Game on: should brands pay attention to advertising in the metaverse?

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With developments across artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and enhanced connectivity, technological growth is showing no signs of slowing down

Tammy Bainbridge, executive in research, insight and consulting at Savanta, looks into how brands can optimize in the metaverse.

Consumers and brands are witnessing innovations that they never thought they would. One of which is the metaverse, a network of virtual worlds that is capturing the attention of the media.

So, after a year of events, collaborations, rebrandings, and speculations regarding the metaverse, it’s safe to say we’ve all heard of it. But do we really know what it means?

Who knows what the metaverse means?

Data from our consumer tracker shows that one in two consumers aware of the metaverse but only one in five (21%) really understand what it means. This rises to three in ten (32%) among 18–34-year-olds.

Males are significantly more likely to be aware of and have knowledge about the metaverse than females (29% vs 14%), perhaps due the popularity of the topic in the male-dominated gaming world.

Gucci Gardens

With the whirlwind marketing storm the metaverse has created, we've seen collaborations that we never thought we would, with a range of brands trying their hand.

Back in May 2021 we saw Gucci, one of the world’s largest Luxury fashion houses, collaborate with Roblox to create ‘Gucci Gardens’. But was the unlikely campaign a success? We’ve taken a look at BrandVue data to understand how the campaign performed.

Around the week of the launch, Gucci saw positive buzz hit 25%, a nine-point increase compared with surrounding weekly averages. This figure almost doubles when we look at Gen Z alone, with positive buzz reaching 46% at the time of the campaign launch, illustrating clear signs of cut through among this audience.

Balenciaga x Fortnite

Another luxury fashion house, Balenciaga, dipped their toes into the metaverse in September 2021 . The brand teamed up with video game giant Fortnite to release a collection of designer skins, allowing players to dress their characters with a variety of Balanciaga items.

At the time of the campaign launch, Balenciaga saw positive buzz rise six points to 21% compared with surrounding weekly averages. The collaboration also helped to improve the brand’s image, particularly among Gen Z, with the percentage of those classifying Balenciaga as an ‘exciting’ brand jumping from a monthly average of 14% to 30% during the week of the event.

Lessons for entering the metaverse

It’s not just luxury fashion houses that are preparing for a gaming world take over. 2021 saw a host of online concerts held by leading gaming brands, from Post Malone and Pokemon to Travis Scott and Fortnite.

While we have seen many success stories of brands entering the metaverse, there are a number of factors that must be considered before doing so:

This is a predominately Gen Z-orientated market. It can also be heavily male-dominated, with significantly more males than females stating that they are aware of the metaverse; six in ten males report that they game regularly in their free time.Gen Z have very different behaviors and habits to other generations. Ethics have come to play a critical role in their decision-making, with 47% stating that they prefer to buy products from companies they know to be ethical. They're also quick to dismiss brands, with 37% stating that they have boycotted a brand in the past. Does your brand fit this audience?While a lot of brands are trying the metaverse out through gaming platforms that further enhance the Gen Z skew, there are talks emerging around consumers being able to purchase metaverse properties and virtual real estate that could help engage older generations.

Though this may be an emerging market full of potential with many opportunities for brands, it’s a tricky landscape to navigate.

Savanta’s Media team are experts in brand partnerships and leveraging insight to highlight the best opportunities for brands. To speak to one of the team, please get in touch here.