Meta Introduces “Third Screen” to Brand Marketers at Place 2022
Everyone is talking about the metaverse. What does this really mean and what impact will the metaverse have on local commerce over the next decade?
The topic featured prominently at the Place 2022 conference in New York last week, where Meta’s Matthew Christensen explored how companies innovate within the metaverse in a keynote.
Just 11 months after Facebook announced its next step into the metaverse and rebranded it as Meta, the company is already working closely with a number of global brands to develop multi-site approaches designed to reach consumers nationally and locally. .
While most of the Metaverse is experienced through two-dimensional apps, that may soon change.
Christensen predicts that in the coming years, more brands will build bridges from Meta’s apps to create three-dimensional virtual experiences and host social events using VR headsets in Horizon Worlds, Meta’s social platform. . Immersive experiences will bring value to consumers, even without physical proximity.
“The implications for what might happen are incredible, but it’s really five to 10 years away,” he says.
On a more immediate horizon, Christensen sees the widespread adoption of VR wearables having a major impact on how marketers reach consumers within the metaverse. VR sunglasses, like the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, are already available. However, they will likely become ubiquitous over the next five years, displaying information directly to the user’s eyes. Wearers will be able to see building details when walking around a city, or nutritional information when shopping at a grocery store.
“The dream is that if you have things like celiac disease, and things like that, your glasses will be able to identify, ‘Don’t eat this if you’re allergic to X,'” Christensen says. “So [many] implications can come from these augmented worlds.
Adopting Horizon World
The future of the Metaverse, as Meta sees it, hinges on widespread adoption of the company’s Horizon Worlds social platform. Often described as “the OG-Facebook headsets on Quest”, Horizon is an open platform world where anyone can build whatever they want.
Currently, the #1 most-visited world in Horizon Worlds is Meta Court, where people can navigate virtual courtrooms to find solutions to real-life problems they encounter. Christensen says the interest in Meta Court and similar worlds points to a larger theme within Horizon, which is that people want to feel connected to the people and communities around them. Understanding this desire could be the key brand marketers are looking for as their metaverse strategies evolve.
Bring value to customers
As a Global Marketing Solutions Client Partner at Meta, Christensen is responsible for finding innovative ways to bring the Metaverse to life for clients of multi-location brands, like fast food chain Wendy’s.
Christensen worked with Wendy’s to launch the company’s first branded VR experience on the Horizon Worlds platform, dubbed Wendyverse, earlier this year. Wendy’s sees its virtual experience as a unique marketing opportunity designed to foster deep engagement among the company’s younger customers. Wendyverse also gives Wendy’s the ability to engage with customers and other brands in ways that aren’t possible through more traditional marketing channels.
As brands invest deeper in the metaverse, Christensen says there’s a big opportunity in giving consumers spaces to “live together.” Watching sporting events in virtual groups and participating in real-time collaborative events with Instagram Live is an emerging trend that brand marketers should watch out for.
Meta recently used Horizon Venues to create a virtual NBA world to celebrate the NBA Finals. Fans were able to watch NBA games on two-dimensional screens using VR headsets, while having competitions with their friends and interactions with other fans simultaneously.
Christensen says a recent merger between Horizon Venues and Horizon Worlds means brands that build their own sites can now put those sites into custom worlds.
“For Wendy’s, for example, they partnered with iHeart Radio, [and] they are going to have a lot of their concert series streaming in the Wendyverse in the near future,” Christensen said. “It’s almost like creating a third screen that your customers have access to.”
While most talk around VR centers around gaming technology, Christensen says the implications for VR in the Metaverse go much deeper. He sees the metaverse generating value for people, creating value for businesses. The two parts go hand in hand. In the metaverse, brands do not address consumers; they work with them and encourage users to participate in immersive experiences they actually want to be part of.
“You don’t have to jump straight into a Wendyverse. I think you need to test out some of the stronger technologies like augmented reality right now before you jump into something like virtual reality,” says Christensen. “I don’t think people…understand how easy it is to implement some of your brands in augmented reality…but I also think you need to take a holistic look and say, ‘Do my community, does my client want this?’ In the case of Wendy’s, it was a no-brainer I think you need to look closely at where your brand can fit in the metaverse, but understand that it doesn’t have to be this full fledged execution and off the beaten track.