Paul Smith, SVP of Sales at AdTonos, shares his insights into uncertainties surrounding the final form of the Metaverse and how it’s impacting the entertainment, music and audio industries.
Despite lingering uncertainties around the metaverse and it’s ‘final form’, the gamification of the entertainment, music, and audio industries is already in full swing: Spotify has launched its own island on Roblox, and musician Charli XCX follows a string of other musicians to partner up with a brand – in this case, Samsung – to create her own interactive Roblox adventure.
These latest ventures are the newest indication of what a future of audio, brand, and music collaboration will look like: an interactive amalgamation that brings artists and followers together in new, creative ways. For example, Charlie XCX’s guided tour culminates in a virtual concert on the 17th of June, where winning participants will be awarded with a place on stage right next to the superstar. Of course, this is far from the first iteration of its kind, as we have seen with Fortnite’s Travis Scott and Ariana Grande gigs before Roblox follows suit with Lil Nas X.
Fortunately, for marketers, this sound-driven space is ideal for audio advertising, brand sponsorship, and messaging to be folded into the mix fluidly.
An immersive sound-driven experience
These platforms are doing more than just building a visual display accompanied by music: as we can see with both “Spotify Island” and the various virtual concerts, interactivity, consumer creativity, and gaming are integral to the entire experience. It only works because there is more than watching involved.
When we look at what’s on offer – merchandise, gaming playlists, customised stages, personalised adventures – it is clear that brands, platforms, and musicians are constructing an entire ecosystem, with creativity, creation, and community engagement as its main pillars. With major industry players such as Microsoft and Netflix also developing that branch of their individual offerings – with ad-funded models providing the potential to expand their ever-widening horizons – this is explosive news for the audio advertising sector.
If immersion is the red thread running through all of these digital developments, then audio is a core element of that experience. Gone are the days of sound-off ads on social media news feeds, say hello to ads that can – and must! – bring the environment to life.
This bodes particularly well for audio advertising, as it promises a high level of engaged users – especially when ads are paired with other interactive elements and truly woven into the fabric of this expanding digital world. Mobile in-game advertising is already thriving: console is just the next natural step.
What the Gamers want
Gamers are a vocal community, quick to let brands and platforms know when they have crossed a line, so whatever steps are taken in terms of advertising, care and planning will be required. And while console will come with its own particular challenges, there are some of the lessons we have learned from mobile that can be taken and adapted.
As with any platform, there are unspoken rules to go by: which audio ad slots best into which kind of game, or the perfect time to do so. While certain best practices have emerged for mobile – mid-play ads for puzzles, setup, intermission or high score ads for sport or action games, and ads in exchange for rewards in adventure games – there is no doubt that more experimentation will be necessary to work out the particular parameters and framework for audio ads on console.
It’s worth noting that more hardcore console players – those who invest significant amounts of time and money into the activity – will be very suspicious and resentful of intrusive and interrupting ads, especially in comparison to casual gamers who are more used to an ad-funded model, so venturing out into the in-gaming audiosphere is no child’s play. As with any medium, it will require expertise, trusted partners, and a healthy dose of creativity, play, and a willingness to experiment.
Audio advertising will be crucial in the increasingly immersive gaming and entertainment space: let us not waste this opportunity.