Brands and marketers are still trying to understand the metaverse — if the sheer volume of panels on the topic at Advertising Week New York is any indication. Over the course of the event, speakers and panelists expounded upon the integral role of Web3 technologies in the metaverse, with few acknowledging its roots in gaming.
In case you’ve avoided metaverse coverage so far here’s what you need to know regarding Web3 vs. gaming and the metaverse. Broadly, the word metaverse describes a persistent digital universe — a successor to the modern internet in which users pilot three-dimensional avatars instead of paging from one website to another. At the moment, two competing sectors have laid a claim to the metaverse: gaming, in which users are already socializing inside virtual worlds, and Web3, whose proponents claim that blockchain technologies will inevitably form the bedrock of the virtual universe.
Although some speakers acknowledged the gaming side of the metaverse, the concept of Web3 was much more prominent in Advertising Week’s metaverse-related panels. The word “gaming” came up exactly once on Tuesday’s “Women in the Metaverse” panel — when moderator Quynh Mai, founder of the agency Qulture, said that “Web3 is an extension of gaming, and gaming is mainstream” — but the panel was otherwise focused on the ways brands and platforms could take advantage of technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), without elaborating on the gaming comment.
NFTs were also present elsewhere at Advertising Week, including one brand activation that prompted attendees to scan a QR code to receive a free token that they could use to “NFTwork” online via a free mobile app.
Advertising Week’s prioritization of the Web3 space shows how the event and many of its attendees are focused on the future of marketing in the metaverse — not necessarily the tangible ways in which gamers are already playing inside digital spaces.
“The metaverse and Web3 are not monolithic; they’re super-decentralized ideas,” said speaker Janet Balis, a partner at EY Consulting, during a pre-recorded session. “And so it’s not about one concept — it’s about lots of concepts.”
Even so, the gaming industry has made its presence known at Advertising Week, including a panel on the growing in-game advertising sector, which has not been shy about asserting its value in the metaverse. But most gaming-related panels have focused on less directly metaverse-related areas such as mobile and CTV gaming, giving the Web3 speakers ample opportunities to lay their claim unchallenged.
Of Advertising Week’s many metaverse speakers, David “Shingy” Shing was one of the few who credited gaming as the closest thing to a persistent virtual world at the moment: “We’re solving people’s problem of wanting to connect, and the digital reality is as important as the physical reality to people who are actually in that environment,” he said. “And that environment is primarily gaming.” — Alexander Lee
Not being real
Despite marketers’ surge of interest in BeReal, the advertising industry’s movers and shakers present at Advertising Week New York did not appear to have adopted the photo-sharing app in large numbers. When the daily BeReal notification went off while I was sitting in the event’s VIP lounge, none of the very important people in my vicinity appeared to take out their phones in solidarity. BeReal might be huge among Gen Z, but it doesn’t seem to have taken hold among marketers quite yet. — Alexander Lee
Advertising Week awards
Best pivot: Drone Racing League isn’t a sport or an esport — it’s a “robot sport.”
Best Pun: The “Seymour ROAS” ad for MNTN on the badges.
Most common complaint(s): The confusingly named conference rooms. The out-of-order elevator. The shoddy WiFi. Overall: The new venue.
Smelliest brand activation: Audacy’s freshly painted mural in the lower level.
Most unusual free food: The sriracha and lime donuts given away by Tripadvisor’s Wonderlab.
Quote of the moment: “I’m absolutely terrified of TikTok. I’m even more terrified to not be on it. The ultimate lose-lose.”
Loftiest brand goal: McDonald’s aim of “fan-to-fan” marketing over “brand-to-fan” … whatever that means.
Most out-of-touch reality check: No mask mandate or COVID vaccine check of any kind.
9:15 am State of the Industry: The Continued Rise and Impact of Streaming, The Screening Room
10:35 am Why Everyone Should Think Like a Retail Media Network, The Marketplace
12:50 pm The Creator Economy’s Impact on Influencer Deals, The Creative Showcase
1:15 pm The Power of Disruptor Brands, The Marketplace
1:55pm How Digital and Social are Reimagining the Future of Out of Home Advertising, The Marketplace
3:10 pm Creator Economy (of) Scale, The Creative Showcase
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Instagram wins over Facebook for role in brands’ holiday marketing
Brands differ on how they use each marketing channel during the holidays -- even when it comes to sibling social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, Digiday+ Research found.
How — and why — Candy Crush is in the midst of a 10th anniversary brand refresh
In the years since Activision Blizzard acquired the Swedish game studio King in 2016, employees at the gaming giant have started to internally refer to their company as “ABK” — that is, Activision Blizzard King. But the corporation’s recent financial reports indicate that “KAB” might be a more accurate abbreviation.
Independent agency Goat invests in influencer strategy for clients as it expands in the U.S.
Everyone is after influencers to up their marketing game. But the secret to success, Goat contends, is in viewing influencers as performance media and using data to deliver clients guaranteed outcomes.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Marketers bring Web3 to the FIFA World Cup with augmented reality, NFTs and virtual worlds
The month-long tournament, which begins this weekend, will be the first World Cup since it took place in Russia in 2018 long before “Web3” entered the global lexicon. Now, official and non-official sponsors are hoping to harness the hype with a range of NFTs, virtual worlds, augmented reality tools and other trendy tech.
U-Haul diversifies its social strategy to tell people it’s more than moving trucks
In recent years, U-Haul's in-house agency has been working to "better leverage social media for brand loyalty."