The metaverse and performance marketing: in five steps to ROI

More and more companies decide to take the step to the metaverse. But is there a return to be made? With these five steps you ensure that you enter the metaverse well prepared and that you also achieve results.

The metaverse is a virtual world that is inherently infinitely scalable. And with the potential to attract and entertain the entire world’s population, it’s also an environment that many brands want to jump in quickly and some are already active in. However, many brands have no idea what they are going to do in the metaverse. given the experimental nature of the platform, this is not directly wrong. However, the question that arises here is whether there is also a place for performance marketing in the metaverse? Or is this so contrary to the fundamentals of this environment that there will never be a place for it?

The three Customer FLOW elements we use (Experience, Media and Content as described here) are just as applicable in the metaverse as they are in the real world. So it also makes sense to take a future ROI into account when planning activities in the metaverse. Brands that want to conquer a place in the metaverse would do well to act quickly but also carefully. If you want to use the metaverse for performance marketing, do not consider the metaverse as a secluded environment, but include the entire customer journey. Sarah Barker, our Global Commerce Solutions director, has developed a roadmap for brands that want a place in the metaverse but also want to achieve a commercial return. We explain those steps here.

1. Evaluate and make plans

Before brands jump headlong into the metaverse, we recommend taking stock of how they interact with their customers today. The goal is to identify their audience’s key values ​​and drivers, as well as the type of content they enjoy engaging with. For this, brands can gain insights from first party data such as their CRM, website, apps and social media accounts. This data can be combined with external data from, for example, social listening tooling† The insights from this can then be used to create a value proposition that is authentic to the brand.

We recommend that brands test at this stage with content that matches the metaverse on platforms where the brand is already active. Think of the use of Augmented Reality (AR) content on platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok. With its own AR developmenttools that offer these platforms, tests can be set up in an accessible way. Besides the fact that the use of AR can lead to better performance of these channels, it is also a good way to find out which content works and which does not work well in the virtual world. These lessons can later be taken to the metaverse.

2. Educate and direct

The metaverse can seem like a daunting environment the moment you’re less familiar with it. While games like Fortnite and Roblox can attract millions of users worldwide, web3 worlds like The Sandbox and Decentraland are still relatively unknown (web3 is a name for decentralized internet rather than a centralized internet built on servers owned by a single administrator). And despite the growing buzz around the metaverse, many potential users will be left wondering at this point what NFTs are and where to buy them. (NFTs, “Non-Fungible Tokens” are non-exchangeable dataunits stored in a blockchain. Digital assets that can be sold and traded. Types of NFTs can be associated with digital files such as photos, videos, and audio).

For this reason, it’s important to educate your own users about the metaverse and help them understand where and how to find your brand in the metaverse. To do this, develop informational content that can educate your target audience, at varying levels of familiarity with the metaverse, through social media, apps, or in retail locations. It is also crucial to take SEO into account and ensure that you can be found on the most important search terms. And beyond digital, the offline world can also be considered to create awareness for the metaverse environment.
Focus communication on platforms where conversations about the metaverse are already taking place, such as Discord, Twitch or Twitter. The commitment of paid media is crucial to generate awareness for the metaverse launch of your brand, where we advise to make the ads as interactive as possible and to connect with the metaverse content.

One possibility for this is the use of virtual influencers. These are computer-generated ambassadors who have their own account on Instagram and TikTok, for example. Brands can partner with existing virtual influencers (such as Miquela or Yoox) or create their own influencers themselves. Creating your own virtual influencer will require a larger investment, but will provide the opportunity to create ongoing and tailored content for both organic and paid media

3. Connect

Now it’s time to enter the metaverse! For brands, the metaverse provides a space for engaging with their audiences through immersive experiences. But when designing this content, it’s important to consider how your users will engage time and time again, rather than a one-off. gimmick experience. Just as a traditional website also needs to be updated in content and commerce offerings, so does the virtual world.

Some brands choose to participate in existing virtual worlds and create their own country in it. For example, Nike and Vans developed their own countries in Roblox, complete with virtual stores where products could be purchased such as outfits and skateboards for avatars. Other brands choose to set up their own world. As was done, for example, before the launch of their new collection by Balenciaga with the virtual game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow.

Collecting data also allows brands to adapt their content to maintain cultural relevance and be present in the spaces where their communities are located. Not only does this evolve their metaverse performance, but they can enhance their wider digital or in store– optimize efforts. Another option is to focus on NFTs. These can exist within existing web3 worlds such as clothing, skins or objects for your avatars. An example of this is Burberry’s collaboration with Blankos Block Party to create their Sharky B NFT with monogram.

Should the metaverse grow, this could be an interesting avenue as it allows users to move their digital assets from one web3 world to another and represent a brand anywhere. And the NFTs are often bought with crypto currency, which in turn generates a direct source of income and therefore ROI. However, there is not always a positive response from consumers to brands moving into the NFT world and this could lead to a decline in NFT adoption.

4. Convert

The metaverse is a space that is constantly evolving. While there are no doubt more features to come that can increase sales, there are already things we can think about to make users’ experiences shoppable.

First, the metaverse offers a wealth of opportunities to secure a spot for a brand. Brands can display their products in high traffic places within existing worlds. Being a good option for this in game– and esports advertising, powered by platforms like Anzu, Admix, and Bidstack. Advances in this area allow brands to now use real-time data signals to serve ads to a highly targeted group of users in ways that don’t interfere with the gameplay itself.

Brands should also give their shopping mindset activate when developing a new virtual country or virtual stores. The presentation of a flagship store with products can use well-known techniques such as: UX assessments, performance analyses, user surveys and CRO to minimize any friction in the purchase process as much as possible. For the sale of physical products, the right partners must then also be selected that fit the brand, such as e-retail sites and marketplaces.

5. Preservation

Finally, it is very important that the metaverse experiences of your customers are not one-off. Brands need to think about a long-term strategy to retain customers, increase lift time value and get greater value from the investment. In this phase, existing techniques are largely transferable to the metaverse. For example, brands can offer loyalty programs. This will incentivize users in their first digital asset purchase and add a sense of exclusivity. In this way, a ‘meta-CRM’ can be built with which brands can continue to communicate. Also consider providing benefits within the metaverse itself and ensuring that customers keep returning to your digital world. For example, Decentraland is organizing its own digital fashion week this year with fashion shows and events.

Although the metaverse is still in its infancy, performance marketers have an important role to play and existing knowledge can be applied to a large extent in the virtual world. At the moment there are already commercial opportunities for brands in the metaverse and that will only increase with the growth of this environment. It is therefore important for brands to act quickly for a place in the metaverse, but it is important to first carefully consider the metaverse customer journey and include the five steps from this article.

About the author: Niels Noorlander is Product specialist social at Reprise.

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