metaverse marketing

Unlocking the Potential of Web 3.0: Metaverse Marketing Insights from a Gamer’s Perspective

Last updated on May 24th, 2024 at 04:55 am

The rapid development of technology has led to the emergence of Web 3.0, an internet era characterised by decentralised platforms, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and machine learning. Central to this new paradigm is the concept of the metaverse, a virtual world where users can interact with one another and digital environments in real-time. McKinsey highlights the transformative potential of the metaverse, indicating its substantial impact on both commercial and personal aspects of our lives. In 2022, investment in the metaverse reached more than $120 billion. By 2030, this figure is predicted to increase to $5 trillion.

As businesses and marketers seek to capitalise on the potential of Web 3.0, it is crucial to understand how metaverse marketing can help your business to drive engagement, increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. As an avid metaverse gamer, I’m excited to share my insights from a player’s perspective and show you how the valuable experiences and lessons I’ve gained from these games can enhance your metaverse marketing strategies.

The Current Metaverse Landscape

The metaverse landscape is currently in its early stages of development and it is not yet as frequently utilised as websites or popular social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram for marketing purposes. However, larger companies have already embraced the metaverse trend. Prominent international brands like Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Nike have already leveraged metaverse marketing to engage and connect with their customers.

Even government entities are also actively exploring the potential of these virtual reality worlds. For instance, in South Korea, the city of Seoul has unveiled an ambitious five-year initiative called the Metaverse Seoul Basic Plan, which aims to leverage the metaverse by creating virtual counterparts of key civic institutions.

In Singapore, prominent organisations such as the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), CapitaLand, OCBC and DBS banks, Sentosa, and Changi Airport have already established their presence in the metaverse, but small and medium-sized businesses have yet to tap into the potential of metaverse marketing. More recently, Mediacorp launched a Let’s Celebrate metaverse in The Sandbox to welcome 2024.

My Personal Experiences as a Metaverse Gamer

In March 2017, my metaverse journey commenced on Roblox, a platform known for its extensive library of more than 50 million games created by its passionate player community. Although I devoted a substantial amount of time to playing the games available, such as Jailbreak, Restaurant Tycoon, Zombie Attack, Azure Mines, Theme Park Tycoon 2 and Work At A Pizza Place, my interest eventually waned due to a lack of captivating activities. The quests provided within these metaverses failed to hold my attention, and at the time, the 3D graphics also did not meet my expectations. At the same time, while I have connected with numerous friends and expanded my network, the majority of them hail from different countries, and I have yet to encounter fellow Singaporeans within these virtual realms.

However, in the past two years, I have witnessed a noticeable improvement in the quality of metaverse games on Roblox. New games, whether originating locally or internationally, such as SentosaLand, Sunsilk City, Gucci Town, Vans World, and Alo Sanctuary, have undergone significant improvements and they are becoming increasingly captivating and immersive. [Update: The 3rd version of Capitaverse is here.]

A significant turning point for me was in April 2023 when I had a truly immersive experience during my participation in the second edition of CapitaVerse. This event provided not only virtual enjoyment but also real-world rewards, NFT wearables, and the chance to explore captivating experiences offered by corporate partners such as the National Gallery, Mastercard®, Somersby, and Zouk.

On April 14, 2023, another exciting development took place with the launch of ChangiVerse, a metaverse that provided an exceptional virtual representation of different areas of the renowned Changi Airport, including Airport Boulevard, Terminal 3, and Jewel. The level of realism achieved within this virtual environment was truly remarkable. There was even a section dedicated to Jurassic Park, where lifelike dinosaurs roamed. ChangiVerse featured a variety of interactive games where players could collect butterfly tokens and exchange them for exclusive collectibles such as winged wearables and virtual baggage. The overall experience was captivating and served as a testament to the metaverse’s potential to recreate real-world locations with astonishing accuracy.

Singapore’s Metaverses

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the diverse metaverses that have emerged in Singapore. Besides Roblox, these companies have also leveraged on other metaverse platforms such as Decentraland and The Sandbox. They demonstrate the growing adoption and creativity within the country’s metaverse landscape, showcasing the potential for immersive experiences, entertainment, and brand engagement in the virtual realm.

