Futurist Phil Lawrie says marketers are obsessed with intangible promises of what the Metaverse will look like and miss out on what is currently available.
As Omnicom Media Group released a report debunking the field, the company’s futures chief Phil Lawrie told The Drum, I wanted to fix it,” he said.
After spending a year studying the market, he identified many fallacies about what the metaverse is. He puts them in three buckets.
1. Constricted: The metaverse is often associated with a single technology, usually by the company that sells that technology. This is a restrictive definition. Meta is the most obvious example, positioned as VR heaven. I don’t really know how it forms.
Rowley explains: “I’ve seen a lot of commentary that confuses and confuses the Metaverse with VR, and conflates the Metaverse with what happens to be a series of popular game titles (Roblox and Minecraft).”
2. Complexity: Some people identify with specific technologies, while others get stuck with the ideas of science fiction writer and futurist Neil Stevenson. For example, asking his competing web giants to create his interoperable Web3 might be overkill. Doesn’t that mean we can never form a metaverse?
“Some definitions go too far into the technicality of engineering. Is there?”
These technical details don’t matter to the viewer.
3. Fantastic: Another thing that makes the frenzy of metaverse thinking hard to criticize is that many explanations are “incredible, romanticized, and idealistic.”
Rowley says: “There are a lot of people in this space lyrically talking about how we’re all going to be living in a Ready Player One-style metaverse by next weekend. It’s just, utterly unhelpful. It is.”
You need some realism, he explains. Thankfully he is coming to deliver.
So what is the metaverse?
Laurie found it easier to say what it wasn’t than what it was. A true futurist, he’s not interested in predictions, he’s more interested in plotting directions than destinations. His definition was created for brands interested in the metaverse, and because it’s worth remembering that it comes from one of the world’s largest media agencies, he uses that lens to warn of his remarks.
“This is a fusion of two technologies, one is the Internet that brought the concept of connectivity or digital connectivity and network knowledge, and the second is gaming, dimensional media.”
Rowley discreetly took us to an online game. Online games are the closest thing we have to the Metaverse we envision today.but he didn’t say that teeth At the Metaverse, we’re excited about the technology that powers worlds like Fortnite, Minecraft, and more.
He points out that games introduced a Z-axis, or 3D perspective, to media, albeit through a 2D interface (screen). Those of the Nintendo 64 or PlayStation 1 generation will remember how revolutionary it was when it was introduced to gaming. OMG’s Metaverse model is preparing brands for a faster and more powerful 3D Internet. Longtime users may scoff, but Gen Z may be more accepting. That’s what is planned.
Rowley then discusses four ways brands can activate towards the metaverse even when they aren’t in it, like optional onramps whose reach decreases as complexity increases.
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1. Situation: As the future of media agencies, it’s no wonder he encourages us to start with existing media. But while it exists, brands may be unaware that they can converse with their supposed metaverse audience today. It often refers to the audience of a game, but depending on the definition, there are currently between 1 billion he and 3 billion he in the world. However, the label still bears a stigma. Even though the average British gamer is 35 years old, the genders are almost evenly distributed. More than 60 gamers a week he logs more than 20 hours. “Games are now as broad as any other medium.”
Brands don’t have to “be in” the game to win gamers. On YouTube Gaming, he had 1.13 billion hours watched, and hours watched for gaming content in the previous quarter. Twitch streaming time will reach 1 trillion minutes in 2022 and will continue to do so (As long as you don’t keep upsetting the creators). Accessible through banner ads, pre-rolls, and more through content adjacent to the game.
This is a way to start conversations with people who are likely to be the main audience of the metaverse. And brands can use existing assets to do that, he said. While the agency is “strongly assertive” about the game’s authenticity, he doesn’t think it matters too much at this stage. It’s best to actively participate and start making connections. Brands advertising around Coronation Street (the UK’s favorite soap) don’t need to make ads themed to the show. Games are no exception.
2. Include: This is the stage where things start to get closer to the Metaverse experience many touted. Many refer to this opportunity as in-game advertising or virtual outdoors.
It’s about incorporating real-world advertising, such as outdoor and radio, into existing worlds and video games. Great progress has been made in this area, allowing brands to prove the viewability of their ads in his 3D space.
Within a few years, this will be a staple of every media plan. For many, it will be a fully realized metaverse.
3. Integrate: Now this is a young opportunity, about layering the digital and the physical. Rowley is excited about the “forgotten half of the metaverse,” augmented reality (AR).
What if instead of bringing reality into the virtual world, there was real potential in bringing the virtual into the real world? Filters and experiences on social apps like Snap and TikTok, or now successfully bringing it into the mainstream. Brands struggle to see the value these can bring to their media plans, but it’s clear the potential is enormous. Rowley says: “The Metaverse technically exists in the real world. There are many opportunities that brands are already taking advantage of.”
4. Create: And this is the final layer of metaverse activation, the one most people mistakenly focus on, according to Rowley. It’s also the hardest part.
This is “the shortest route to that ‘ligretaverse’…in fact, a virtual zone of disappointment probably guided by those who overestimated their ambitions or misunderstood the size of the whole territory.” .”
He pointed out that the EU’s failed rave party cost €387,000. Collect 6 visitorscalled “digital trash” by the body.
I am here at the EU Foreign Aid Office’s ‘Gala’ concert in the €387,000 Metaverse (designed to attract non-political 18-35 year olds. See story). After an initially bewildered chat with about five people who showed up, I was left alone. https://t.co/ChIHeXasQP pic.twitter.com/kZWIVlKmhL
— Vince Chadwick (@vcadw) November 29, 2022
Building scalable experiences and games is hard. That’s something most video game companies can’t do. At this stage, it is highly unlikely that a brand can build its own platform and achieve decent KPIs. That’s why we like to piggyback on existing platforms and launch experiences, whether games or social apps.
So where will the metaverse remain?
Therefore, there must be a balance between opportunities that exist and are easily accessible with existing ad creatives, and the first-mover advantage and PR effect of being seen as an innovative space similar to what is called the Metaverse. .
When choosing where to deploy campaigns, Laurie asks clients to think about what they would do if television was invented yesterday. Clients would walk up to him and say things like, “Oh my God, you should use TV in your media plan.”
Are clients more content with building a TV studio, channel infrastructure and broadcasting it than finding the media opportunities inherent in TV? If there is, the road is likely to lead to disappointment,” says Lowry.
And that’s reflected in the user numbers of several branded experiences that have been launched in recent years.
Citing Gartner’s Hype Cycle, he states: Over time, that level will return to a productivity plateau. ”
Brands chasing nothing but hype should look elsewhere. It will take years of testing and learning as the metaverse needs to be built.
If a reader of The Drum thinks of the Metaverse as a poorly rendered virtual store, then his mission has “failed.” Few brands deliver such an experience, perhaps like Lego in partnership with Epic. But baker Greggs, for example, probably doesn’t, he says. He will mostly run a “deserted virtual mall.”
If your client is determined to go the “creation” route, you need to build the experience people actually want before you have virtual shelves.
As it stands, however, such activities “draw the center of gravity” from the easy media opportunities in gaming and, while not “winning Cannes Lions,” they focus on building relationships with digitally savvy audiences. will be And it’s the first step to being accepted in the metaverse, whatever the next version of the metaverse and the internet will be.
You can download the full report here. Let us know what you think by tagging @The Drum and Rowley on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to sign up for the Media Agency Briefing Get weekly updates on the biggest questions facing the industry.