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Can Brands Stay Safe in the Metaverse?

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Can Brands Stay Safe in the Metaverse?

As the metaverse makes the leap into reality, marketers are eager to figure out where this new frontier fits into their strategies. However, there is evidence that, like with other digital platforms, as popularity grows so does the attention of bad actors like extremist or hate groups.

After high profile examples such as the racial slur allegedly buried in a McRib NFT, marketers are right to be wary of this new arena.

“What’s tricky about it is you need to build a community where certain beliefs are, of course, geared toward one direction,” said Dirk van Ginkel, Jam3’s executive creative director.

However, NFTs and the metaverse are also hard to ignore as they become increasingly popular. During the Super Bowl, Miller Lite used the metaverse platform Decentraland to skirt advertising restrictions, Wrangler unveiled a new NFT to promote a music partnership and Kia used the technology to promote its big game ad.

Some of the rush to join the metaverse may be the result of brands not wanting to repeat past mistakes of sitting on the sidelines too long when fast-moving digital technologies emerged. When social media first started to become a feature of daily life, brands avoided the platform. For example, McDonald’s didn’t join Twitter until 2009, three years after the platform launched. Apple was even later, not joining until 2011.

Into the wild, wild internet

For many, the metaverse is the natural next step for the internet. Facebook changed its name to Meta, signaling a greater focus on the metaverse at a time when social media is showing signs of maturation. A connected platform where people can gather and engage in digital commerce could be the next step for social media. Brands will no longer be limited to physical spaces — or physical products — as NFTs grow in value. Instead of purchasing a bottle of Miller Lite at a physical store, beer drinkers can purchase a virtual one while attending a metaverse party.

Initially, the metaverse was hailed as a way to potentially finally curb hate speech online while also protecting user privacy. Think tanks such as the Oasis Consortium put forward the idea that platforms like Decentraland can help eliminate hate speech through smart contracts and community monitoring. Most metaverse spaces are user-run, meaning they have the ability to vote out bad actors.

In theory, this is great. If someone walks into a virtual bar with a slur for username, that person can be easily voted out and ejected. However, in practice, this has proved to be less effective as one might hope. For example, the community governing Decentraland failed to gather enough votes to ban the use of “Hitler” as part of a username.

With that in mind, how do brands keep their metaverse space from being overrun by hateful players? According to experts, while hate will always exist, the metaverse may be less risky than other platforms.

“What is interesting about web3, the communities that are engaged with it are a lot more gated. So a good example is, for instance, if you want to launch an NFT for brands, there’s generally a discord that comes along with it. And those communities can shoot down a discord as well. So the community is a lot more in control as to what’s happening,” van Ginkel said.

However, self-regulation may prove elusive. Questions remain around how things should be regulated and who should do the regulating. There are concerns that platforms like Decentraland and others over-rely on users to regulate others users, according to experts.

“The question of what…should be regulated as well as who may do this regulation is also a work in progress. In short, while some of the XR hardware and software is now here, the laws are not,” Katerina Girginova, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication & Center on Digital Culture and Society, said in an email to Marketing Dive.

Ultimately, it is up to brands to ensure their digital footprint remains safe, especially as questions around scalability of these methods remain.

Show me the contract

One way to enhance brand safety is through the use of “smart contracts.” These are programs that are stored in the blockchain that only activate under certain conditions. If the conditions of the smart contract are violated, the program fails to run. If brands built certain rules around decorum and behavior into a mandatory smart contract before selling someone an NFT or allowing them entrance into an virtual space, they may be able to keep themselves safe.

Smart contracts may be a way of mitigating some risks for brands. However, brands should not undertake these contracts lightly, according to van Ginkel. Before setting up a smart contract, professionals who know the space well should be employed.

While many brands insist on being a part of the metaverse and producing NFTs, some don’t want to be paid in cryptocurrency, van Ginkel added. This can further complicate matters if they don’t want to create a digital wallet. But without a digital wallet, anyone can be ripped off in the NFT or metaverse space, as their cryptocurrency is left unprotected. Recently, concerns have arisen around the value of NFTs. Some experts believe the current NFT market is a bubble ready to burst. While the technology is here to stay, NFTs, which are the backbone of the metaverse, come with a level of speculation that not everyone is comfortable with.

While wallets and smart contracts have the potential to keep brands and consumers safe in the metaverse, educating people on how they work is likely to be a challenge since many don’t understand what it entails. Currently, just 38% of Americans are familiar with the metaverse, and 42% of those familiar with the platform can correctly describe what it is, per Ipsos research.

“I think as a brand, it’s always important that you explain to your audience that it’s always good to get a physical wallet, for instance,” van Ginkel said.

We’re not ready for this

Despite the hype, the metaverse is a technology still very much in its infancy, and its ability to gain wider adoption could be hurt as a broader reckoning around digital privacy takes place. Concerns have arisen over the sheer amount of data that the metaverse will create on its users, such as biometrics.

With the technology being so new, some experts are asking if brands are moving too fast given how consumer adoption remains low.

“There hasn’t been any platform in the history of the internet that has started with brands being present there first. It always starts with people first, and they need to have the interest,” van Ginkel said.

Part of the problem for consumers is that the user experience in the virtual space is currently subpar, per van Ginkel. It takes too long to set up an avatar, and for many brands, the novelty of the metaverse alone may not be enough to compel users to join. However, for brands with an established connection to youth culture, consumers may be willing to overlook the metaverse’s issues. For example, Nike’s fan base may be willing to use the tech to engage with their favorite brand, but a newer company attempting to use the metaverse to establish itself may see lackluster response.


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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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