ChangiVerse, Singapore metaverse

Image: ChangiVerse

Decentraland: Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Millennium Hotels and Resorts (Merlion on Vacation) (May 2022), CapitalLand (CapitaVerse) (June 2022), UOB (SkyArtverse) (Nov 2022), OCBC (OCBCx65Chulia) (April 2023), Fidelity International (Fidelity International Campus) (April 2023)

The Sandbox: DBS (DBS BetterWorld) (Sept 2022), Mediacorp (Let’s Celebrate 2024) (Dec 2023)

Roblox: Starhub (Starhub World) (Sept 2022), Sentosa (SentosaLand) (Jan 2023), Changi Airport (ChangiVerse) (April 2023), Singapore Police Force (MATA-Verse) (June 2023)

Despite the early adoption by these larger organisations, it may take some time before they see any return on investment from their metaverse investments. Currently, engagement within the metaverse is still in its nascent stages, and education is needed to inform more Singaporeans about how to visit and interact with these metaverse platforms.

Metaverse Marketing Insights from a Gaming Enthusiast

While we may be in the early stages of consumer interaction with the metaverse, valuable learnings are already emerging from companies that have ventured into the realm of metaverse marketing. In my journey through the metaverse, I have gained valuable insights, such as the strengths and weaknesses of various platforms, and the distinct differences in the ways brands create authentic experiences in the virtual and physical worlds. This exploration has deepened my understanding of the evolving Web 3.0 landscape and the opportunities metaverse marketing presents. By leveraging these insights, businesses can optimise their strategies and navigate the metaverse with confidence, unlocking new avenues for growth and customer connection.

(1) Define Your Metaverse Marketing Objectives

Why do you want to be part of the metaverse? Decide on your objectives for embarking on Web 3.0 platforms or using metaverse marketing as a part of your marketing strategy. Do you want to generate brand awareness, promote brand loyalty or be seen as an innovative market leader in your industry?

In the short term, it may not be advisable to prioritise direct sales as your primary objective for two key reasons. Firstly, sales of virtual items are still relatively smaller compared to physical products. Secondly, the current user base of metaverse platforms such as Roblox tends to be skewed towards younger audiences, who may not have significant purchasing power at present.

1.1 Identify a Suitable Metaverse Platform for Your Brand

Identify the metaverse platforms that align best with your business objectives and offer promising opportunities. Platforms such as Roblox, Decentraland, Minecraft, Horizon Worlds, Fortnite, Spatial, The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, Illuvium and Virbela each have their unique strengths and advantages.

To make an informed decision, it is crucial for you and your team to personally immerse yourselves in each platform, gaining firsthand experience and understanding of what they offer. By doing that, you can assess their suitability for your brand and evaluate the potential benefits they provide based on your specific needs and goals, target audience and desired user experiences. Investing in the metaverse requires careful consideration, as it involves substantial resources.

1.2 State Your Game’s Objectives Clearly

At a micro level, for a smooth gamer experience in your space, it’s essential to clearly communicate the end-goals for gamers in your metaverse, such as what UGCs (user-generated content) the gamers can obtain and what obstacle courses (obbies) they need to overcome to get those UGCs. A practical method is to prominently display these details on a board or signage upon their arrival. This helps gamers understand what they can achieve and the rewards awaiting them.

Consider highlighting elements on the board such as achievements and rewards or incentives. Outline the specific achievements or milestones that gamers can strive for within your space. Emphasise the exclusive, limited edition NFTs, aura wearables, unique emotes, or real-world swag that they can earn by accomplishing these objectives.

Remember to mention any additional incentives that players can obtain, such as vouchers that can be redeemed in your online or physical shops. This will motivate gamers to explore your space and engage with the activities you have to offer.

The key is to provide a clear roadmap for gamers, ensuring that they have engaging tasks to pursue from the moment they arrive. By doing so, you eliminate the risk of them aimlessly wandering around without purpose, enhancing their overall experience and maximising their satisfaction within your metaverse.

(2) High Quality, Immersive Brand Experiences

Avid gamers are well-versed in the realm of immersive environments and experiences, having dedicated countless hours to exploring virtual worlds and engaging with digital content. In today’s metaverse landscape, simply releasing a virtual game is no longer sufficient. Consumers view brands in the metaverse as pioneers of innovation, setting high expectations for inventive experiences.

To meet these expectations, it is essential to create immersive brand encounters that resonate with your target audience. These experiences should enable users to interact with your products, services, and branded environments in fresh and imaginative ways. By pushing the boundaries of creativity, you can captivate users and establish a strong presence within the metaverse.

