Metaverse Marketing and the Future of the Internet  

October 29, 2021

The metaverse isn’t a trend. It’s not a buzzword. It’s the future of marketing online.

There’s a reason Facebook recently changed its name to Meta, after all. The metaverse is an emerging and immersive approach to how we interact and engage digitally with other people—and other brands. Like the advent of social media before it, the metaverse will become a fundamental shift in consumer behavior online, blurring the lines between what we once understood as traditional e-commerce and brick-and-mortar experiences. More and more marketers are beginning to talk about the metaverse, discovering what’s possible for brands of all sizes. And, we should all be embracing what’s on the horizon.

Let’s take a look at what the metaverse ultimately is, reviewing both its implications and its opportunities.

What is the Metaverse?

The term “metaverse” has seemingly come out of nowhere, and it’s sent the imaginations of tech-savvy observers into overdrive. In reality, it’s a simple concept. But the impact of the metaverse is already being felt far and wide, and that won’t change for a long time.

In short, the metaverse is any immersive virtual space in which people can interact with each other, or with brands. A common example of the metaverse can be seen in video games like Roblox, Minecraft and Animal Crossing. In these games, the player controls their character, but that character shares space with other characters from all corners of the world. Increasingly, marketers are using that virtual space to advertise their products, whether it be through conventional ads or through virtual experiences that allow players to interact with that brand’s product offerings.

While the idea of the metaverse has always existed in some form, it’s taken an additional level of prominence in pandemic life. Now, people don’t need to physically be together to share their lives—they can meet in the metaverse.

Why is the Metaverse Important?

It’s not hard to imagine eyes rolling in marketing boardrooms when the subject of the metaverse is broached for the first time. Just when they’d got internet marketing figured out, young people have to change the entire landscape.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. People are literally building their own worlds and spending their time in those worlds. They’re not consuming traditional forms of media, and they’re not leaving their houses (whether because of Covid or of their own accord). Instead, the metaverse is a place where they can do what they want, with the people they want, all without leaving their homes. And most importantly, they’re spending money in the metaverse.

It’s this part of the metaverse that has marketers curious. Marketing, as we all know, is about meeting people where they are and speaking their language. Therefore, the metaverse is the next step in Internet marketing. People will use ad blockers to block banner ads and skip past YouTube ads without even thinking about them. But they might see a brand that embraces the metaverse in a different light. Hence, Burberry’s presence in Animal Crossing, and Animal Crossing players—who might never have even heard of Burberry otherwise — are designing their own Burberry clothes in the metaverse.

The Metaverse and Marketing

Burberry’s involvement in Animal Crossing is just one example of how brands can embrace the metaverse and find success. Countless brands have been featured in Fortnite promotions, giving them a digital presence alongside millions of rapt Fortnite players. There’s also a massive push for brands to find room in the lucrative Roblox landscape. This is especially true of music artists, who stand to benefit from an audience that’s demonstrated support of previous acts on the platform—a Lil Nas X concert on Roblox was attended by 34 million people.

Just because marketers might not be overly familiar with the metaverse doesn’t mean that it’s not an extremely powerful tool. And while it might be true that the metaverse is dominated primarily by younger consumers without tons of buying power, those people will soon be able to make their own purchasing decisions. Brands would do well to get in front of these people as soon as possible to start cultivating a favorable impression in the minds of these consumers.

Besides, it’s not as though the metaverse can’t bring immediate financial rewards. Roblox users spent $319 million on in-game currency in the second quarter of 2020. That money could just as easily be spent on the right cross-promotional avatar or clothing item. Case in point, NFL-themed skins in Fortnite generated $50 million for Epic Games. These revenue streams are out there right now — they’re just waiting for the right marketer to come up with the right idea. Metaverse marketing is a virtual goldmine, and that’s been proven many times over.

The Metaverse’s Impact on the Internet

Although the metaverse has already changed plenty about digital marketing, there’s a bigger picture to the metaverse—its overall impact on the Internet. Quite simply, it’s entirely possible that the metaverse could be the next phase of the Internet.

We’re already seeing this in the form of NFTs—something most people had never even heard of until a few months ago. And yet, NFTs are now a household name, even if the average person would never even dream of purchasing one. The idea of the metaverse isn’t too far off from this concept. Maybe we don’t love the idea of living in the metaverse, but most of us are already participating in it in some form, whether it be through online gaming, online video chat services or interactive mobile apps.

The main reason why the metaverse could pose a threat to the Internet as it exists today is the amount of money being poured into it. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced plans to invest $50 million into researching the metaverse. Epic Games raised $1 billion to invest into the development of products geared for the metaverse. The big players are already in the metaverse, and they’re doing everything they can to corner the eventual metaverse market. With that type of substantial investment will come incentive for users to embrace the metaverse. Today’s Facebook experience might pale in comparison to what the metaverse has in store tomorrow.

What exactly will that tomorrow look like? Nobody is quite sure. The metaverse is still a very new phenomenon. Tech’s biggest names have yet to scratch the surface of what’s possible.

What we do know, though, is that the metaverse isn’t going away. It has the potential to change the Internet in drastic ways, potentially making it unrecognizable from its current state. That’s why it’s so important for marketers to be aware of the metaverse and keep tabs on developments within this space. Your business might not have the metaverse on its radar right now, but that could change very quickly. Keep up on developments within the metaverse, and be ready to pounce on the right opportunity—because if you don’t, someone else will, and they’ll get a cut of the tremendous sums of money flowing through the metaverse.

The metaverse is new and not going anywhere. From work meetings to e-commerce, travel experiences to basic social interactions with others, it will change everything we know about marketing on the internet and on social media. As marketers and brands, we need to be open and ready to embrace the opportunities that continue to unfold. To learn more about how the metaverse might impact your company’s marketing strategy and how best to leverage what’s next, contact us at Commit Agency today.