On paper, the metaverse is defined as “a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.” But what does that really mean? How does the rise of the metaverse impact businesses and what plans need to be set in motion today to prepare for this virtual tomorrow?

2022 has seen the continued rise of the metaverse, which has produced more awareness and interest in it, as well additional funding: over 120B of investment and growing, from venture capitalists, private equity and corporate budgets in 2022 alone.  

The metaverse is a new, seamless world between the digital and physical; and it runs in parallel to our everyday lives. Some may think it is just another project to be funded by enterprise organizations; but there is more to it than that.  

These forces represent innovations in some familiar areas, such as infrastructure and network advancements that will make connectivity ubiquitous.  And certainly new devices and continued progress with mobile applications and AR/VR hardware are also a part of the plan.  These are natural elements of the first and second cycles of the internet, where the web was largely centralized and made available through organizations and points of interaction. The Web has always been controlled by this foundation, and so companies tend to think of the metaverse in that lens, as well.  

Some may counter that the metaverse is hype. However, hype has also been known to be a precursor to fulfillment. Remember when nobody believed that Amazon would excel beyond selling books? Or that people would never prioritize a mobile phone as a necessity? In those early days of technology, we could not see beyond the Blackberry, spotty and slow network connections, prohibitively expensive hardware, and no meaningful commercial applications. The web was just about messaging and convenience, and slowly evolved from static displays of text to more aesthetically pleasing graphical experiences once the first browser was launched. 

But skepticism began to wane when eCommerce, Social and Mobile applications converged with new evolutions in network connectivity. This is how the Information Age came to evolve since the early 90s, and it is a big part about how Web 3.0 will rise in the 2020s, as well.

So the metaverse is not a website, nor a pair of AR goggles, nor the latest gaming site – it is an immersive environment that will not be realized through a single budget or corporate or commercial initiative.  Rather, its manifestation is different than Web 2.0 in that it will rely solely on the collective efforts of the people who realize value in it, and the new value that will surface once we jointly create new experiences on our own volition.  

Web 3.0 and its themes of a Semantic Web, a metaverse of experiences, cryptocurrency and digital assets all set the groundwork for our data to be actionable:  A new world of interaction where the consumer is the centerpiece of a personalized, decentralized experience that is also connected to a community seeking the same. 

As part of Web 3.0, the metaverse will leverage new innovations in cryptocurrency, new standards for Data Privacy for consumers, and new corporate strategies that place user-generated content creation and experiences at the center of their mission. The metaverse could be best described as a continuous cycle of digital and physical convergence, that has applications into health and medicine, education, commerce, finance, advertising and gaming, just to name a few.  The common thread of this metaverse is that its citizens will have agency on their actions and experiences, while at the same time, see the most positive value when they come together as a community to define them.

Five Areas Where Companies can Prepare for the Metaverse

  1. Vendor neutrality/platform flexibility: It’s true that the metaverse will be built on top of platforms like Facebook and use profiles that are already created, but you also need your space in the metaverse to be able to communicate with other data sources and other places where data is activated. Companies can’t put all their stock into one metaverse platform, as there will be many metaverses that pop up and companies need to have flexibility in data collection and activation while the metaverse is being built.
  2. Quality data collection: In the past, companies have made the mistake of putting too much stock into one platform and then when rules or industry changes, they lose their entire database (i.e. companies that built their entire business on Facebook). Also, companies need to make sure they’re planning out what data they want to collect in their space and that they’re building out those models in advance. 
  3. First party data strategy: The metaverse will need to be aligned with other 1st party data points to create a comprehensive single view of the customer. It should be seen as another channel within the multi-channel customer experience. 
  4. Attributing success and measuring performance: Building a space in the metaverse is going to be expensive and companies will get sidetracked focusing on building their presence, but they need to carefully consider how they’re going to measure their performance through data and attribute success. For example, what parts of the virtual room are most people walking into, what upsell opportunities are popping up in real time, etc. This should be defined as the space is being created.
  5. Early mover advantage: The cost to build in the metaverse is high, but also being an early adopter will be more beneficial because there will be fewer competitors in the space. This is why companies need to plan to be in control of their data and to validate the cost to build. Companies also need to make sure their metaverse speaks to other data sources. Data sources will continue to grow and require integration to the business; but that integration will need to happen in real-time to move at the speed of the metaverse.  Customer data will be used in many more instances and need to be reconciled and accurate for users to trust its stewardship from brands.

The Role of the CDP in the Metaverse

Customer data has a role to play in this evolution of the web to the metaverse.  Customers want personalized experiences, but also want their data protected and used by brands as they see fit.  Brands have for many years placed a unified customer experience at the top of their digital transformation initiatives, and the advertising element of the metaverse is a natural beneficiary of this effort.  The CDP’s role is to provide the platform for data governance and automation that the metaverse will thrive from.  A continuously connected experience through any device will deliver a decentralized environment that is securely controlled by the user.  This will be realized through ubiquitously available access to a community of users that control their data, and their experience. The CDP’s role in governing identity, privacy, and digital personas throughout a flexible and changing environment of integrated systems will be relied upon, as the metaverse experience will transcend the omnichannel of devices that the CDP will be unifying in real time.

To learn how Tealium can support your goals for using customer data in the metaverse and beyond, schedule a free demo today!

Post Author

Ted Sfikas
Senior Director of Digital Strategy & Value Engineering, Americas

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