Home Advertiser When It Comes To Marketing In The Metaverse, Awareness Matters Most

When It Comes To Marketing In The Metaverse, Awareness Matters Most

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Invisalign's branded experience inside Roblox's Livetopia.

The emerging media channels that today’s youth gravitate to often lack the measurement and attribution infrastructure that performance-obsessed marketers rely on.

So, while brands want to be active in video games, on influencer-driven streaming video platforms like Twitch and in metaverse-like online games like Roblox, it can be hard for marketers to measure ROI in these spaces.

However, there is brand awareness value in being a pioneer in experimental media channels, said Raj Pudipeddi, chief product and marketing officer and APAC managing director for Align Technology, the parent company of Invisalign.

And for Invisalign, like with other early-adopter brands, the opportunity in new gaming and metaverse channels has more to do with driving awareness than increasing incremental sales.

“Our intent is to create great, immersive experiences that will eventually translate to consideration, interest and closure,” Pudipeddi said.

Awareness first

For the past few years, Invisalign has tried to raise its profile among young people by experimenting with ad placements on Twitch and building a network of influencers that swear by its alternative to braces. (After all, if you’re going to live in front of a webcam, it doesn’t hurt to have a straight smile.)

Although these types of campaigns lack closed-loop measurement capabilities, brands should have a general understanding of how brand lift helps drive business outcomes, Pudipeddi said.

“We have attribution models from consideration or interest all the way to what happens in a doctor’s office,” Pudipeddi said. “A user cannot get Invisalign unless a doctor examines the patient and prescribes the treatment. So, you’re trying to initiate that dialogue [with doctors].”

Because Invisalign has studied its awareness-to-adoption pipeline, its current focus for emerging media channels is to increase awareness among new audiences, Pudipeddi said.

“Seventy percent of patients in the US are still treated with wires and brackets,” Pudipeddi said. “We’re focusing on how to maximize engagement and interest, because once we do that, we have a pretty good idea of what will happen downstream.”

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Dental arcade

Invisalign’s latest campaign in the gaming/metaverse space centers on Roblox’s Livetopia role-playing game.

Livetopia now features an Invisalign-branded dentist’s office where gamers can play minigames that emphasize points of differentiation between Invisalign’s product and braces.

Invisalign's branded experience inside Roblox's Livetopia.

In one minigame, called The Big Game, players must score a touchdown while dodging opponents. The game features two gameplay modes. In Braces mode, the opposing team pursues the player avatar more aggressively (to evoke how food particles get stuck to braces). But in Invisalign mode, players get a speed boost from “Invisalign Confidence,” and it’s much harder for the opposing team to tackle them.

The other game, Movie Night, places players in a virtual movie theater loaded with snacks and concessions. The point of the game is to eat a set number of snacks, but the player can’t eat any of the food on display until they pick up an Invisalign power-up.

Both of these minigames were designed with input from Roblox game developers and Invisalign’s creative partners. When players win either game, they collect a virtual coin that can be redeemed for an Invisalign-branded outfit or other virtual goods for their avatar.

Invisalign's branded experience inside Roblox's Livetopia.

Invisalign is also using the relationships it has built with influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Lana Rae to drive audiences to its branded Roblox experience as part of its omnichannel “Drama Free” campaign.

Test and learn

Because gaming-related and metaverse-ish activations, and even influencer campaigns, are still experimental, Pudipeddi said brands should take a “test-and-learn” approach rather than apply their existing playbooks.

“This is a first-ever play for us, so we didn’t know what to do from a media reach and frequency standpoint,” Pudipeddi said. “We said, ‘First, let’s create an experience that’s interesting and engaging. And then we’ll learn from it.’”

Invisalign has already taken a few lessons from its early forays into gaming and the metaverse, Pudipeddi said. “You have to stay focused on your points of differentiation and the key messages you want to deliver,” he said.

And by experimenting with different gameplay experiences, Invisalign is learning what resonates better with its target audience. For example, the Movie Night minigame seems to be attracting more interest from players, so the brand is working with its game developers to understand why, Pudipeddi said.

By emphasizing points of differentiation between its product and braces through immersive gameplay experiences and influencer testimonials, Invisalign hopes to plant a seed of awareness that could grow into consideration and eventually a purchase. But Pudipeddi said closed-loop attribution and ROI tracking metrics are not immediate priorities.

“It’s more a question of charting new waters,” he said. “Is this truly incremental? We’ll find that out.”

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