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What is the Metaverse: Separating the Truth from Misconceptions

Blog / May 25, 2022

What is the Metaverse: Separating the Truth from Misconceptions

David Ledstrup
Chief Strategy Officer

There is a lot of buzz around the metaverse. Marketing and communication professionals speculate what it might look like and how to participate in it as a business. Some even wonder if the metaverse trend will pass. Many of the images of the metaverse look eerily like they were taken from a scene in the Matrix, which just adds further confusion to the mix.

How can consumers and businesses sort the truth about the metaverse from conspiracy theories and misinformation from self-proclaimed experts?

Explore four misconceptions surrounding what the metaverse is and isn’t, then discover ways you should use the metaverse to help market and expand your business.

Misconception 1: The Metaverse is a Virtual Escape

Books and movies like “Ready Player One” paint an unrealistic picture of what the metaverse could be. In those concepts, it’s a virtual universe where people can live and perform daily tasks entirely separate from the real world, almost like an immersive game of The Sims.

This idea can also lead some to see the metaverse as a comprehensive gaming service because of its connection to Fortnite and other role-playing games with virtual reality (VR) capabilities. However, while gaming is currently a huge part of the metaverse in its current stage, it isn’t the primary purpose of the metaverse.

Truth: The Metaverse is a Connected World

A metaverse is primarily a place for connecting and performing business, not just a place for people to live their fantasies through a 3D VR experience. Therefore, most of the experiences and opportunities in the metaverse are built on blockchain and cryptocurrency. Even games users play offer virtual currency where you can purchase land, accessories, and entertainment for your avatar.

One example of the metaverse economy is brands like Gucci selling virtual items that users can only use on the metaverse. Other brands like Nike use the metaverse alongside their physical brand to give shoppers a more immersive experience in their stores and online.

Misconception 2: There are Multiple Metaverses

Meta has a metaverse, but so does Microsoft. So, which one has THE metaverse? With so many companies jumping into this trend, the metaverse-inspired consumers are confused about whether there is one or several metaverses.

Truth: There is Only One Metaverse with Multiple Platforms

Despite terminology like “metaverses” that imply there are several, it’s singular in the same way the internet is singular. The metaverse is a term for a 3D digital dimension you can access through VR or augmented reality (AR).

What companies are developing are their own spaces within the metaverse. These are like mini-metaverses within the umbrella metaverse. Because the metaverse is still in development, these islands aren’t yet connected and remain isolated platforms.

In the future, Microsoft, Meta, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and all the other metaverse platforms will be interconnected, allowing users to switch between them. Though this technology is still in development, no one knows quite how that will look or how easy a user can move between platforms.

Misconception 3: The Metaverse is Separate from Reality

The movie “WALL-E” shows a futuristic world where everyone spends their life in front of a screen. They use the screen to socialize, order food, and perform daily tasks without ever looking up at the physical world or interacting with real objects.

That film is a very bleak outlook on the potential outcome of relying too heavily on technology. The metaverse’s immersive platform leads some to believe it’s the first step in that direction of disconnecting society from reality.

Truth: The Metaverse is an Extension of Reality

The metaverse isn’t a replacement for reality. While there will always be those that misuse technology, it’s not designed to be an escape but rather an extension of reality to help you interact with your surroundings in a more meaningful and informed way and travel further to see new places and meet new people.

For instance, the metaverse could bring the digital world into the real world when you go shopping. You could scan items with your phone and look up information about products and videos on how to use the product. The technology for this type of interaction is already available. It just hasn’t been connected to the virtual metaverse to unify this experience with your other online activities.

Misconception 4: The Metaverse is Already Here

People are already entering digital worlds using AR and VR through platforms that have a version of the metaverse. For example, Decentraland is an immersive world where users can buy land, create art, participate in activities, and live a virtual second life. Does this mean the metaverse is here?

Truth: The Metaverse is Still in Development

When Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his plans for Meta and his development of Facebook’s metaverse, he stated that it would take 10 to 15 years to fully arrive. He already poured over $10 billion into its development but said he doesn’t expect to see profit in the future.

What people see and use is a dim reflection of what the metaverse will be. It’s far more than a gaming platform or immersive second life. While that full vision hasn’t arrived, many of the necessary technologies it will use are here, like VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR).

Brands can use these technologies in their business to offer a metaverse-like experience in preparation for the arrival of a unified digital world in the future.

What Should You Use the Metaverse For?

With the common misconceptions out of the way, you’re starting to understand what the metaverse will be and what it already is. These truths will help you also know how the metaverse should be used now and in the future.

Here are five ways you can use the metaverse as part of your social media marketing today.

1. Expanding Your Businesses

The metaverse is attracting quite a large amount of interest from businesses and consumers. While the exact form of the metaverse is yet to be discovered, you can count on there being a large consumer base ready to use it. Where there are many users, there will also be more opportunities for your business to expand.

Your business can explore ways of expanding into the available metaverse platforms to position itself as an innovative business that understands and accepts the latest technology. For instance, you can sell virtual products on current platforms, use influencers already using the metaverse, and host virtual events to gain brand awareness.

2. Marketing Your Brand to Consumers

Marketers should always be looking to invest in the future because they don’t want to be lagging behind when the future arrives. Your essential marketing demographic of Millennials and Gen Zs are also the demographic that will be the first to adopt the technology for accessing the metaverse. If you want to keep them interested in your brand, you must shift your marketing strategies to include those same technologies in your current marketing channels.

The top marketing channels of 2022  include:

Additionally, 69% of consumers prefer video over other forms of marketing content because it creates a more immersive environment. In what ways can you use VR, AR, and more connected social interactions in your marketing strategies?

3. Connecting to Influencers

Influencer marketing will be so foundational to brands in the metaverse that it deserves its own point. It has already become one of the most effective marketing strategies, with companies spending nearly $15 billion yearly on influencer marketing, almost double what it was in 2019.

There are already over 50 virtual influencers whose avatars wear certain brands and promote products as they move about the metaverse. In addition, some brands will create a virtual influencer that exists only in the digital world. However, others are still looking for real influencers to promote their brand in the virtual realm.

No matter which direction your business goes, having a metaverse influencer will be vital in gaining visibility for your brand in the metaverse.

4. Networking with Other Businesses

The metaverse will offer new opportunities for expanding your business network. Many businesses will make connections at physical events and conferences. However, the people attending are limited by space and location.

Borders are removed when you attend or host virtual events in the metaverse. You will have a chance to meet new entrepreneurs and professionals from around the world who can offer valuable insights, collaborations, and connections.

5. Building Your Own Metaverse Platform

If you have the available resources, consider contributing to the metaverse. You don’t need billions of dollars to build an entire world like Meta or Decentraland. Your platform just needs to connect pieces of your business, like social media, website, products, and customer service, as one seamless experience.

There are several ways to use the technology associated with the metaverse, including:

  • Showcasing products through AR
  • Training employees through VR simulation
  • Allowing consumers to virtually test and use products

Prepare for the Future of Marketing

While the metaverse is the future, it’s not replacing current marketing. Instead, it’s building upon the strategies you already have. One of the best ways to prepare for the future is by investing in the present.

Are you maximizing your social media and influencer marketing channels?

Contact us to upgrade your social media marketing strategies and prepare them for the future of marketing.