Your next website might be a virtual world.
Few people today remember a time when commercial content was not allowed on the internet. However, Congress passed a set of regulations that allowed companies to market their businesses on the World Wide Web. Nowadays, it’s essential for a business to have an online presence, whether it’s on Google, Yelp, or the digital Yellow Pages.
Oddly enough, there was a time when businesses questioned whether they needed a website, but history showed that having one was crucial. When social media exploded in 2005, businesses began to wonder if they needed a social media presence when they already had a website. However, almost a decade later, history has shown that every business should have a website and a social media presence.
Now, businesses should be asking themselves what social shift is on the internet and how is going to take place in the future. Also, wow they can adapt to it. The answer, surprisingly, is virtual worlds.
Brands are building up virtual worlds on both web-based and localized platforms. Some of my favorite platforms include Mona, Spatial, Muse, RecRoom, VRchat, Roblox, and Somnium Space. These virtual worlds provide a unique opportunity for businesses to interact with customers, create immersive experiences, and build brand awareness in new and exciting ways. Overall, virtual worlds are the future of online marketing, and businesses should start considering them as an essential part of their strategy.
The Modern Third Place
Ray Oldenburg, an urban sociologist, coined the term “third space” to describe a place where people can gather outside of the home and work to exchange ideas, socialize, and share information. In the past, this space was often found in town squares or public libraries. However, with the rise of television, families became more isolated and spent less time in public spaces.
Nowadays, the third space has evolved into online forums on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Discord, where people from all over the world can connect and engage. As we move closer to the Metaverse, more and more companies are exploring the potential of virtual worlds to facilitate online communities and further develop the third space. Just as websites and social media have become essential for businesses to thrive in the digital age, virtual worlds will become increasingly important for fostering connections and relationships in the future.
Virtual worlds are advertising gold mines
Businesses have many reasons to adopt virtual spaces as an addition to websites and traditional social media. Memory retention in a virtual world is up to 30% higher than in real-life advertising due to the evolution of our ancestors’ GPS cells. These cells, which are located in the hippocampus and convert short-term memory into long-term, were developed to help us find our way home. However, they activate more frequently and randomly in virtual environments, resulting in higher memory retention for users. This means that businesses can reach activation with customers in fewer touchpoints, potentially saving up to 2/3rds the advertising cost. It’s a huge opportunity for advertising agencies, marketing firms, and corporations.
Another benefit of virtual worlds is token-gated content. This refers to exclusives that are hidden behind either paywalls or NFT-activated locks. This content may include behind-the-scenes footage, insider information, and other materials that users would not have access to otherwise. Token-activated programs can also be used for loyalty and reward programs, as well as exclusive airdrops to reward customers. With the introduction of cross-platform interoperability, these unlocked rewards can be taken to other virtual worlds.
Imagine if you were a large fast-food chain with a cast of well-known characters. A customer who buys a certain amount of food could unlock a limited edition avatar that they can take to other virtual worlds. This rewards customers for spending their money with you and promotes free advertising because they would be willing to wear the avatar in other places.
What to consider when you build a virtual world for your brand.
- Keep in mind who your target audience is. If your brand is for children then consult with a children's rights advertising group or the XRSI.
- Your virtual worlds aren’t limited by the same constraints physical buildings are. Be creative and unique!
- Just because everyone is building a certain kind of space doesn’t mean you have to. There are too many web3 projects that when they build a virtual world for their community, they often only build art galleries or small clubhouses.
- Prepare your space to handle outside assets like NFTS, avatars, and token-related content.
As we have seen, virtual worlds have started to become the new hot spot for socializing and networking on the internet. The potential benefits for businesses are too great to ignore. Not only does having a presence in virtual worlds improve brand visibility and customer engagement, but the increased memory retention of users in virtual environments can lead to higher ROI for advertising campaigns. Furthermore, token-gated content offers a new way for businesses to reward customers and increase loyalty, while also providing exclusive behind-the-scenes content and insider information.
As we inch closer to the Metaverse, it is clear that virtual worlds are the next frontier for advertisers. Just as they adopted websites and social media to facilitate online forums and the continued evolution of the third space, they will also need to adapt to the growing popularity of virtual worlds. With the ability to create engaging and immersive experiences for their customers, virtual worlds offer a unique opportunity for businesses to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
As we continue to see technological advancements and the evolution of the internet, it is certain that virtual worlds will play an increasingly important role in how businesses connect with their customers. By embracing this new technology and exploring the many possibilities it offers, businesses can position themselves to thrive in the future. The virtual world is the new frontier of brand engagement and those who don’t adapt risk being left behind.
If you need a background of how virtual worlds will become the Metaverse, here is a definition guide to answer those questions.
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