OOH Lessons From the Metaverse
Important takeaways for the OOH industry
The potential for OOH
Over the last 14 years, Facebook has changed the world. Some of it for the better, and some for the worse. Since 2016, the tech giant has been mired in scandal after scandal, from political manipulations to whistleblower leaks exposing the dark side of social media. At the same time, the younger generations are leaving the platform (or very likely, not even starting with it) for newcomers like TikTok, which offer a more immersive, collaborative, and creative experience.
For these and other reasons, the Zuckerberg-founded firm decided change was in order. Taking cues from Google and their abrupt embrace of the name Alphabet , Facebook has rebranded as Meta. Their goal: to move beyond their social media origins and expand into the digital horizon of augmented and virtual reality known as the Metaverse. While it remains to be seen if this new focus can gain back what the firm has lost, there are some important takeaways for the OOH industry:
The youth are leading the way
Meta’s hyper-focus on the 18–29-year-old demographic is telling. That the company is willing to alienate its older, loyal demographic in the name of appealing to their Gen Z kids and grandkids, underlies the economic potential of this age cohort. Tech-savvy, social conscious, and with little of the brand loyalty of earlier generations, this generation already drives over 40% of consumer spending . To stay on top, OOH advertisers have to understand not only what this group wants but how they think.
The future is Meta, or is it?
From Fortnite Concerts to VR meeting rooms, there is a large push to embrace the shift to virtual reality. For some years now, examples of Augmented Reality enhanced OOH installations have been popping up around the world, entertaining and intriguing those who pass by. However, stepping further and further into a world that it as much virtual as it is real, does not paint an altogether rosy future. Legal experts are still playing catch up with the digital universe, and concepts like blockchain and NFTs are imperfect solutions to protecting digital assets. And Meta already runs the risk of seeing its new vision flop based on concerns around their ownership of user-created content. It still remains to be seen what shape this new reality will take and what role OOH will have in it.
The Metaverse is an exciting new concept straight out of science fiction. The idea of seamlessly blending the real world with the virtual one has everyone talking. The potential for OOH can seem right out of Minority Report. If we can take any lesson from Facebook’s newest push, it’s to remind us of how important it is not repeat the mistakes of our past when flying full steam ahead towards the future.
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