Consider designing captivating brand experiences that appeal to the senses, provoke curiosity, and inspire active participation. Incorporating novel features, interactive elements, and innovative functionalities will enable users to forge deeper connections with your brand and leave a lasting impression. For instance, you can use a genius mix of immersive experiences such as mini games, virtual events and stores, native advertising and integration with real-world activation to complete a user’s metaverse experience.

Remember, in the metaverse, innovation is key to standing out and engaging discerning consumers. By embracing this mindset and continuously pushing the boundaries of what is possible, you can create remarkable brand experiences that leave a lasting impact on your target audience.

This is not only restricted to B2C brands. B2B businesses can also create virtual showrooms, product demos, and interactive advertisements that captivate audiences and drive deeper connections with their brand.

2.1 Personalisation and Customisation

Gamers value the opportunity to personalise and customise their gaming experiences, allowing them to shape their virtual personas and environments according to their preferences. In the metaverse, marketers can harness this desire by crafting tailored experiences that cater to the unique needs and preferences of individual users. By harnessing the power of data and machine learning, businesses can provide targeted content, offers, and recommendations that deeply resonate with their audience.

In a popular metaverse gaming platform, for instance, users are given the ability to customise their avatars, virtual homes, and in-game items. The platform utilises advanced data analytics and machine learning algorithms to understand each player’s preferences, playstyle, and previous interactions. For instance, if a player frequently chooses a specific character class or prefers a particular gaming environment, the platform learns from these patterns.

As a result, when the player logs in, they are greeted with personalised in-game suggestions, such as customised character skins, exclusive items, or relevant in-game challenges. The marketing strategy here involves creating tailored experiences that align with individual gamers’ preferences. This not only enhances user engagement but also increases the likelihood of in-game purchases, as players are more likely to invest in items that resonate with their unique gaming style. Ultimately, by leveraging data-driven insights and machine learning, the platform creates a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience for each user.

(3) Support for Players

To cater to a wider range of players, including casual gamers and working professionals with limited time, it is essential to create different levels of difficulties in the games, such as quests that are attainable and easier to complete. This ensures that players can engage with your games and experience a sense of achievement, even if they are unable to commit to daily gameplay.

An example was my experience in metaverses like Gucci Town and Vans World, where I successfully collected a pair of Gucci shoes and a Vans Obstacle Skatepack by gathering 5 items around Vans World and 5 items from Gucci Town. Encouraged by my progress, I ventured into the next levels and diligently pursued the challenges, including grabbing treats along the way. However, despite numerous attempts to seek assistance, reaching out to fellow gamers, contacting Gucci (without receiving a response), and even seeking guidance from Roblox (the support team was very nice to offer me various suggestions), I have yet to retrieve the final treat to this day because it was really tricky to jump up to retrieve the UGC. I failed despite numerous attempts to grab it.

Image: Gucci Town

I had an interesting but quite irritating experience with Mediacorp’s Let’s Celebrate 2023 game in The Sandbox. After finishing a quest, we were supposed to visit the ‘Head of Production’ to scan a QR code and redeem our prize. However, when a group of us gathered around the ‘Head of Production’, there was no QR code. Fortunately, a kind lady, another gamer who was fortunate enough to see the QR code appeared, shared the link via email, and I was able to redeem my prize (I have yet to receive my prize, let’s see what happens!) There were no support system at all, and even though there was a link for us to report any bugs, I didn’t have much confidence that someone would respond over there.

Image: Mediacorp’s Let’s Celebrate 2024

Instances like these highlight the challenges that can arise in metaverse quests. Sometimes, despite our best efforts and seeking help from various sources, certain obbies may remain difficult to accomplish. This can be frustrating for players, and it is important for developers to address such concerns and provide support mechanisms to ensure a more fulfilling gaming experience.

Player feedback and support systems play a crucial role in resolving issues and improving quest design. By actively engaging with the community and incorporating their suggestions, developers can refine quests and address any roadblocks that hinder player progress. It is important to foster a collaborative environment where players feel heard and supported, increasing their motivation to continue engaging with the metaverse and its quests.

3.1 Creating How-To Guides

Currently, there is still a lack of widespread knowledge on how to access and navigate the metaverse. This is important for new players, especially players who are not very tech-savvy. To address this issue and promote awareness, it would be beneficial for relevant parties to develop comprehensive guides for each metaverse or game, enabling new players to easily understand and use the platforms.

