No matter where you look today, you’ll see people talking about web3, the metaverse, and its implications on industries.
Digital out of home isn’t immune to these conversations, in particular, how can advertisers make an impact in these virtual worlds and environments.
For those of you who aren’t tech news-focused, web3 is the new generation of internet technology focused on providing an open and socially responsible internet.
Web3 encapsulates things like crypto, blockchain, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).
Some of the largest tech companies in the world have already gone all-in on web3 such as Facebook (who’ve rebranded to Meta), Sony, Epic Games, and more.
So what is the metaverse? There’s no clear-cut definition of the metaverse, but it refers to a virtual world, usually accessed via VR/AR technology.
Mark Zuckerberg showcased Meta’s idea of a metaverse during their rebranding announcement in this video.
Whilst this presentation gives insight into what an ideal metaverse would look like, unfortunately, it doesn’t exist (yet).
What currently exists are gaming metaverses, the most well-known being Roblox and to some extent Fortnite.
Metaverse & DOOH Pioneers
Before metaverses and video games showing advertisements for real-life brands, we had games showcasing sponsors and other advertising material.
This was first used in sports games such as the NBA 2K series and other sports simulation games.
These games implemented this advertising as a way to build immersion for the players more than anything else.
The next step in this evolution was to create a way for brands to pay to have their advertising displayed in games.
Esports tournaments and matches become the solution to this challenge. Gaming tournaments attract huge viewers, Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship series garnered 73,860,742 concurrent viewers worldwide.
Brands have seen these viewership numbers and have jumped on board, supporting esports tournaments via sponsorship.
Whilst these sponsorships cover a wide range of packages, the most interesting is how they display advertisements in real-time.
Similar to how traditional sports have parapet signage (advertisements around the perimeter), Riot Games has incorporated advertisements into the game as part of the viewing experience.
Some of the featured brands include Redbull, State Farm, Kia, JBL, and more, all of which can be seen whilst the game is happening.
Riot Games aren’t the only gaming company to implement brand advertising in-game during competitions.
Psyonix, the developers of Rocket League, have taken a similar approach and advertised sponsors during tournament matches.
The Metaverse-DOOH Leaders
These two esports aren’t metaverses, but their exploration into this space paved the way for other companies such as the Roblox Corporation, Epic Games and Microsoft.
We haven’t quite reached Zuckerburg’s utopian metaverse, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t started getting close.
One of the first examples of a metaverse existed well before the term was even coined and came from a small indie company (which was later sold to Microsoft) by the name of Mojang.
The game they developed is known as Minecraft, and is one of the best selling games in history.
Minecraft pioneered the metaverse space by providing players with custom-built environments and fully customizable avatars, Roblox then built on this idea.
Roblox is one of the closest examples of a metaverse we currently have, with avatars, customisable worlds, and a unique currency.
The Roblox corporation isn’t specifically providing advertising and advertising spaces, third-party companies are.
The most well-known of these in-game DOOH providers include Bloxbiz, Anzu, Adverty, Admix, Bidstack, and Super League.
In-game advertising had a problem, especially in mobile games where gamers felt that advertising was loud, in your face, and intrusive.
These companies wanted to help mobile gamers by reducing this friction, so they built ways to implement in-game digital OOH advertising.
It’s not just tech companies and small brands that are advertising using these new methods. Large brands like Nike, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Red Bull, and Sprite have all started advertising in-game metaverses.
Once you’ve looked at the ROI, it's no surprise these brands see the value and have jumped in so early.
For example, one of Bloxbiz’s recent campaigns resulted in a reach of 6.2 million people and of those, 3.3 million people had at least 10 seconds of impression time.
The Future of Metaverse-DOOH Advertising
The future of the metaverse is still widely an unknown mystery, as these are just the very early days.
There isn’t a singular metaverse right now, but we can speculate on how these DOOH media technologies may be adapted.
It’s clear that companies want to be advertising in-game, and game developers already support it.
The natural next steps for game developers are widespread adoption and implementation, along with support for programmatic advertising leading to highly personalised advertisements.
On the other side of this situation are the advertisers themselves, who want to be in as many spaces as possible.
It is highly likely that over the next few years as the technology improves, we will see marketplaces (DSPs) evolve to include these virtual spaces.
Advertisers will also have the ability to hyper-target their content as users provide a range of relevant information to game developers.
This information includes age, location, and gender, and can be combined with data provided by the game developers such as playtime and how long they look at specific in-game “screens”.
Not only can these ads be targeted to the perfect viewer, but can become even more impactful by being interactive.
The future of AdTech includes gaming and the metaverse, it’s already happening and is part of over 65 million people's lives.
We at Doohly can’t wait to see how this technology evolves and expands the way we connect and interact with advertisers and each other!
For more information regarding digital signage in both the real world and virtual worlds, contact us today.