Dating gets hot in the meta verse, Per Reddit Data Exclusive

It’s spring and romance is blossoming in the meta-verse, according to new Reddit user data. And there are great opportunities for brands of all kinds – from interior design brands to food subscription services – to get involved.

Lovers are eager to engage in the meta-verse to meet new people, according to Reddit exclusive data. And after more than two years of the pandemic, they are more ready than ever to flirt – in these budding virtual spaces. In fact, over the past six months, Reddit has seen a 249% increase in mentions of “meetings” within VR interest groups.

So what are the reasons for this trend? And what does it say about the future of relationships – and the form of the meta-verse in the future?

1. Cosplay made easy (passion, Star Wars style)

With IRL socializing and traveling subject to evolving Covid-related restrictions, consumers are beginning to turn to virtual reality (VR) and new virtual ecosystems to immerse themselves in new experiences. In fact, sales of VR headsets have increased by 92% year over year.

On Reddit, this trend has been particularly pronounced – Redditors are 125% more likely than the general public to want to engage in the meta-verse and meet new people and are 42% more likely to prefer to spend time online rather than in person. Redditors are twice as likely as the general public to be interested in “joining the metaverse” – and this is reflected in their activity on the social site: Screen views of r / VRchat subreddit have increased by 193% between March 2020 and March 2022.

And more than ever, they are interested in meeting potential romantic partners in virtual spaces. Not only can users meet people living all over the world, but with new virtual spaces and virtual reality features, users can engage in new activities and invest deeper in their interests and passions.

“It’s not just you and me [might be] Star Wars fans; we can literally plunge into a Star Wars universe and … unfold that passion in real time in a way that does not require me to travel the world and buy a lot of things, dress up or cosplay like you otherwise would, ”says Rob Gaige, Director of Partner Insights at Reddit. “We can do it in a much more relaxed way. You generate a more honest connection on a par with a passion – compared to where in [face-to-face] the dating world, where it’s a little more superficial.

2. Reality can not be kept away forever (let’s meet at the local dining room)

Long-distance relationships, mostly virtual, are rarely set up to be successful – in fact, the average long-distance relationship lasts less than five months. Clearly, even if Internet users find love in new spaces, they can not escape the real world forever. Couples need to experience shared physical intimacy, quality time and genuine communication to ensure they have a healthy and successful partnership.

But what Gaige and the Reddit team have discovered is that for couples who have found love in the meta-verse, these virtual spaces and experiences will continue to play a role in their real relationships. “We’re already seeing indications of this kind of hybrid relationship where just because you met in Metaverse and you’re in real life now does not mean you’re leaving Metaverset,” Gaige explains. “It’s not like having the Tinder app where you delete the app afterwards [you’ve found a relationship]. “

Instead, he predicts that the metaverse will remain an integral part of these IRL romances. “We may be physically together, but we need to get back into this world and have a date now [Star Wars’] tattoo. He sees this hybrid relationship as the next phase of what has just begun.

And it can just help these couples stay happy in the long run. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of married couples with common interests cite this as a reason for the success of their marriage.

3. Different types of conditions (“everything is fine” is the new norm)

The metaverse is also ripe to form different types of relationships. Gaige suggests that double dating becomes more fluid as couples do not have to live close by to meet. At the same time, he predicts in a virtual environment with lower stakes that it will provide users with “a secure environment to unlock less traditional relationship structures – things like promoting role-playing and promoting non-monogamous relationships.” For this reason, he reckons that Gen Z – a much more sexual and gendered generation – will be particularly interested in dating metavers.

And as romance picks up on the metaverse, so do other forms of interaction. Users are increasingly turning to virtual reality and the possibilities of new technology, not only to get in touch with long-distance friends and romantic partners, but even to immortalize loved ones who have passed away. Interest in leveraging new technologies to spend time with the deceased may be growing as Reddit user behavior reflects an increase in support group activity – from March 2020 to March 2022, the platform saw an increase of 201% ir / grief support screen views.

The idea is budding, but Gaige and her team are keeping a close eye on how it can evolve. “Could we create non-playable characters that exist as past imprints of people you knew?” he says. “It’s something we’ve seen repeated over and over again in culture – concerts with holograms of deceased people [artists] pretty much all pieces of science fiction. But it is now a real possibility where people are considering encoding these personalities and interacting with them.

He says he was surprised that there was less demand for interaction with celebrities and more demand for catching lost loved ones. “I thought it might be more about celebrities – like, here’s my chance to hang out with Beyoncé. It’s not. It’s like, ‘I really want my grandmother – and it would be great, if I could code my grandmother so my son or daughter could meet their great-grandmother. ‘

Implications for marketers (hey, there is money to be made here)

The explosion of interest in metaverse relationships presents a wide range of valuable opportunities for brands.

Brands can also dig deeper into the fandom’s cash cow to drive new types of engagement. They can host virtual activities or events to help users meet other fans who share their passions. Nintendo fanatics could walk around Peach’s Castle together while the Potterheads play a virtual quidditch game.

Another important way for brands to find value in space is to leverage the new crypto-business economy. As the world is already reflected in the high fashion industry’s entry into NFTs, there are countless opportunities for brands to help outfit avatars and allow users to introduce themselves to mixers, metavers, or on dates that feel like the most authentic version of itself. Brands can offer a variety of clothing options, accessories, accessories, makeup, body modifications or even cars, bikes or scooters.

But the business implications of token-based interactions go much deeper. “[On a date in the metaverse] I’m not bound by what restaurants are within my budget, or even close to, or the type of food [we] would like because I create an immersive experience, ”says Gaige. As a result, he says, NFTs and tokens will serve as vehicles to create unique dating experiences. “We’re going to see more of that, like, ‘Hey, I created a special experience [for you]… I’m going to buy a special song that I can play for you to show you how much I love you. This is a great opportunity for brands.

The Reddit team believes that certain industries may be better positioned to succeed early. Luxury goods and fashion are obvious early users, and Gaige draws attention to Metaverse’s booming real estate market (real estate sales in Metaverse peaked at $ 500 million in 2021 and may double this year, according to a recent CNBC report). “[Companies are] rebuild famous buildings, famous grounds [in the metaverse]. In some ways, your dream home has to be in the virtual space, and you do not necessarily need it in the right space, ”says Gaige.

Similarly, he predicts that design brands will see new opportunities multiply. “I see Herman Millers in the world, and they should jump right in and develop a mid-century modern ethos in this space. Any designer – Kelly Wearstler – if I were the brand manager for these guys, that’s what I wanted. do for them.

Will Cady, director of Reddit’s creative strategy arm, KarmaLab, predicts that food subscription services like Blue Apron may see new opportunities as long-distance couples try to connect in new ways.

In the end, the space is so incipient that the possibilities are almost endless, Cady says. “It is to a certain extent open fields – there are new habits and new rituals that can be formed that have not been formed yet. For example, I had a wedding in Metaverset and it was this whole new moment. There were about 200 people online and about 10 people personally IRL. It’s something that did not exist before. What are the business opportunities to make a wedding in the meta verse something that [offers a] good experience for all guests? ”

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