The Metaverse Breaks Boundaries – Interview with Metas Asher Rapkin

Furthermore, the group recently introduced an NFT integration via Digital Collectibles for Instagram (which will soon be extended to Facebook). According to Asher Rapkin, this is just an option for creators to make more money now and in the Metaverse.

This integration gives creators the ability to monetize more—how exactly that will work in the metaverse isn’t clear yet. But there are other aspects tied to commerce. We will create solutions here that support creators and those that support creations [wie NFTs] create,

he explains. In order to be able to easily pay for products and content such as NFTs in the digital space or in virtual worlds, Meta would also like to optimize virtual payments. Rapkin emphasizes that appropriate solutions are being worked on without being able to go into detail. As part of the recent renaming of Facebook Pay to Meta Pay, Stephane Kasriel, Commerce and Financial Lead at Meta, provided more insight into this space.

Brands should not plan with technologies, but with corporate goals

For many brands and creators – as well as private users – despite the catchy features that Meta offers, it often remains unclear how they should act in the Metaverse themselves. Companies in particular should not desperately rely on metaverse integration if there is no reason for it. Asher Rapkin explains in an interview:

Meta’s goal is to design for goals, not based on existing technology. So the question marketers and brands should be asking is: what are you trying to achieve? And not: What technology are you trying to use. For example, if you ask yourself: who is the right customer for me? Then you can find the answer for products on Instagram or WhatsApp, but maybe also in the metaverse in the future.

What is particularly relevant in this context is that the metaverse, as we are talking about it, is not yet an everyday reality. Rather, it is a space full of potential that can still be modulated by all users.

The metaverse is currently giving us the opportunity to think about the potentials. It’s a real gift for creators. So, ironically, the biggest possibility today is to think about it. Because we don’t normally have this option,

so rapkin. Meta has a 10-year vision for the Metaverse, but it doesn’t need to take 10 years for certain usage patterns to materialize. Rapkin is certain that developments in this area will progress incrementally.

The Great Opportunity: “Experiences that are fundamentally different from anything possible in the physical world”

One of the greatest opportunities for both marketers and storytellers of all kinds will be detachment from the physical world. Because the physical rules that restrict us, for example, to lectures on stage, in conversations with colleagues and also to marketing pitches on site, branding measures and the like do not apply in the metaverse. As Asher Rapkin explains on the OMR stage:

I could be a 100 foot teddy bear or a cricket in the wind – whatever I choose to be, however I choose to express myself.

Asher Rapkin on the Blue Stage at OMR Festival 2022, © OMR

Accordingly, creators and brands should ask themselves how they can tell their stories in a sphere that imposes few limits on them. In an interview with OnlineMarketing.de, Rapkin emphasizes:

We often try to move physical interactions and experiences into the virtual world. But if physics doesn’t matter and limits are removed, you can ask yourself: what would I want to create if there were no physical limits. What story would I tell, what experience can I create, what commerce can I promote. These will be the key questions we will be asking ourselves over the next few years. This is how virtual worlds and experiences can be created that are fundamentally different from anything that is possible in the physical world.

So many possibilities and great ambitions could also have a deterrent effect on creators, marketers and co. But Rapkin says the metaverse is the space for a logical evolution of the processes we’re already using today. And technologies that are currently accompanying us would only be supplemented.

It’s just different and it’s new. But all other technologies will stay, that was the case with all technologies so far. And if you’re a good marketer, you’re a good marketer; whether you develop for the metaverse or for print. So there are many opportunities.

Monetization and Commerce in the Metaverse

Although there are certainly some industries that are already more familiar with accessing the Metaverse — think of Balenciaga’s integration, for example Fortnite – this sphere, like the internet and the now central mobile internet, is a space for all sectors. Selling NFTs or clothing might be an obvious use case for Metaverse Commerce. “If you want to sell clothes to an avatar, that’s an option, you can do it, there’s a place to do it. But it’s not the only option,” says Asher Rapkin. And he explains that all brands can take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

I think the most successful brands will be those that take the time to think about the potential. But I don’t think that brands from certain verticals shouldn’t think about integration, just like mobile and display advertising did before.

Just being there can be the best way to establish yourself in the Metaverse. Ultimately, what people expect in the Metaverse is ultimately determined by the creators who offer the first experiences and content or stories there. Therefore, Meta will also use this content to further understand the development and only introduce new monetization models based on such experiences:

We want to understand how people interact in the metaverse before pushing monetization. We’re spending $150 million on education in this area over the next three years. Because good art leads to good commerce. And the creators help us to understand what people want and expect to experience in the virtual worlds. In addition, we may also find out aspects of use that we had not previously had on the radar.

The first creator tools for monetization in the metaverse are already available, initially related to Horizon Worlds.

Entering the Metaverse

The main focal point will be the idea of ​​consuming 3D content and then entering the worlds.

That explains Rapkin in terms of how we, as users, can approach the Metaverse. We don’t necessarily have to wear a headset and immerse ourselves completely in the virtual world.

There is often an assumption that the only way to enter the metaverse is with a headset; but there are plenty of ways to get Metaverse experiences, even through traditional media and hardware. I can be in a virtual world, thanks to Meta Quest, or I can watch a virtual world live on Facebook – and those options aren’t competing, they’re going to be complementary.

The overlapping of the virtual and physical world was also evident at the Meta stand at the OMR trade fair. Here visitors could get to know different products at the physical event. According to Rapkin, even events like the OMR Festival could be expanded by the potential of the Metaverse in the future:

We could see places where the virtual and physical worlds overlap. The OMR Festival is also limited by the physical world. And so a lecture in virtual reality could also demonstrate things in a way that I could not implement on the physical stage alone.

According to Rapkin, however, virtual worlds will not necessarily be considered a substitute for physical meetings – for example in the office context. You will be able to complement them more easily. Meta is developing numerous new solutions for this – with more and more new jobs in this area, also in Europe.

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The best advice for people to understand the Metaverse, according to Asher Rapkin, is to find a way into it. So I took the opportunity and tested the Meta Quest Experience at Meta’s OMR booth to experience the Meta Horizon Workrooms firsthand. Instead of describing this immersive experience, here I am providing a demo of Meta depicting this virtual world:

The metaverse must convey a fundamental sense of presence,

says Rapkin on the OMR stage. This presence can be experienced more and more impressively through Meta’s efforts. But it is still conveyed through the physical presence of Asher Rapkin, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. But that is likely to change soon.

You can watch Asher Rapkin’s entire presentation at OMR in the video:


We would like to thank Asher Rapkin and Meta for the many insights shared with OnlineMarketing.de. Some of the features and products Asher Rapkin talked about, such as the Meta Quest 2 headset or the monetization tools for Horizon Workrooms, are not yet available in Germany.

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