The world is changing by a million miles a minute in these current times. New technologies and platforms have come and gone over recent years. Take Snapchat, for example; its popularity soared in 2016 – but now? With the emergence of camera filters across all social media platforms – some being improved as they spread across the web – it’s definitely not as popular as it used to be. The same could be said with Google Plus, which was shut down in stages (the consumer version first, then the business version) between 2018 – 2020 due to its lack of users.
However, there’s a new way of communicating online coming fairly soon – The Metaverse. And it will undoubtedly be the next evolution of social connection.
What is the Metaverse?
To go right back to its origins, the actual word ‘Metaverse’ was initially coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 work named ‘Snow Crash’ in which characters enter a virtual universe via their avatars (digital representations of themselves). The corporation of Facebook (now renamed Meta) took that idea. It essentially ran with it – their Metaverse, according to them, will be “A set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more”.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of how the Metaverse will look and work, click the video below to watch their keynote:
When will the Metaverse be released?
Are you excited about the prospect of putting on that VR headset and jumping into the Metaverse? Well, hold your horses! Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook/Meta himself, has said the whole Metaverse with its bells and whistles wouldn’t be available for at least the next 10 – 15 years. So a lot of time to plan what you’ll do with it! However, before then, there will undoubtedly be advancements in technology – so when the time comes to release the Metaverse, the internet, hardware and software should be ready and raring to go.
How the Metaverse will change the way we work
While the world of technology is constantly changing as the years go by and new advancements are made – so is our attitude to working itself. Since the pandemic ushered in the age of lockdowns – Generation Z (which I am a part of, by the way!) have moved away from being satisfied with 9 – 5 office jobs and endless commutes to and from the workplace. That is being reflected with working from home now being favoured more than ever. More businesses are transitioning from full-time office time to work from home either full time or at least twice a week, with primarily fantastic results.
Employees can now ditch the commute times and costs, work from their safe space and in return have more of a work/life balance – allowing them to spend more precious time with family, friends and, of course, pets! There are some concerns from certain businesses, though, about time monitoring and productivity being hindered. So it’s a balancing act between the positives and negatives of working from home, and it’s essentially up to individual businesses how they approach this subject.
The Metaverse and Digital Marketing
Now, let’s get to the meat of the issue and talk about how digital marketing will be prevalent in the Metaverse. Theoretically, ad placement in the Metaverse could be absolutely everywhere – as businesses could create marketing and advertising campaigns targeted specifically to the Metaverse like we already see in large numbers across social media, emails and online.
Technically, Metaverses already exist online, and businesses tend to take advantage of these to sell their products. For example, Google Maps created an augmented reality (AR) version of their walking directions feature – offering pinpoint visual cues to make it easier for a customer to make it to their location. All they need to do now is point their phone in the direction they need, and the AR will do its job.
Another more controversial example was implemented by studio Rockstar in the video game Grand Theft Auto V – in which they uploaded clothing options to the game that were eerily similar to what some protesters in Hong Kong wore. This allowed the protesters to take their political expressions to the Metaverse, which has been increasingly popular in other online spaces from other protesters fighting other fights.
Another recent revelation is that Microsoft will soon add virtual 3D avatars and workspaces to its Microsoft Teams platform. They are allowing employers to host virtual workspaces – something which the Metaverse also hopes to do in an improved fashion. This will be powered by their new virtual collaboration tool Microsoft Mesh and will be released in the first half of 2022.
And what about NFT’s? Digital certificates of ownership can be attached to any digital file, almost always bought with cryptocurrency. No one could have known any of this would come into fruition even as recently as two years ago! This again demonstrates how fast the world is changing when it comes to the online space.
The Metaverse and Digital Marketing
So, the Metaverse is coming – not as fast as we think, but it is still coming soon. Why do we need to prepare now?
Well, let’s think back to before the internet, online shopping or social media was a thing (I was unfortunately not alive then, so I can’t relate to this bit) – did anyone think it would be as widespread and far-reaching as it is now? No! People were shocked and excited when they found that they could go on the world wide web, buy something off of eBay or Amazon and with just a few clicks, get it delivered to their house. The point is – no one knew the internet would be a thing – but it became so much more than anyone could have ever imagined.
It is becoming increasingly apparent ever since the announcement of the Metaverse that brands both large and small in scope see immense potential in the Metaverse. Brands are willing to invest in that potential both now as it’s being built and in the future when it will be completed. So let’s all look forward to it together!