On November 18, 2021, Nike stepped into the metaverse by launching a virtual venue, Nikeland, inside the popular gaming platform Roblox. Nike’s worldwide headquarters had inspired the venue, and it would provide its visitors with a toolkit allowing them to transfer their offline movements to online gameplay, design their own mini-games, and outfit their avatars with Nike products after exploring them in the showroom.
Since the launch, more than 6 million people from 224 countries have visited Nikeland, enabling the company to expand its digital reach through deep and engaging customer connections.
Many forward-thinking brands besides Nike would benefit from gamified and immersive experiences taking place in the metaverse. Why?
#1 Rapid market growth
The global metaverse market size was USD 61 billion in 2021. According to an Acumen Research and Consulting report, the market is expected to reach USD 1,803 billion by 2030, with an annual growth rate of over 45.8%. Bloomberg estimates the metaverse market will reach USD 800 billion by 2024. Other experts predict that metaverse ETF assets will be worth USD 80 billion by 2024.
True, the metaverse is mostly conceptual, and we are still learning the ropes. However, gaming platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, the Sandbox, and Decentraland are at the forefront, and they pave the way with interactive experiences and live events. Their collaborations with brands already demonstrate concrete examples of metaverse marketing.
#2 Opportunity for immersive marketing
The metaverse is a virtual world that is interactive, real-time, and immersive. As a brand, you can offer fun and exciting experiences to your potential customers. This helps build long-term and strong bonds with your audience. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Luxury fashion brand Gucci held a two-week art installation in Roblox to reach young customers. To this end, Gucci created a virtual garden inspired by its offline ads. Metaverse visitors were able to explore the exhibition through their mannequins.
Another fashion giant Ralph Lauren also teamed up with Roblox. During the Winter Escape experience, participants were able to skate, customize hot chocolate and also try on digital products from Ralph Lauren’s Polo Sport line.
Other types of live cultural events are common as well. One of the most well-known examples is Travis Scott’s concert that took place on the gaming platform and metaverse Fortnite. The concert drew a total of 27.7 million people.
#3 Gen Z dominates the metaverse
Metaverse marketing is vital for brands if they want to connect with young generations. Gen Z spends twice as much time in metaverse social activities than they do in the real world.
In addition, they report that they want to build their own careers and make money in the metaverse. 57% of Gen Z say they can express themselves more openly in games. For 77% of Gen Z gamers, relieving stress and anxiety is the top motivation for participating in gaming.
In other words, they have a much stronger connection to the metaverse than the previous generations.
#4 Influencer marketing shifts toward the metaverse
The fact that young generations form the majority of the metaverse makes it also an ideal space for influencer marketing. Because they are the most active users of social media, and they’ve shown a favorable response to influencer marketing.
Things are also promising from the perspective of influencers. A report by IZEA, an influencer marketing data provider, discovered that 70% of influencers believe metaverse will eventually replace social media. 56% say they currently participate in metaverse activities, and 72% say they intend to make money in the metaverse.
Perhaps the most influential celebrity when it comes to metaverse participation is the world-known rapper Snoop Dogg. He engages deeply with metaverse projects and has his own place in the Sandbox virtual world, which is known as Snoopverse.
#5 Effective display ads
Metaverse marketing is an excellent alternative to outdoor advertising. Many brands are already displaying their ads inside the metaverse games and events.
It’s especially common to sponsor live esports events with large audiences by placing ads on billboards.
Contrary to outdoor billboards, you can monitor ads performance in real-time. In this way, you can continuously improve your campaigns.
#6 Integration with blockchain opens new possibilities
While some metaverses like Roblox and Fortnite run on Web2, others like the Sandbox and Decentraland operate on web3 by leveraging blockchain technology. Blockchain metaverses are open-sourced platforms owned and governed by their users. They’re decentralized; no central authority decides how the metaverse works.
In these virtual worlds, everything from in-game assets, avatars, and skins to virtual pieces of land are available as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). An NFT ensures the ownership of the underlying asset. As a brand, you can sell your virtual products as NFTs. You can also purchase or rent your own metaverse land NFT to build a showroom or shop in virtual worlds.
A recent event that highlighted how brands could engage in a blockchain metaverse was the fashion week that took place in Decentraland. The British department store Selfridges kicked off the event by showcasing its products in the form of NFTs. Italian fashion designer Giuseppe Zanotti released a limited edition of 1,000 NFTs from his sneaker collection. Visitors could purchase them to dress up their avatars. During the fashion week, luxury brand Dolce and Gabbana displayed its summer collection, also in a series of NFTs.
Join the first movers and begin engaging with your audience in the metaverse.
Think creatively to generate AR and VR content that reflects your brand in the most interactive way possible. You can also consider cross-brand and influencer partnerships.
Here, the game revolves around providing unforgettable immersive customer experiences.