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Just what’s happening with the metaverse?

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Just what's happening with the metaverse?

So you’ve heard about the metaverse, and you want in. You’re not alone.

The metaverse is a virtual space where consumers can interact and perform almost every activity you can imagine. Using data from our March 2022 Zeitgeist study, we’ll give you the lowdown on all the latest things you need to know about the metaverse.

The first thing to say is that younger consumers will likely be the early adopters, with 42% of Gen Z and millennials are interested in taking part, while just over 1 in 5 Gen X and boomers are interested at this point.

For brands, getting to know ‘online-first’ consumers in more detail should be a priority. They’re more likely to be interested in participating in a metaverse, so brands need to understand them better if they’re to create virtual spaces that feel accommodating.

Brands can start preparing right now, and we’ve spoken in the past about how they can look at existing online services for inspiration. The likes of Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite are commonly referred to as metaverses in their own right.

Chart showing online spaces visited by metaverse potentials

Among those, nearly 4 in 10 potential metaverse users visited Minecraft in the last month. A further 3 in 10 used Fortnite, while other services like The Sandbox, Horizon Worlds, Second Life, and Roblox, all attract a healthy number of visitors too. The latter is growing at a rapid pace, especially among kids, with a 28% increase in the number of 8-15 year old gamers playing it since this time last year. These kinds of services suggest that the metaverse concept will be heavily centered in gaming culture.

Chart showing activities that consumers want to partake in the metaverse

In terms of content, entertainment wins out – whether that’s watching TV, live events, or playing video games – all activities that can be performed in massive online spaces right now. 

At the same time, 1 in 4 metaverse potentials are interested in simply exploring what it has to offer. For brands and agencies looking to craft effective metaverse experiences, piquing audience curiosity might just be how to keep them engaged.

The key here is innovation. Our data shows metaverse-potentials have a really broad range of activities they want to perform. Consumers are telling brands what they want to do and it’s a whole lot more than just shopping or watching TV.

Turning away from why people might want to take part, let’s look at why they might not want to. Our data suggests the metaverse just isn’t that appealing to certain consumers.

Chart showing reasons why some consumers aren't interested in the metaverse

Then there’s privacy and safety. Around 1 in 4 cite privacy concerns, while 15% say they would feel unsafe in the metaverse. Regulating social media is already a key concern for governments and brands, let alone the metaverse. If brands want people to use these services, then they’ll need to make sure they can feel safe doing it. 

In the meantime, here are the key takeaways to focus on:

  • Younger audiences will be the early adopters. Gen Z and millennials have a better understanding of what the metaverse is, and are more likely to be interested in using it. At the same time, don’t rule out older consumers.

  • For some, the metaverse is a dream come true.  With the right tools, it could be the perfect haven for people to express themselves. This means offering customizable avatars and niche activities.

  • It’s not just a shopping mall. While there are plenty of consumers who expect to shop in the metaverse, many more anticipate socializing, playing, and even working in this space. 

  • Metaverse examples have been around long before Fortnite. The likes of Second Life, Runescape, and World of Warcraft have a rich history filled with community-led events that could work in this space.

  • Brands can source partnerships now. Find partners who resonate with your brand and enlist them to help build your space when the time comes.

  • It needs to be safe, but interesting too. The key reason people are uninterested in the metaverse is simple; the idea just isn’t that interesting to them. Developers need to think about how varied the internet is, and ensure the metaverse is equally rich. 

Read the full article here.

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

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Pinterest Focuses on Travel Inspiration and Education for Black History Month

Pinterest is taking a unique approach to Black History Month, with a new ‘Find Your Routes’ Black Travel Hub initiative, which aims to highlight places that have strong connections to Black history, while also showcasing Black-owned businesses.

As explained by Pinterest:

“Find Your Routes” is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book aka “The Green Book”. The Green Book was a guidebook for Black travelers during the Jim Crow era that provided a list of accessible hotels, boarding houses, taverns, restaurants, service stations and other establishments throughout the country that served Black Americans patrons.”

