First 3D audio campaign in the metaverse
In this week’s egtabite we visit the metaverse and look closer at one of radio’s early experiments in this virtual space. The metaverse is a hot topic in the media industry with both brands and media companies testing and exploring ways to attract new audiences especially amongst Gen Z.
What is the metaverse?
As more of our lives are spent online, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish our “real” lives from our digital lives. According to experts, the metaverse is an extension of our lives enhanced by technology. Currently, it exists as a series of distinct virtual worlds and experiences. In the future, however, the metaverse will expand into an interconnected and limitless world where our digital and physical lives fully converge.
For the moment, most experiments by brands and media companies happen within one of the established virtual “worlds”, such as Roblox, Fortnite, Decentraland and others. Gaming has become a playground for brands and marketers to connect with an engaged audience. We have seen several examples of branded virtual worlds emerge where brands are creating in-game virtual worlds. Here they are extending the brand experience and going beyond a simple transaction, offering immersive touchpoints and experiences.
Audio and the metaverse
In the audio space, Spotify was the first to launch on Roblox with Spotify Island. Roblox users can mingle with artists, complete interactive quests, and unlock exclusive content. Players can also enjoy an immersive audio experience by creating music and exploring sounds at the virtual beat-maker stations powered by Soundtrap. Spotify has pointed to customisation and creativity as key elements for its Roblox experiences.
Radio and audio company, iHeart Media, is experimenting with its iHeartLand, an always-on immersive visual entertainment space (including gaming, live events, music, etc.). Their goal is to adopt a careful and strategic approach, always sponsored and co-built with advertisers (insurance company State Farm currently has exclusive naming rights to the events arena).
For iHeart, the metaverse is a way to reach and attract new audiences, especially amongst Gen Z, by being present where they are. iHeart has already been successful with a music event/concert they organised in iHeartLand, attracting a huge amount of people and all this thanks to the promotion on their radio stations. iHeartLand is currently both on Roblox and Fortnite.
First 3D audio campaign in the metaverse
In November 2022, RMS Germany (the leading national radio and audio sales house) implemented the first 3D-audio campaign in the metaverse. The test campaign could be experienced in Decentraland - a virtual 3D world with around 300,000 active users per month. The aim of the campaign was to highlight the relevance of audio in the metaverse and explore the advertising opportunities for brands in the metaverse. It is only through the spatial representation of sound that virtual experiences can become truly immersive after all.
The two-week 3D-audio campaign led to 167,000 campaign contacts in the target group of Gen Z (12-25) and tech-savvy first movers of all ages. The campaign was accompanied and implemented using the in-house technology of 42Meta, the first German ad-tech startup to offer programmatic advertising in the metaverse. While the metaverse has so far focused on visual components, the audio campaign provided an immersive experience for the first time. The results were very positive: an above-average engagement rate and a 90% listen-through rate.
Listen to the spot and get a free NFT
RMS implemented a well-thought-out campaign based on activation and interaction of users in Web 3.0. Visitors to Decentraland were made aware of the campaign via display areas - so-called metacubes. In order to direct the avatars to the designated areas, video clips ran with the call-to-action “NFT for free”, which called for an audio spot to be listened to. Anyone who listened to the spot to the end received a free NFT in the form of a t-shirt uploaded to their wallet.
Opportunity for experiments
The stakes of experimenting with the metaverse are relatively low at the moment, allowing companies to try out different formats and attempt to engage with audiences. Sound and music are one of the key components of virtual experiences giving radio and audio publishers the opportunity to get a foothold in the space before it becomes mainstream, co-fund initiatives with clients and learn about the possibilities of the existing virtual worlds to be ready for the future.