In many cases, these experiments have led to more questions than answers. Below, Ad Age takes a look at the biggest area of confusion and the questions you may be too afraid to ask.
What is the metaverse exactly?
There are many misconceptions around what the metaverse is—and isn’t. The word “metaverse” comes from science fiction: Neal Stephenson coined the phrase in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” to describe a virtual-reality based online world. These days, the phrase more specifically refers to a collection of digital worlds in which users can create content and interact with others as avatars, or digital versions of themselves. The metaverse also allows for interoperability, meaning that users and their assets (like NFTs) can move freely from one world to the next.
Read: Metaverse and Web3 marketing glossary for brands
But it is also important to mention that the metaverse is in early stages of development, and therefore its parameters and possibilities—including those having to do with marketing—are still being decided by tech companies, platforms and AR/VR developers. For now, marketers should know that the metaverse represents a convergence of extended reality (XR), gaming, social media and crypto, and thus offers a unique pathway to reach digitally minded audiences in engaging ways.
Read: Unlocking the metaverse
How do NFTs fit into the metaverse?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital certificates of ownership that exist on a blockchain. Since blockchain technology will underlie the decentralized nature of the metaverse, NFTs are expected to play a big role in the space, from serving as rewards in play-to-earn video games to building identity as social assets.
Read: Crockpot creates an NFT—joining brands cooking up tokens
For brands, these tokens can be leveraged to build hype through giveaways and drive lasting engagement by offering exclusive rewards to NFT holders. Many NFT releases, or “drops,” contain a philanthropic component as well, typically in the form of donating proceeds of an auction to a relevant charity. Depending on the size of and interest in the drop, NFTs can also help to drive revenue for brands.
Read: How brands are using NFTs—a continually updated list