The Black Travel Hub, which you can find here, will present a range of travel options, along with their history, with creators from the US, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and more, all taking part in presenting their city.

It could be a good way to provide education alongside inspiration in the app, while also helping people to connect, and support highlighted communities.

Pinterest will also be showcasing Black-owned businesses on Pinterest TV, while internally, it’s also hosting a company-wide event ‘to help employees gain knowledge about the history, present, and future of Black travel through the lens of Black Pinployees’.

As noted, it could be a good way to both spark important conversations, and inspire new travel journeys, which include an extra level of cultural understanding and education, along with a leisure break.

It’s an interesting take on the celebration either way, and it’ll be worth noting what sort of reaction the initiative gets, and whether it inspires more travel as a result.

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

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Snap Tumbles On Weak Revenue, Gloomy Outlook

Snap shares plunged after missing analyst expectations in Q4, while forecasting a year-over-year revenue decline.

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

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Snapchat Adds 12 Million Users in Q4, Posts Lower Than Expected Revenue Result

Snapchat added 12 million more active users in Q4 2022, and Snapchat+ subscriptions continue to rise, but company revenue missed market estimates, in another mixed result for the private social app.

First off, on users – as noted, Snap added 12 million more actives, taking it to 375 million DAU.

As you can see, North American user growth is still flat, while European users saw a slight uptick. But it’s the ‘Rest of the World’, specifically India, which is driving Snap growth.

Which is helping to boost the overall usage numbers, and expand opportunity. But on the revenue side, it’s not pushing things forward in a significant way.

Snap Q4 2022

As you can see in this chart, Snapchat’s revenue has increased, but a key problem here is that it’s still reliant on the US and Canada for the majority of that spend, with other markets trailing well behind on the revenue front.

Snap Q4 2022

In this chart, you can see that Snap’s Revenue Per User has actually declined year-on-year – so while it is growing, it’s not bringing in revenue at equivalent scale, and it’s even going backwards in some respects.

Which is why its stagnant growth in North America is a problem – though Snap has also seen take-up of its Snapchat+ subscription service increase.

“In Q4, our subscription service Snapchat+ reached over 2.0 million paying subscribers. Snapchat+ offers exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features, and in Q4 we launched new features such as Custom Story Expiration and Custom Notification Sounds, providing subscribers with over 12 exclusive features.”

That’s a handy additional revenue stream, but as with all social media subscription services (including Twitter Blue), take-up is generally limited, and at 2 million subscribers, that’s still only 0.5% of Snapchat’s active user base that’s been willing to pay extra for these add-on elements.

Snap has also faced challenges in rebuilding its ad business, in the wake of Apple’s iOS 14 update, which has impacted data collection, and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says they still have some way to go on this yet:

“We continue to face significant headwinds as we look to accelerate revenue growth, and we are making progress driving improved return on investment for advertisers and innovating to deepen the engagement of our community.”

Snap has seen improvement in its commerce integrations, which includes digital items for Bitmoji avatars which Snap is eventually looking to translate into real-world item sales as well. Snap also says that it’s facilitated over than 161 million product trials by over 35 million Snapchatters for Walmart, leveraging its Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses at-scale.

Snapchat AR shopping

Those point to bigger opportunities, but right now, amid the broader economic downturn, and restrictions on data collection and targeting, Snapchat is in a tough spot, and will be for some time yet.

Essentially, then, you’re banking on Snap’s future, and its advanced tools that could help it better align with expanded AR and VR use. And Snap is seemingly in a good position on this front – though again, the impacts of the last year, which also forced Snap into lay-offs, will also have some effect.

Really, then, the results here are relative to your perspective.

For advertisers, more Snap users means more potential reach – but most of Snap’s growth is coming from outside the US. More advanced AR activations could become a bigger deal in future, but it depends on how you’re looking to connect, and product fit.

Investors won’t be overly happy with the numbers, but there are positive signs on the horizon. It’s just that the horizon, in this respect, remains well in the distance at this stage.

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