Editor’s note 10/12/22: A previous version of this article had incorrect information about how Atlas Earth’s shopping experiences work. That information has been corrected.

The metaverse is, as many now call it, “the future of the internet.” In that future, mixed reality (XR) — also called hybrid or extended reality —  is expected to transform the way all industries do business, especially how they communicate with their customers. However, some companies are already attempting to create that future. One example is Atlas Earth — a mobile-first gaming experience provider that enables players to buy virtual real estate, cash out. Although players aren’t able to shop with Atlas’ merchant partners in the metaverse, any real-world shopping they do with the partners has in-game effects in Atlas’ metaverse world.

At MetaBeat 2022, metaverse thought leaders and enterprise decision-makers gathered to provide guidance on the evolution of the technology and its implications for the enterprise.

Sami Khan, cofounder and CEO at Atlas Earth, Ethan Chuang, vice president of loyalty solutions at Mastercard Advisors, and Mike Paley, senior vice president of business development at Atlas Earth, discussed the possibilities of a metaverse that creates value for brands, customers and end-users — even in a recession. 

What marketers need from the metaverse

According to Khan, creating value across the board is a virtuous cycle that builds a positive ecosystem as it moves from making a good product to marketing it effectively, attracting more investors and eventually building an even better product. 

This is why companies like Mastercard are excited about jumping on new experiences like the ones that Atlas Earth — a product made by Atlas Reality — offers in the metaverse.

“What marketers and retailers are looking for is basically access to consumers in the channels of their choosing,” said Chuang.

The metaverse does a good job at “extending reach to a segment of the audience that many marketers and retailers prize,” Chuang added.

However, how are marketers investing in this new terrain?

Experimental budgets vs. performance marketing

In understanding the principles and considerations that drive marketers’ spending, Khan and Paley offered two perspectives: experimental budgets and performance marketing, respectively.

Khan described the experimental budget as similar to the 70-20-10 rule.

“Seventy percent of your budget, you put in things you are sure will work and you barely need to check every day. You put 20% in things you think should work but you have to closely monitor and improve. 10% of the budget, you put in things you’re sure won’t work but you feel you have to do because of FOMO (fear of missing out) — and if it does work, it could be part of the 80%,” he said.

Paley presented a contrasting view that avoids experimental budgeting — and marketing — altogether.

“What I want to do is put my money into channels that are going to deliver positive returns on ad-spend,” Paley said. 

For platforms like Atlas Earth, where brands can set up shop and have players purchase items. Using the Atlas Merchant Platform (AMP), brands can partner with Atlas Earth and players can earn virtual in-game currency for every single dollar spent with a merchant brand, and in return, players can earn in-game currency.

Paley noted that the “experiment” is not to test whether the channel will work or not — the real question is whether it will be “good” or “great.”

Why the metaverse is a win-win for the enterprise

In today’s marketplace “where customers want things now,” according to Paley, the metaverse might just get more valuable.

Speaking to how that works, he said, “the metaverse is about bringing disparate parties together for real-time experiences, and anytime there is the opportunity to increase the value of the experience of the person having it in the real world, you’re delivering on something special.”

For enterprise decision-makers like Khan, Chuang and Paley, a healthy metaverse ecosystem seems possible. However, they agreed that it will happen only when stakeholders achieve a balance between generating value for users and getting good — or even great — ROI on their marketing investments.

In Khan’s words, “It is our job collectively to think about how we can build a healthy win-win ecosystem as quickly as possible … because the technology will surely evolve and get better, but we cannot wait for that to happen.”

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