G5, in partnership with LeaseLabs, is on a mission to empower clients to outsmart and outperform their competition through smarter marketing, unmatched marketing technology, and a deep bench of talent that puts marketing performance first. This blog was originally published by our partners at LeaseLabs. 

Multifamily property owners operate in a fiercely competitive industry where differentiation can often be rooted in unique amenities that go well beyond just laundry facilities, on-site parking, and free Wi-Fi. Today’s renters, especially Millennials and Gen Z, demand an experience—the more rich, interactive, and immersive, the better.

These generations of renters prefer to play a role in defining the brand—to have a say in what it means to them, or “to have agency,” as Adweek puts it. And, that includes the multifamily community in which they live or might want to live.

Some say the metaverse will deliver that kind of experience.  But for multifamily communities, the experience must start even before residents sign their lease — when they’re still prospects — and it must be baked into the property’s marketing and brand messaging.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the metaverse in multifamily marketing.

What Is the Metaverse?

Most commonly, the metaverse is incorrectly described as being synonymous with virtual reality (VR). However, VR is merely a way to experience the metaverse.

The metaverse replaces the flat, two-dimensional world of the web with a 3D (or in some cases even 4D) experience that is much more like real life. The metaverse iterates further than the Internet by placing everyone inside an embodied, virtual, or 3D version of the internet — on a nearly unending basis. And it’s built on rich, interactive, immersive experiences.

As envisioned by Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist, and writer, the metaverse is “an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations.”

But, you don’t watch or view the metaverse so much as you take part in it. Your very presence helps evolve it. In other words, we will constantly be within the internet, rather than have access to it. It is clear to see, then, that the kinds of marketing experiences that can be delivered in the metaverse will be limitless.

Moreover, the entire customer journey can unfold within the metaverse by enabling prospects to dig deeper, learn more, and ultimately close the deal—all in a single, cohesive experience that they play a role in defining.

Five Multifamily Marketing Opportunities via the Metaverse

#1 Virtual Tours and Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, process or service. A digital twin can be a digital replica of an object in the physical world, such as a building, a multifamily community, or even a whole city. Think of it as a bridge between the physical and digital world. Applied to the metaverse, it promises to take virtual tours to a whole new level.

Imagine being able to enable prospective residents to “test drive” your multifamily community — to get a taste of your community’s residents, the culture, the amenities, the actual apartment they would lease — the experience of living in your community, all before they ever set foot on your property. The metaverse can deliver all of that.

#2 Social Media

We’re at the precipice of the next era of social media interaction—one that will be fueled by increased interest in the metaverse. And the metaverse is more than trending — just ask Google, Facebook…oops…we mean Meta, Snapchat, Microsoft, Epic Games (owner of Fortnite), and Roblox.

Even without the onset of COVID-19, it was inevitable that Internet users would eventually have moved on from 2D apps centered on posting content to VR-inspired applications, where users can interact within their own virtual world.

 “Marketers will need to embrace emerging technology at a faster speed.”  – Forbes’ Tech Futurist and Metaverse Strategist, Cathy Hackl

So, now more than ever, multifamily communities must prepare themselves for the proliferation of the metaverse, especially if they hope to keep prospects and residents engaged.

#3 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Will search engines be the gateway to getting found in the metaverse? Having the keyword “metaverse” in a brand name, product or headline will be helpful for getting found in search and social channels by those seeking that type of interaction.

For local SEO, Google’s AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) technologies create 3D experiences direct from your local listings, and more. As a quick refresher, AR is an interactive experience of our actual real-world environment, where objects within the experience may be enhanced by computers. Think: Pokémon GO, or some new furniture apps being able to let you virtually see what a new dresser would look like in your bedroom. Still with us? Whew. OK, let’s get back to how this applies to local SEO and Google’s AR/VR technologies. Just like those furniture apps we mentioned, you can use AR to place 3D digital objects right in your own space directly from search or from websites on Chrome. This opens up possibilities and experiences we probably haven’t even begun to imagine for our renters and future renters.

The SEO bottom line is this: Deep content is at the heart of any SEO strategy. Content that serves a user’s needs will drive SEO rankings and organic search traffic. So, take an audit of your current content strategy to see how you can implement AR, VR, and 3D experiences into your marketing plans. 

#4 Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will also play a role in multifamily marketing in the metaverse. They’re not just for digital art. They’re coming to the real estate industry, too. And according to content published by Morgan Stanley in November 2021, NFTs have the potential to become a $56 billion market by 2030 and could see “dramatically” increased demand, thanks to the metaverse.

An NFT is anything digital that cannot be replaced as it doesn’t have a tangible value. The most common forms of NFT today are digital art. However, within the metaverse, an NFT can become so much more. With the ability to personalize avatars and spaces (like the apartments in your multifamily community), you can create branded virtual content for your residents and prospects.

#5 Creative Ways to Use AR and VR to Dip Your Toes Into the Metaverse

Now is the time to begin thinking about testing out the metaverse to determine how it can influence your marketing strategy. Here’s how:

  • Start creating content using AR.
  • Host or attend an event in VR on platforms such as AltSpace VR or Facebook Horizon.
  • Partner with creators and influencers who are already in the space to get a boost forward.
  • Create PR content using AR to stand out when pitching stories directly to an audience or to journalists.
  • Set up Google Alerts to follow “metaverse” in the news and to begin determining how your multifamily community can fit into the narrative.
  • Start interacting and following journalists, reporters, and analysts who are covering AR/VR and the metaverse.

Multifamily Marketing 

You need a MarTech partner who is no stranger to multifamily, so they can help you find the right “new shiny” tools to continually make your marketing that much better. As a part of RealPage, Inc., G5 and LeaseLabs are teaming up to be that source of marketing truth for your team. Schedule a demo to learn more about our partnership, and our combined offer.