When Chiwei Lee joined Meta, then called Facebook, 11 years ago, he had a front row seat to the emerging powerhouse of social media. Lee saw the rush of people connecting with old friends and family in new ways, but he also noted a huge opportunity for business. Just as the first wave of social media helped people discover long-lost friends and new acquaintances, Lee imagined that social media made it easier for brands to connect with customers and for people to discover new things. new products and brands that arouse joy and pleasure. “It was clear that social media technology would fundamentally transform industries and businesses,” says Lee, who leads technology, telecommunications and entertainment at Meta’s Creative Shop. “It was going to change the way marketers and creators think about communicating with their customers.”
Today, Lee believes we are on the cusp of a similar inflection point. Technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are driving innovation and driving business efforts to take advantage of new digital opportunities. During this time, the metaverse—still in its infancy—represents a new marketing frontier that brands are eagerly exploring. “We’re seeing the proliferation of new and immersive tools that allow brands to connect with their customers in incredibly new ways,” says Lee.
These new ways of connecting are also becoming increasingly important in the context of changing people’s habits and expectations. One notable shift is that most consumers are embracing today’s more digital shopping experience. In Meta’s recent “Customer Experience 3.0” report, two out of three consumers surveyed said their mobile device is quickly becoming their most important shopping tool, and 71% of consumers surveyed who follow creators and influencers on social media social workers bought products recommended by them. At the same time, people are also expecting more from brands, from AR tools that allow them to virtually try on clothes to a metaverse experience that lets them Virtual mini cars racing around (and under and through) a gravity-warping 3D track.
PRODUCING THE PROFITABILITY ANALYSIS
How can brands provide a more immersive experience to consumers? The first step, Lee says, isn’t revolutionary, but it’s crucial: Make an airtight business case for this new marketing strategy. For example, if Brand X is planning to roll out a killer new AR tool, it should be well armed with a plan for what it hopes to accomplish with it. For example, the goal may be to attract new customers or enter a new niche of consumers that the brand has not been able to reach through traditional marketing methods. “You need to make sure what you’re doing will be valuable to your business,” Lee says. “Force yourself to articulate what you’re trying to accomplish and what this technology brings to the customer.”
Take AT&T, which recently partnered with Meta to create several immersive campaigns, including Warp Speed Worm. The interactive video game, driven by Meta’s AR Group Effects tool, is a high-tech update to the classic “snake” game that early cellphone users played on Nokia handsets. Yes, the game was designed to entertain users, but the company also had another goal in mind by showing what’s possible on AT&T’s fast 5G network: to entice gamers to sign up for an optimized mobile phone plan. “It was really interesting to see how 5G can really increase the depth of immersion and what is possible with AR and to see that customers love it,” says Igor Glubochansky, assistant vice president, Devices and Partner Solutions Product Management, Innovation, at AT&T.
Indeed, customers are the most important part of this marketing equation. When it comes to using immersive tools like augmented reality and virtual reality, companies need to focus on what shoppers actually want. In fact, according to Janelle Estes, director of knowledge at UserTesting, a company that provides companies with information and customer feedback, savvy brands can even enlist their customers to help build these tools. She notes that a well-known eyewear retailer relied heavily on customer feedback when it created an AR tool in its mobile app that lets users virtually try on eyeglass frames. “It’s really about understanding what will affect your customers,” she says.
HELP THROUGHOUT THE ROAD
Once businesses understand how immersive solutions will benefit both their brand and their customers, they need to create and deploy the campaigns. This is where collaborations with partners like Meta can help. After all, not all companies have dedicated digital architect teams on their payrolls. These experts can not only help companies create the tools they need, but also think about how to use them most effectively. “I think the most successful brands in this space are the ones that have these trusted, deep partnerships in place,” says Lee.
With Meta, businesses can tap into a wide range of creative experts who can help design, build, and execute an immersive marketing plan. Meta trading partners offers a roster of vetted experts who can step in to help brands with a range of marketing needs, from creating engaging mobile videos to creating interactive and immersive creative content.
Diving in uncharted waters always involves risks. But Lee stressed that companies should not shy away from these risks and should, in fact, seize the opportunity to experiment. After all, tools like augmented reality, virtual reality, and the metaverse present great opportunities for businesses to expand their marketing reach and meet customer needs and aspirations in new ways. “These tools not only serve to stimulate discovery, but also to foster meaningful discovery,” he says. “It’s not just about seeing the ad, but having the ad that pulls you in and lets you have that deeper experience. This is how brands and marketers should think about these kinds of tools. »