- Although users re-invent themselves online, Web2 platforms such as social media still tie personality to a real-world identity
- Web3 and the metaverse go one step further and allow users to create distinct personalities separate from their identity, rendering traditional identity resolution capabilities ineffective
- Jason Alan Snyder, Global CTO of Momentum Worldwide, dives into this paradigm shift and examines how marketers can measure success in the metaverse
This famous Peter Steiner cartoon ran in “The New Yorker” in July 1993. It is poignant in that at the time it was published, we were at an important moment in the history of the Internet. The Internet was becoming a part of popular and general social discourse. It was no longer the exclusive domain of engineers, academics, and the military.
Importantly, this cartoon demonstrates how the Internet could liberate a person from popular prejudice. This cartoon celebrates the idea that as a communication medium, the Internet does not require anyone to confirm their identity.
But that changed with the advent of social media, which is inherently tied to identity. Yet, still, many people use social media to reinvent themselves. People on social media are curating and projecting a personality that may not reflect their identity. But, still, their fabricated personality is tied to their real-world, visible identity.
The metaverse goes one step further. It allows users to express their personality completely separately from their identity. This creates a challenge for marketers who aim to monitor marketing metrics. As Web3 dawns, marketers must find a new way to measure success in the metaverse.
The challenge: The metaverse separates identity and personality
Violating expectations, manipulating, changing, and inventing personality not tied to a real-world identity is critical to understanding how identity and personality function in the metaverse. Owning your personality without revealing your identity and being able to carry it across multiple decentralized applications and virtual worlds is vital to the appeal of the metaverse.
Identity resolution in the metaverse
As an avatar in the metaverse, people can express themselves without the implications of real-world identity. And, as an avatar, anyone can express themselves digitally in ways that are not possible on Web2 social media.
But when we are not “ourselves,” identity becomes hidden behind personality. This makes the job of the marketer difficult. Understanding, managing, and tracking people via traditional identity resolution methodologies becomes challenging, if not impossible.
People can express themselves much more freely in the metaverse. Web2 social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are very brittle in terms of experimenting with identity.
Digital vs real-world identity
Pragmatically, the definition of digital identity is the unique, identifiable information connected to a person on the Internet. The concept of digital identity extends much deeper than customizing an avatar to resemble oneself in the case of the metaverse.
The metaverse operates on Web3 services, including blockchain infrastructure. Customized avatars that portray each person uniquely can leverage digital assets they own. Every aspect of the metaverse can be customizable, allowing people to create avatars and environments that reflect their “digital personality” without revealing their real-world identity.
The blockchain allows people to assume greater ownership rights over their data. This gives them more control over the information they choose to share with others.
The beauty of the metaverse is that a person can have different digital identities, such as a work identity, sports identity, alum identity, or personal identity, while all still being based on a real-world identity subsidiary and even hidden by others. Meta, Instagram, TikTok, and the other leading social platforms depend on a single identity mapped to a single personality.
The solution: What (and how) to measure in the metaverse
As the metaverse taps into the intersection of e-commerce, social commerce, gaming, Web3, the creator economy, and new digital communities, it will capture $800 billion in market share by 2024 (Bloomberg). However, we are still in the early days, and significant upfront investment is required to develop unique virtual world experiences.
Critical to making these investments, brands must define success metrics to measure their impact on their audience. When traditional identity resolution methodologies are not viable, where do marketers turn?
The good news is that most metaverse environments integrate with third-party data partners that help tie those experiential efforts to measurement KPIs and they are already tracking across alternative channels.
- Time in the experience
- Brand recognition
- Brand lift
Brands must decide on the success metrics for a particular campaign and work backward when designing content to maximize those efforts.
Metaverse shopper marketing
And, in terms of commerce, there are many ways brands can achieve a shoppable outcome in the metaverse, akin to in-game purchases. Depending on the brand, people can purchase unique skins, merch, or other add-ons to differentiate their experience and enhance their personality.
Brands can create real-life products that become the connective tissue between the physical and digital worlds or “phygital.”
This practice, called “meta-linking”, allows people to purchase physical goods related to virtual experiences and vice-versa. We have seen similar activity with NFTs and digital collectibles. Brands can create unique or limited collectibles in the form of ownable digital assets that accompany a physical good. Brands can display these in metaverse environments.
ROI in the metaverse
When a brand engages in Web3 activities like auctioning NFTs and releasing them on certain sales days or “drops,” the output is the same as any event or campaign. In this case, the brand can measure ROI through the number of “sign-ups” for the waiting list, dwell time on the distribution property, viewership, engagement, interaction, and sales. Brands need to work backward to find out the output.
Recently, Momentum worked with NBCU’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to create a bespoke experience in Fortnite- “Tonight At The Rock.” In that experience, people can interact with videos from Jimmy Fallon, play, collect and discover hidden treasures, collections of pixels, and mini-games. The brand can then understand, at a minimum, how many people have accessed the code to enter the game and dwell time in the virtual world.
What is next?
Brands can measure anything that occurs in the metaverse. For instance, what actions avatars are taking. How long they are spending in a virtual world. If they come back again or use the same account.
We have built consolidated profiles for online and physical world behaviors with mobile marketing. Now we are exploring ways of tying these behaviors together with actions in the physical world. Integrating cross-channel marketing intelligence opens new ways to consider measurement. It also gives us a deeper understanding of engagement and viewership of paid media, shopper media, and sponsorship experiences.
Avatars are a great starting point. But for long-term engagement, metaverse assets and environments must continue to provide deep, unique functionality and signal intelligence designed to amplify the experience. They must create intimacy at scale while providing utility and functional benefits to owners.
Jason Alan Snyder is an inventor, technologist, and futurist. As Global Chief Technology Officer of Momentum Worldwide, he brings over 25 years of experience leading technology, innovation, and transformation in advertising and marketing. In his role, he oversees enterprise, development, and client service technologies. Through collaboration with creative, strategy, business leadership, and production talents, he offers insights into emerging technologies that amplify experience and engagement. Snyder’s pioneering work with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the marketing technology stack is recognized broadly within the industry. He developed a large intellectual property portfolio, including foundation patents for geolocation and computer vision products for mobile services. Jason also invented Luci, the award-winning solar lantern, to fight energy poverty globally.
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