These guides should provide clear instructions on the following:

1. Accessing the Metaverse: Explain the different ways users can enter the metaverse, whether it’s through specific URLs, dedicated metaverse platforms like Decentraland, The Sandbox, or popular gaming platforms like Roblox. Clarify the steps required to access these platforms to ensure a smooth onboarding process for new users.

2. Logging into Specific Spaces: Outline the specific steps users need to take to log into individual spaces within the metaverse. Whether it’s creating an account, joining a virtual world, or accessing a specific game, these guides should provide concise instructions to help users navigate and engage with the desired experiences.

3. Educational Resources: In addition to basic navigation guides, it would be valuable to provide supplementary educational resources to help users understand the metaverse concept and its potential. This could include articles, videos, or interactive tutorials that explain the metaverse, its applications, and how users can make the most of their experiences.

Although not perfect, this existing guide provided by UOB is a step in the right direction. However, it is important to continue improving resources to bridge the knowledge gap and empower users to fully explore and engage with your metaverse.

By developing comprehensive guides and educational materials, users will be better equipped to navigate the metaverse and participate in various experiences. This will ultimately contribute to the growth and accessibility of the metaverse as a whole.

(4) Engage Community Managers

To ensure a smooth quest experience, it is highly recommended to engage experienced metaverse community managers who can be stationed within the virtual space to assist users encountering any issues. These community managers play a vital role in guiding users who may be unfamiliar with metaverse navigation or require explanations regarding specific quests.

The presence of community managers becomes particularly crucial in cases where programming errors or technical glitches hinder users from redeeming rewards. I personally encountered such difficulties when participating in CapitaVerse. However, Bangwagon Labs, the developer of the game, had stationed their developers within the metaverse to provide guidance and interact with players. This enabled me and other participants to seek assistance directly from the developers whenever we had questions or encountered difficulties. As a result, I successfully obtained a Capitaverse Attendance Pass NFT (non-fungible tokens), along with an exclusive emote and aura.

By leveraging the expertise of community managers and developers, metaverse platforms can foster stronger player engagement and satisfaction. This approach demonstrates a commitment to user support and ensures that participants can fully enjoy the rewards and benefits offered by the quests.

(5) Gamification and Rewards

The gaming industry has recognised the effectiveness of gamification and rewards in fostering engagement and loyalty. Similarly, metaverse marketing can leverage these principles to craft interactive experiences that motivate users to interact with brands and accomplish desired actions.

Many metaverse platforms allow players to unleash their creativity by designing and customising their virtual avatars, environments, and objects. Many metaverse gamers are hence avid collectors of items such as limited edition wearables and NFTs, as they enjoy expressing themselves artistically and showcasing their unique style within the metaverse.

To enhance the appeal of your metaverse spaces, businesses can implement virtual scavenger hunts, quizzes, or challenges within the metaverse, offering enticing rewards such as discounts, exclusive content, or virtual goods. By incorporating elements of fun and achievement, brands can captivate users’ attention and drive active participation. As an example, Nike has embraced the metaverse by creating unique digital products in the form of NFTs, using blockchain technology to establish ownership and enhance security.

Here are some suggestions on the kind of content brands can leverage on to provide a more immersive brand experience.

1. Limited Edition Wearables and NFTs: Offering exclusive and limited edition wearables and NFTs acts as a strong incentive for players to participate in quests and explore your metaverse. These collectible items hold value and create a sense of exclusivity, motivating gamers to engage more deeply with your space.

2. Physical Prizes for Quest Participation: In addition to virtual rewards, consider incorporating opportunities for players to earn physical prizes by actively taking part in quests. These tangible incentives further enhance the overall gaming experience and offer an extra layer of excitement and gratification for players. For example, Mediacorp’s recent ‘Let’s Celebrate 2024’ metaverse venture in The Sandbox gave out e-vouchers from supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice, Golden Village, Grab, etc. and also included a chance to win a 2D1N Staycation at W Hotel in an exclusive lucky draw and all these were stated clearly on their metaverse landing page. These were quite attractive incentives for players to engage with the game.

By catering to these core desires of gamers—collecting, physical rewards, networking, and engagement—you can significantly enhance the appeal of your metaverse space.

Strive to strike a balance between providing valuable incentives and ensuring that the gameplay experience remains enjoyable, captivating, and immersive. This approach will not only attract more players but also foster long-term engagement and loyalty within your metaverse community.

(6) Platform Responsive

When developing your games for the metaverse, it’s essential to ensure they are playable across various platforms, including laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. This multi-platform compatibility is crucial because some metaverse platforms, like Roblox, offer mobile accessibility.

