Progress is imminent in technology and marketing.
It might seem to many of you that the “Metaverse” is nothing more than a buzzword, but history has taught us differently. I was a child then, but I vividly remember the hype we had for the Internet just around the corner of the new millennia. Current events remind me so much of it.
The Internet gave us a shitton of new marketing metrics and KPIs we couldn’t imagine until then. For the first time, we “knew” what effect our efforts delivered. Then came the social media and interactive applications, the flagship technology of web 2.0 evolution. We got engagement metrics such as the number of likes, shares, comments, video views, click-through rates, etc. And even better, tracking pixels enabled us to somewhat reliably measure conversion metrics such as purchases, leads, signups, and subscriptions — what we could only estimate before.
Now, we’re on the brink of something new, virtually unknown and exciting — The Metaverse, as we call it. What, how, and why should we measure marketing efforts within it? It’s a compelling and hard-to-answer question.
But, to begin with, what the heck is the Metaverse anyways?
The Metaverse — the next step in the evolution of the Internet
The Metaverse is the Internet. I will quote here Tony Parisi, one of the industry pioneers whom I had a chance to meet earlier this year. His “The Seven Rules of the Metaverse” blog post states:
- There is only one Metaverse.
- The Metaverse is for everyone.
- Nobody controls the Metaverse.
- The Metaverse is open.
- The Metaverse is hardware-independent.
- The Metaverse is a Network.
- The Metaverse is the Internet.
I see it as the next step in the evolution of the Internet. I see it as the space of inter-connected immersive experiences run on always-on, decentralized, server-independent infrastructure.
We are not yet there, but we will be soon. We have VR/AR experiences and whole immersive worlds, a blockchain, decentralized finance, NFTs, and DAOs… acting as the scattered, critical parts of the future Metaverse. However, we still miss interconnectivity and interoperability, leading to mass adoption.
Let me repeat the earlier question: What, how, and why should we measure marketing efforts within the Metaverse (and its parts)?
It’s a frontier technology, so let’s think outside the box.
Marketing metrics of the Metaverse
Please note this is a purely theoretical point of view, and I might be wrong. However, I am probably close in my predictions of what we will have in a few years.
Immersive worlds and VR/AR Experiences
I consider a VR/AR experience to be an online game, a social-media-like world, a virtual business meeting, a movie, an augmented retail store, and so on — in short, anything immersive and built to run on VR/AR hardware. Here are some metrics that come to my mind.
Eye fixation and attention-based metrics
We could track eye movement with VR and AR devices (some already have it). Furthermore, we can measure eye fixation and define focal points within the experience. Marketing-wise it should fall along the lines of:
- Viewable impressions of our ads inside the experience — we will undoubtedly know if users notice our ads or if they skim through our sponsored in-experience placements without paying attention. Let’s call it “attention rate.”
- Ad creative focal points — we will be able to determine which ad elements drove the most attention during our campaign. That would give us valuable information to guide our creative efforts in the right direction.
Engagement metrics will evolve to physical interactions. Everything you do in virtual and augmented space can be tracked. All devices already have physical motion tracking, but we can track virtual movements further. Interaction can resemble “real world dynamics.”
- Movement tracking that can be useful marketing-wise:
- Trying it on — imagine an ad campaign for sneakers you can try on in the virtual world on your avatar, a t-shirt, this desk, or that watch, etc. Let’s call the metric “virtual trying out.”
- Passing it around — what if your digital ad can pass from hand to hand as a flyer or a business card in the real world? Heck, it can even be a random object, like a torch. This metric is the equivalent of “shares” in the Web 2 lingo.
- Virtual Gatherings — let’s count the number of user avatars gathered around your sponsored object. Did it spark further gatherings and conversations, too?
- Talking about it — the virtual “chatter rate.”
There are probably many other possible user interactions I cannot think of right now, but you got the point. The Metaverse will bring user engagement to new heights.
The creepy part: brainwave signals and “thoughts.”
Imagine if we could measure true intent rather than guess it as we do now via Google searches and similar methods that approximate user intent.
We would have a metric directly correlated with users’ brainwave signals telling us that there is a particular interest in the product we are advertising.
Or, if we could measure repulsion and the whole specter of different emotions –– that would make sense as a feedback mechanism for our campaigns.
The underlying technology of the Metaverse would probably, at some point, have a direct hardware connection to human brain activity. We already have Neuralink and other, albeit less famous projects exploring the niche — such as Neurosity.
To be honest, I don’t know if I should look forward to this technology’s possible marketing use cases.
Blockchain “part” of the Metaverse
In this theory, I will consider blockchain as the underlying layer that enables transactions of any type: data, assets, finance, etc., and inter-connects immersive experiences into the Metaverse.
Ripple effect conversion-like metrics
Each transaction stays in the blockchain ledger forever. It is heaven for conversion tracking! There is no need for attribution, no need for conversion modeling, or any sort of estimate.
We already have services claiming to be able to track most transactions on Bitcoin. Although for different use-cases like forensic accounting, it is a matter of time before we have something similar for marketing use-cases.
It will be easy to track any transaction and all interactions that lead to it. Suppose you tie it all together to a wallet ID (or an exact person with KYC). In that case, you can have a pretty accurate measurement of how your marketing efforts drove conversions not only to the target audience but also to their peers and peers.
In short, the Metaverse will enable us to measure the incremental effect of advertising without reliance on statistic tests and estimation. Everything will be just sitting there, written in the blocks of code.
Final thoughts on KYC and privacy concerns
I hope I am wrong here, but we won’t see a significant leap in Web 3 technology and the Metaverse progress if there are no “big bucks” behind it. And capital comes around only if it can generate more wealth — profits. End-users are the ones who will finance this evolution to ensure investors get their returns.
The question is, how? They will “finance” everything with their time and attention, leading to shopping decisions fueling further growth. So, similar to what we have now on social media, but on a much bigger scale.
Finally, there are two paths: total control with KYC (know your customer) protocol and complete privacy without it. Both will expose user behavior in a certain way if we look at it from the marketing perspective and metrics I’ve mentioned above, but KYC will bring the end of privacy as we know it today. Everything will be marked forever on a blockchain, unalterable, and tied to your identity.
Let’s hope for the best. Exciting times are ahead of us!
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