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2022 Global Customer Engagement Review

Hivestack launches metaverse-oriented research division

Hivestack

Toronto, Canada   Independent programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) ad tech company, Hivestack, has today announced the launch of a new research division that will focus on exploring in-store, programmatic media activation in the metaverse. Former Microsoft Research managing director and computer vision pioneer P. Anandan joins Hivestack as a special advisor to spearhead the initiative.

According to a recent eMarketer report advertisers spent $31B USD in 2021 in the US on retail media, with a path to $100B in the coming years. The findings of the report showed that the majority of the ad spend went to advertising on Amazon and Walmart’s digital assets. A growing trend is that large, big box retailers are implementing custom ad tech stacks with identity solutions to monetize their online marketplace as well as their physical stores. 

Metaverse stores will enable advertising opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers – in particular, their avatars, at the point of purchase – on virtual in-store walls, virtual digital endcaps, and even virtual in-store audio advertising. Preliminary research shows that consumer engagement in the metaverse will far exceed current online experiences and thus lead to deeper engagement with ensuing greater outcomes for advertisers.

Andreas Soupliotis, founder & CEO of Hivestack shared, “With the launch of our research division, we are prototyping how ad tech can be used to programmatically activate ad opportunities in virtual retail stores in the metaverse. In this environment, the consumer is technically inside their homes shopping via VR headsets, but their avatar is out-of-home. Much of Hivestack’s full-stack technology for digital out-of-home activation and monetization applies to retail metaverse advertising, but some important computer science gaps remain to be addressed. We launched this initiative to formulate the needed technology to make programmatic DOOH a success in the meta as well as the physical world.“

The use of meta and crypto-related concepts to buy and sell DOOH ads is already happening. As an example, Hivestack’s exclusive partner in Japan, LIVE BOARD (a wholly owned subsidiary of NTTDocomo and Dentsu Japan) have already started to experiment selling outdoor advertising space as NFTs, representing the first initiative in Japan to sell outdoor advertising rights as an NFT.

P. Anandan commented on his new role of special advisor at Hivestack, “I am thrilled to be advising Hivestack on this new direction of avatar-based out-of-home advertising. There are some important technology, product and engineering challenges that need to be addressed in order for marketers to benefit from this new generation of advertising.”

According to Anandan, there are many unanswered questions regarding how media payments will be made to metaverse retailers, with cryptocurrencies possibly being used. In such cases, RTB bid requests and responses between DSPs and SSPS would be based on cryptocurrency CPMs. With this, he is looking forward to helping Hivestack grow a research team that will address these new frontiers in ad tech and provide marketers with the solutions they will need to succeed in the burgeoning field of ‘Meta Marketing’.

Kevin McDonald, CEO of Kinetic Canada, commented, “The retail metaverse is opening up a new reality for consumers that blends the sensations of physical, out-of-home shopping with ease of mobile shopping.”

Kevin adds that Kinetic Canada is laser-focused on driving precise measurable outcomes for our clients. As the lines blur between consumers and their avatars, the combination of real-world, retail DOOH and metaverse retail digital out-of-home advertising is an important area of exploration to them and their clients.

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