Consider the user experience on different devices and ensure that the game mechanics, instructions, and interface elements are optimised for each platform. Avoid using small fonts or visual elements that may hinder gameplay or make it difficult for users to navigate and understand the instructions.

By designing games that are adaptable to different screen sizes and input methods, you can provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for players, regardless of the device they are using. This flexibility will also enable a broader audience to access and engage with your games, expanding your reach and potential player base.

You should also thoroughly test your games on various devices and gather feedback from users to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement.

(7) Trademarks and Licenses

In the metaverses I’ve explored, I’ve frequently come across counterfeit versions of popular brand wearables. This highlights the importance of securing the appropriate licenses and protecting your intellectual property when selling virtual goods in the metaverse. Acquiring trademarks for your logo and slogans can effectively safeguard your brand, prevent copyright infringements, and grant you control over the usage of your intellectual property.

An exemplary case is Nike, who obtained the relevant licenses and protected their trademark and logo before entering the metaverse. This proactive approach allows them to maintain control over their brand identity and increase the value of their metaverse Nike NFTs.

Image: Fidelity International

(8) Partnerships Between Brands and Metaverses

I find cross-brand partnership games to be incredibly exciting. They offer unique collaborative experiences, such as the notable examples of Gucci Town and Vans World, where gamers can embark on different quests within both virtual arenas. The realm of Web 3.0 has witnessed numerous partnerships, including collaborations like AMD and Fortnite, Nike and Hovercraft, Ariana Grande and Fortnite, Gucci and Zepeto, Millennium Hotels and Decentraland, and Samsung and Shudu and Miquela.

If your brand intends to venture into the metaverse, consider partnering with a non-competitive brand that shares a similar target audience. This strategic collaboration can create a synergistic effect, resulting in increased brand awareness for both entities and reaching a broader audience.

(9) Plan for Risks to Your Brand

I have personally come across instances where brands launched products in their metaverse venues, only to encounter technical difficulties on the day of the launch. This led to fans struggling to enter the virtual event, resulting in disappointment and frustration. These incidents highlight the significance of ensuring smooth accessibility for users and managing their expectations to avoid any potential letdowns.

As a brand venturing into the metaverse for marketing purposes, proactive risk planning is essential to safeguard your brand. Risks within the metaverse can be significantly amplified compared to Web 2.0 media, given the real-time and immersive nature of events. Without adequate preparation, brands can find themselves vulnerable and helpless in the face of unforeseen failures.

Learning from past experiences, brands should develop detailed guidelines and protocols that can be followed consistently. By doing so, they can minimise the likelihood of reputational damage and ensure that their metaverse presence aligns with their brand values and objectives. It is important to anticipate potential challenges and risks specific to the metaverse environment and proactively address them in your planning.By doing that, brands can navigate the metaverse landscape with greater confidence, mitigate potential pitfalls, and create a positive and engaging experience for their audience.

(10) Engage Your Existing Community

From my experience, and also from recent metaverse news, most of the current metaverse activities primarily focuses on marketing to the younger generations, such as the millennials and Gen Z because these are the groups most active in the metaverses.

While it is important to build a new audience, you also should keep your existing community interested in your brand. Continue to interact with them to create content like videos or social media content. This will help you to maintain that brand trust and reputation when you launch new marketing campaigns and your existing users can also help to execute your campaign successfully.

Conclusion

While it may take time for the metaverse to be embraced on a large scale, forward-thinking brands are already reshaping the marketing landscape with varied metaverse marketing strategies and innovations. However, it’s important to note that metaverse marketing should be viewed as a complementary addition to existing marketing strategies, rather than a replacement for them and just as digital strategies for generating leads and sales are always evolving, businesses also need to continuously strive to evolve their marketing approach in order to effectively engage with consumers in the metaverse.

By leveraging insights gained from other businesses and gamers alike, business owners and marketers can craft immersive, engaging, and personalised experiences that deeply resonate with their audience, fostering strong brand loyalty. The potential of metaverse marketing is vast and eagerly awaiting exploration. Is your business ready to venture into this new virtual world and unlock the immense potential of Web 3.0, gaining a competitive edge in the process?

Get Started Here!

Interested in exploring the metaverse? Reach out to me at +65-9622-8824 or bei@beithoven.com to discover how I can assist you with testing, community management, and content creation. You can also follow my metaverse journey here, where I’ve documented the various virtual spaces I’ve explored.

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