2021 was the year the metaverse became one of the most Googled and talked about terms. Giants like Roblox, Nike, Gucci, BMW, and even Wendy’s are now pouring millions into this ‘successor to the internet’. Countries and states too have since joined the frenzy. For instance, Indonesia just announced its own metaverse initiative called ‘metaNesia’, while Dubai announced an investment of over $4 billion into the metaverse, targeting the creation of over 40,000 jobs.
While big names are exploring possibilities in the metaverse, the concept is still very vague and intangible for the layperson. Most people seem to have an intuitive feel for the metaverse, but few think of it as something they see themselves using in the near future.
Major reasons contributing to this include high barriers to entry and a complex usability layer. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine something that doesn’t properly exist yet – akin to the difficulty of imagining smartphone experiences before the existence of smartphones.
As leading tech companies in this space inject millions to make the usability layer simpler and easier, the adoption of the metaverse will only increase. This means that a host of new monetization opportunities for creators, brands, businesses, and individuals from various walks of life will open up.
So what will such monetization opportunities look like? Below are a few examples.
BTS has fans in practically every country in the world. However, their tour venues for 2022 include only about 34 cities. That’s pretty unfair to a diehard fan sitting in say, Iceland.
Virtual concerts are one way musicians can monetize and at the same time cater to 10x more fans, without the overhead and costs of real-world concerts.
A virtual concert is not the same as watching a video of a concert. A virtual concert is much more immersive, especially when experienced via the right device – a VR headset. The feeling of being in the experience is unshakeable; it’s highly emotionally impactful. It enables you to form social connections with the audience around you. And on the performance side, the possibilities are endless, ranging from underwater venues to those in space, to making it look like the musician is giving an exclusive performance just for you!
Virtual stores in the Metaverse
A McKinsey & Company’s report estimates that the metaverse will generate an impact of $2 to $2.6 trillion by 2030. Note that this forecast is for the e-commerce sector. Whether you’re a small-time creator on Etsy or a large clothing brand, the benefits of a metaverse presence are undeniable.
Many online shoppers are hesitant to buy some items based on just photos of them. For example, the shoe might look great in the photo, but will it really fit? Or will that shirt fit you just like it fits the model? The metaverse takes ‘try before you buy’ to the next level. How? Via being able to see a 3D rendition of the product, to trying it on in an immersive way, to being able to examine most attributes of it like you would in a real shop. All of this leads to an increase in the conversion rate of online shopping.
Moreover, with the rising trend of virtual avatars, brands can launch a virtual version of their products for the avatars to wear in the Metaverse. Roblox, Fortnite and Meta are already filled with virtual products for avatars and the trend is catching fire.
Perhaps the most interesting and lucrative opportunity in the metaverse awaits app developers. The metaverse will revolutionize the office workspace, events, shopping, dating and so many areas of our life. It’ll be interesting to see what the equivalent of Zoom, Tinder, and Amazon will be in this new world.
Imagine starting your workday in a virtual meeting room in the metaverse, after which you stop at Walmart’s ‘mixed-reality’ metaverse store for some groceries (with the actual physical items delivered to your doorstep). Next, you dress up in your Gucci or Armani NFT wearables for your date, whom you originally bumped into at a metaverse event. All of this, sitting as a virtual layer on top of the real world, multiplying the possibilities available to each and every one of us!
As metaverse technology advances and becomes more user-friendly, mass adoption will naturally increase. The world will see a myriad of new applications, new job opportunities and products, and many unicorn startups will emerge in this space as a result.
ASMRtists, fitness trainers, makeup artists and more
ASMR simulates real-world experiences like getting a haircut or suit fitting, to help people relax. During the pandemic, ASMR soared in popularity, as people looked for new means to deal with the added stress and isolation. ASMRtists can find a new revenue stream in immersive metaverse experiences, while their audience can enjoy close-to-reality experiences from them in an immersive setting.
Likewise, makeup artists can give 1-on-1 tutorials or trials to the millions of people who follow them on social media. As for consumers, through realistic virtual avatars, they can try out looks, makeup color shades, and accessories before actually buying the items. In other words, the Metaverse will give rise to in-person commerce, direct-to-avatar (D2A).
It’s easy to imagine that the same applies to fitness trainers, who can give 1-on-1 training to people not just in their vicinity, but from around the world. The session will be virtual, but the sweat will be real, with lots of immersion.
Meta’s move of integrating NFTs into Instagram brings influencers that much closer to launching their very own virtual goods brands. The metaverse is currently a blue ocean as far as content creation and social media presence are concerned. Catching the metaverse trend early will make all the difference.
Think of Instagram from 2011. Initially, people just used it to post and share photos with their friends. Now, Instagram is one of the biggest and most impactful marketing tools used by practically every business. In a nutshell, those who start building their influence right now will reap the biggest rewards.
Sophia Pervez is the co-founder of Superfandom, a platform that helps creators build their brands in the Metaverse through NFTs, virtual goods and virtual avatars. You can find her on Twitter.