to be big! Trust me — really big.
It’s already here, just in its infancy. Here are a few stats to consider:
- Bloomberg experts forecast the metaverse to be worth $800 billion by 2024
- JP Morgan expects the metaverse to reach a $1 trillion opportunity
- There will be 1.74 billion mobile augmented reality (AR) users by 2024
- Players on Roblox, a well-known gaming metaverse, posted nearly 10 billion hours in playing time in Q1 2021, with players averaging 156 minutes per day
A Metaverse Preparedness Action Plan
The following is a list of eight things your brand can be doing now so that you can start aligning yourselves to the metaverse. This way, when you decide to go all in, you will be able to jump at the opportunity rather than having to stop and ramp up.
My recommendation is to get this plan done this year. We might hit the next phase of the metaverse sooner than you think! According to a new article by CNBC, “Some experts say it may only take one or two killer apps for the metaverse to boost VR use from a mere 5% of teens to a big market.”
1. Build your expertise.
Start reading more and sharing articles. Divide and conquer with your team. Assign team members to brief the entire group on specific topics.
You should definitely have someone start poking around in Roblox and Decentraland. Buy some MetaQuest or other immersive headsets and give them a budget to buy apps and attend meta-events. Then have those team members present their experiences to the broader group.
There are so many new reports and webinars. Start a Slack channel or whatever internal system you use to track these things. Even a shared Google Doc is appropriate.
2. Keep a gallery of interesting initiatives
Brands are already doing some pretty exciting things. You can learn from these early successes and failures to already have some good ideas when the time comes.
Here are a few to get you started:
3. Start a team
Even if it’s just one person dedicated to staying on top of the metaverse, let them keep you abreast of the evolution in this space, especially what other brands are doing, even if they’re not in your category.
The rules of the metaverse aren’t written yet. These things will begin to play out over the next few years. If you need to send your team to an emerging conference, it might be worth the investment right now.
When evaluating new hires, agencies and partners, find out their POV of the metaverse. Those who are thinking ahead might be vital additions to your metaverse programs.
4. Build your POV
Learn more about your customer base and map out their potential evolution in the metaverse. Will they be the first to adopt? What are their current attitudes toward it? There will likely be a spike in interest at some point, and you want to make sure you’re already at the table by then.
What is the trigger to get your brand to go? What needs to happen for you to put real budget and effort into the metaverse? Is it a certain number of AR users? What’s your “go moment,” and how will you track it?
5. Track competitors.
As part of your action plan, tracking what competitors are trying in the metaverse might be one of your most important steps. After all, no one wants to get beaten to the punch. Sure, if one of your smaller competitors gets out there first, that’s expected. But with each industry category having a handful of leaders, you want to be the first of that group to make a metaverse splash.
You should already be following your competitors’ activities closely, but now is the time to start if you aren’t. It’s imperative to start looking out for first steps such as partner announcements and initial metaverse activity as they may be signs of significant investments to follow.
Remember, it will take time to launch a true metaverse initiative, so you want as much lead time as possible.
6. Test and learn.
Set a metaverse experimental budget and start trying things. Ask your various partners and vendors what metaverse marketing and advertising options they offer. Even if you’re not ready to invest today, you can still get a sense of what’s available and how much they will cost.
If there are some starting points offered to you — take them. Then, even if you fail, you may fail forward and build some expertise that you can use for future initiatives.
7. Craft your data plan.
When marketers don’t have years of refined experience targeting audiences and campaign performance to guide them, they must ensure that they can at least get their first-party data into the metaverse.
Data utilization is already one of today’s biggest challenges. How to collect, transport and use it will most likely have its own set of rules in the metaverse. Having a solid data practice could take months or even years to build, but it’s hard to imagine it won’t be a difference-maker for marketers in the metaverse.
8. Have a measurement plan.
The metaverse will need its own set of measurement rules and best practices. There will be new metrics and KPIs. But, most likely, cookies will not be easily accessible or even available.
Today’s marketers are dealing with new data challenges from changes in consumer behavior, government regulation and tech company policies. Incrementality enables marketers to evaluate experimentation with emerging innovations like the metaverse and understand the incremental value it brings to your total marketing program.
Josh Dreller is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Skai, an intelligent marketing platform. Dreller has worked in digital marketing since 2003 with roles across brands, agencies and tech vendors. He has deep expertise in SEM/biddable advertising, web analytics and media measurement. As a media technologist, Dreller tracks emerging trends that impact the consumer-brand relationship and how advertisers apply technology to maximize the effect of digital media on business goals.