To say a lot has changed since I last wrote about the Metaverse in July 2022 would be an understatement.
Back then, the idea of the Metaverse was much more exciting than its operational state. That’s because, holistically, the technical hurdles in Mark Zuckerberg’s vision have been incredibly high.
I’ll unpack what this future could look like. But first, let’s break down why AI will be a critical piece of it.
Web 3.0 and the Evolution of the Semantic Web
In a nutshell, the global shift from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 is like moving from a giant digital library with millions of books to an interconnected neural network.
The core of this transition is the semantic web, often referred to as the “brain” of Web 3.0. In this neural network, content isn’t just stored in separate buckets — it’s interlinked.
Let’s say a student is researching the effects of climate change on polar bears. In the current Web 2.0, they might find numerous articles, videos, and websites about polar bears in their general searches.
But with the semantic web, the student will find an interconnected map of extensive knowledge. It might show the direct effects on polar bears, link it to the broader impact on the Arctic ecosystem, show related global trends, and even predict future scenarios.
AI-backed smart contracts on the blockchain will also allow students to access premium scholarly articles or databases instantly, ensuring they get well-rounded insight.
This transition from accessing to understanding online content will be central to higher education’s digital transformation.
So How Will Web 3.0 Impact Higher Ed Marketers?
As the web becomes more intelligent, it will enable higher ed marketers to craft more targeted, relevant campaigns.
Instead of broadly reaching out to potential students, the semantic web can provide insights into what each student is truly interested in.
For example, if a student often engages with content about environmental science, a school can present tailored ads or content in that field to that student.
Web 3.0 technology will enable higher ed marketing to become more personalized, more relevant, and ultimately, more effective.Click to tweet
And someday, maybe sooner than you think, the Metaverse will be at the heart of it.
Beyond the Hype of an AI-Enhanced Metaverse
The general excitement around the Metaverse cooled off after its early surge. But many businesses still believe it’s a lucrative investment in what will soon be their biggest target demographic — Gen Z.
Post-ChatGPT, several experts believe the true realization of the Metaverse’s potential might lie in integrating advanced AI.
Of course, this technological fusion will impact every corner of academia. It will kick off a new era of learning. Physical campuses will merge with virtual classrooms, offering an “Extended Reality” (XR) beyond traditional boundaries.
For higher ed marketers, this means immersive virtual campus tours, AI-driven virtual college fairs, or interactive info-sessions in virtual realms.An AI-enhanced Metaverse will empower prospective students to experience the campus vibe without geographical constraints.
The Future of Personalized Marketing
Picture this scenario — a prospective marine biology student named “Maya” is considering enrolling in one of several schools.
Your college or university’s marketing team, leveraging an AI-enhanced Metaverse, invites Maya to a personalized virtual deep-sea expedition.
There, she can swim alongside virtual whales, explore vibrant coral reefs, and interact with marine life. And she does it all while being guided by an AI-driven avatar of your institution’s leading marine biologist.
That may sound like science fiction, but uncanny “deepfake” videos were already making waves during the pandemic.
Since then, we’ve seen advances in photo-realistic AI avatars that were unfathomable before ChatGPT.
And it won’t be long until they can convincingly interact with people in real-time.
Now granted, this technology is still finding its legs, and the cost barrier for custom XR development and peripherals (like VR headsets) is still a little high. Part of the problem is there’s just not enough demand… yet.
But eventually, this technology will be as commonplace as wireless phones, and higher ed marketers will have nearly limitless opportunities to take advantage of it.
Collaboration and Community in the Metaverse
This Web 3.0 revolution won’t just signal a shift in how students learn.
In an AI-enhanced Metaverse, colleges and universities can foster global collaborations and engage with their extended community in intimate virtual experiences.
For example, let’s say your school wants to promote its groundbreaking research in sustainable energy. Instead of simply publishing research papers or press releases, the marketing team can craft an interactive, virtual lab within the Metaverse.
Traditional webinars will become dinosaurs as higher ed marketing teams utilize an AI-enhanced Metaverse to create virtual sessions that are engaging and tangible.
Of course, the possibilities aren’t limited to professional partnerships. In an AI-enhanced Metaverse, you can eliminate the physical distance barrier for your alumni events and tailor them to the attendees:
- Virtual reunions and celebrations
- Networking opportunities
- Philanthropy and fundraising
- Mentorship and career development
- Recreated nostalgic moments
- Continuous learning and skill enhancement
We all know how critical engaged alumni are to your school’s brand perception and bottom line. In time, the Metaverse will be invaluable in helping your marketing team nurture those relationships.
The AI-Enhanced Metaverse Will Radicalize Personalization in Higher Ed Marketing
With the rise of Web 3.0 and generative AI’s inevitable influence on the Metaverse, higher ed marketers are on the precipice of a new era.
It’s a lot for any single person to try to keep up with.
That’s why my team and I at Caylor Solutions are ready to navigate this constantly evolving digital frontier alongside you.
If you need help preparing your school for Web 3.0, or if you just have questions, reach out to us!
After all, innovation never stands still, and neither should your school.
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