Norm Chait is Senior Director and OOH Practice Lead at Quotient, and sat down to share how DOOH and advertising in general is being reshaped by emerging technology shaping the metaverse, from video games to the general metaverse.
Norm Chait is Senior Director and OOH Practice Lead at Quotient, and sat down to share how the metaverse is reshaping DOOH and advertising in general, in video games and beyond.
Q: LLet’s start with the basics for our readers new to what’s called the Metaverse. What is the Metaverse, in a nutshell, and why is it so important right now?
A: The metaverse does not refer to any particular type of technology, but is generally considered to be a network of universal and immersive virtual worlds. Common cases of metaverse today include virtual reality which taps into virtual worlds that exist even when you’re not actively playing, and augmented reality which combines aspects of the physical and digital worlds.
The metaverse is interesting for advertisers because of the countless possibilities that are not feasible in the physical world. Instead of corporate meetings on Zoom, meetings can take place “anywhere” in the world, like on the grass in Central Park or in a meeting room atop the Empire State Building. Operating room surgeons can seamlessly collaborate and train in an environment that mimics the real world while saving valuable man hours that would have been spent traveling. There are endless possibilities for collaboration that could be easily implemented in the metaverse, overcoming the obstacle of distance that we find in the physical world.
Q:Thanks for that! So we’ve read reports of efforts to integrate advertising into video games, especially console games. Do you think this is the future? And what size are we talking about – is this going to become a core or even mainstream part of DOOH, and what kind of timeline are we looking at?
A: eMarketer estimates video game ad business at more than $8 billion, representing nearly 6% of the estimated $140 billion digital ad market. Video game advertising has been largely an untapped market due to various technology gaps, but is on track for exponential growth in the years to come. While this new medium is unlikely to overtake today’s DOOH landscape anytime soon, we are already seeing the early stages of campaigns that dive into both the physical and digital worlds. Last year, Ocean Outdoor and LandVault teamed up to launch the first “double world” DOOH campaign, with retailer Argos advertised across England and the Metaverse using the same billboard. As the Metaverse continues to gain traction with mainstream audiences, we will see more and more marketers begin to change and grow their advertising presence within the Metaverse.
Q: As a gamer, gamers can be an irritable bunch. How do you think the ads in the metaverse will go? Will gamers embrace the change or will they rebel against the penetration of ads into this entertainment space?
A: With millions of players watching scenes at any given time, the Metaverse seems like a great place to include ads. The key to implementing digital signage in the Metaverse is to ensure that the integration of advertising does not negatively affect the player experience. If an in-game advertisement is shown on a muddy and windy circuit, this banner should wave in the wind and be splashed with mud as it normally would. If properly implemented with the immersion goal in mind, there is a chance that players will see ads as a natural part of their virtual experience the same way they see ads in the real world.
Q: This kind of reminds us of the power of DOOH’s interactive features, which are still in their infancy. Do you see a future where metaverse advertising takes advantage of interactivity, IoT, and smart home, and more to do things like, say, know exactly when a gamer is usually hungry (show an ad Taco Bell on a billboard in the game he’s playing), maybe with a QR code to order? Maybe it gets social – popular streamers will be able to share coupons or discounts with subscribers in the real game environment, or can you share a gift card for a free dinner with your (anonymized) teammates? in an online RPG? The sky is basically the limit, it seems.
A: Interactivity within the advertising industry is a common challenge that many marketers strive to solve. When you focus on the metaverse, the possibilities for interactive advertising are endless. Given that the Metaverse is in such an infancy state, it will be interesting to see who can marry the various platforms available today into a seamless and interactive experience within the Metaverse. Not only does the Metaverse have the potential to reshape in-game advertising as we know it, but any interactivity solution within the Metaverse could also have implications across the entire advertising industry.
Q: DOOH experts like to talk about “unskippable”, a powerful aspect of billboards, taxi ads, etc. Will this be part of DOOH in the metaverse? Are game developers going to have this weird, tiered subscription experience where players have to pay a premium to “disable” ads in the game environment?
A: It is essential that in-game DOOH ads fit seamlessly into its given environment to maintain the overall user experience. If developers can properly implement DOOH ads, an ad-free subscription or non-skippable features would not be necessary. In-game ads that mimic our reality, such as billboards, taxis, and any other place that may contain a digital screen, are intended to increase consumer immersion while expanding the reach of brands that weren’t otherwise not available. Outdoor ads blend easily into our everyday environments in the physical world, and it’s up to the developers to make sure that happens in the virtual world.
Q: You really are the expert in this nascent field, so we want to give you the wheel (or gamepad!) and let you drive for a minute. What are the absolutely essential things our readers need to know to enter this brave new world, and how can businesses and consumers prepare for this future?
A: DOOH advertising in the metaverse is an exciting area on the horizon for the industry, and it’s only a matter of time for the field to gain legitimacy and popularity. For this to happen, developers need to offer digital signage solutions that are compatible with what is currently being used in the market today, which includes audience verification and
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