The metaverse has become an imaginative testing ground for online gaming, social media, and virtual and augmented reality. But as an emerging and largely unexplored medium, there’s a growing opportunity for brands to jump into the metaverse, too.
With the metaverse market expected to continue skyrocketing in size and value—research predicts its value of $500 billion in 2020 will grow to $800 billion in 2024—it’s natural for creator campaigns to take advantage of virtual spaces. Creators are always willing to experiment with new channels, and the metaverse is ripe with unique moments to connect with their fans.
From high-profile concerts in the popular Fortnite and Roblox metaverses, to beauty brands launching NFT projects with makeup creators, marketers are designing campaigns to boost community engagement and sales. But activating in the metaverse is still a new concept, even for mainstream brands. Driving performance and ROI will require a strategic approach that considers the channel’s challenges and opportunities.
In 2022 and beyond, being meticulous in partnering with the right creators, keeping campaigns simple, and establishing a realistic set of KPIs early on will be key to achieving creator success in a virtual world.
Be Diligent in Finding the Right Creators for Metaverse Activations
Choosing the right creator for a metaverse campaign is a two-way street. The virtual environment where the campaign lives can dictate which creators to choose, while a creator’s experience with a specific platform can also influence the campaign hub. If a brand wants to hold a campaign in a gaming metaverse, it makes sense to partner with a gaming creator who can naturally engage with audiences and has existing fans on those platforms.
But marketers also have to consider whether a particular creator will resonate with a metaverse audience—which could differ from their target customer base across other channels.
Lipstick brand Valdé Beauty invited high-profile creators to a product launch in the Decentraland metaverse—a virtual world where users can buy and sell real estate as NFTs—complete with virtual avatars for guests, links to buy physical products and galleries of their NFT counterparts. The brand’s founder Margarita Arriagada told Glossy the event was designed to reach people that weren’t part of its typical customer demographic, and was supported by creators who are well known in the Decentraland community.
Meredith Jacobson, a creator marketing consultant and founder of community We Are Boosters, says that marketing teams need to brainstorm which creators will truly meet their expectations, rather than opting for those with a dream audience on paper.
“The most famous or well known creator could end up being the most expensive to work with or might not bring their A game,” Jacobson adds. “But if you keep an open mind and go with a person who you hadn’t heard of before—seeing that they have excitement and passion for the metaverse—they could end up becoming a great partner and a star, too.”
Keep Metaverse Campaigns Simple—With Creators at the Heart
Because the metaverse environment is fairly nascent, creating an effective creator campaign in a virtual world requires thinking about the entire user journey. Marketers want to keep that journey simple, from how the creator is involved to how audiences immerse themselves in the overall experience.
“What’s tough about metaverses is that everything from setting up a metaverse wallet to designing an avatar needs to be considered as part of one onboarding experience. If it becomes too laborious, you’re going to have user dropoff,” says Phil Ranta, CEO of Wormhole Labs, a technology company that specializes in user-generated metaverses. “There has to be a lot of hand holding when you onboard an audience. And once they’re in, it needs to be crystal clear what to do, similar to how a video game has a tutorial.”
Ensuring creators are authentically involved and easily accessible to fans throughout their metaverse journey is also key.
Fashion staples like Prada and Fenty Beauty have excelled at this, promoting new collections in the metaverse by having popular virtual creators like Lil Miquela wear their designs and interact with products; Prada has even created original avatars to showcase new products.
“The campaign should feel like an extension of the creator experience that their fans already know and love,” says Ranta.
Establish Baselines for Measuring Campaign Success
Effectively measuring creator campaign performance in the metaverse is tricky. Since the space is still so new, there won’t be many proof points for marketing teams to follow.
For brands that have a budget to experiment, it’s worthwhile to start testing out how metaverse audiences react to certain creators and experiences to see what performs well and what doesn’t—and use insights from those tests to improve future campaigns.
“The biggest KPI, at this point, should be establishing a baseline for success,” said Jacobson. “Creator marketing is so nuanced that working two different creators to promote products in the same category could result in two completely different experiences. As with any new marketing channel, learning what doesn’t work in the short term can be as valuable in the long term as learning what does. However, it’s also important to contextualize your results. If you’re starting with a small test, you don’t want to attribute outsized meaning or judge any metrics too harshly.”
As brands build out a repository of metrics and lessons over time, they’ll be able to better compare performance against other creator marketing channels. And they’ll have a better sense of what tweaks to make to future campaigns in order to hit key KPIs, whether those are sales, brand awareness or audience views.
Ranta says an overall goal for creator marketing teams moving forward should be fostering long-term relationships with metaverse audiences.
“Marketers should ask themselves: Are they building Web3 relationships with people through their campaigns? And are they making connections with people in the metaverse that will make them likely to go back into the metaverse again?,” he says. “Once you establish that, you’ll start to see positive financial implications.”
The opportunities for brands to earn new fans and grow existing brand love through immersive, creator-focused metaverse experiences are endless. Applying these tactics will help creator marketing teams build a better foundation for metaverse success in the future.