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Marketing Will Be Different in the Metaverse. Are You Ready?

Mark Zuckerberg got the world’s attention late in 2021 when he announced that Facebook would become Meta and that he intended the newly rebranded company to be at the forefront of the development of the metaverse. Online games and virtual worlds are already heavily populated, and these digital spaces are only the beginning of what the metaverse can be. And where there are people, advertising is sure to follow. There’s plenty of potential for marketing in the metaverse, but right now, it’s a largely untapped market. Here’s your guide to metaverse marketing and how it could work in this new virtual world.

What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a shared digital space, or a series of interconnected spaces. It’s like a video game, in that you can create a custom virtual avatar and use it to explore those digital spaces. But it’s much more than a game. The metaverse is a persistent environment that exists in real-time. This means time passes at the same pace in the metaverse as in the real world. It also means the metaverse exists whether you’re in it or not.

Right now, most of the digital spaces that fit this description are video games. Fortnite, Minecraft, Animal Crossing,and Roblox are all examples of virtual worlds that exist even after you log out. And some of these worlds are massive. Roblox, for instance, has 43 million daily users and 200 million monthly users.

Then there are the new breed of metaverse spaces. The Sandbox and Decentraland are two relatively new platforms, where users can create their own games and other digital content. Unlike other platforms, on The Sandbox and Decentraland these digital assets can have real-world value that’s tied to the blockchain.

Marketing in the Metaverse

Remember when the internet was new? Many people considered it to be a fad, that it wouldn’t be something the world would be interested in for the long term. But here we are 30 years later, and the internet has changed life in ways most people could never have predicted.

That’s where the metaverse is right now. It’s a new technology and a new way of interacting with the world. And there are naysayers who think it’s not going to go the distance. As happened with the internet, it’s the early adopters who will most benefit from this new tech. In order to avoid getting left behind, companies should be thinking now about how they can create their own branded experiences in the metaverse.

The metaverse is full of potential, especially when it comes to opportunities for marketing and advertising. Think 3D immersive experiences—fully customized and branded—deployed as a supplement to the company’s website. Or they might be used for client meetings, recruiting and onboarding employees, or showcasing products.

The Roblox Gucci Garden

One early example of how effective the metaverse can be as a marketing tool is that of the Gucci Garden digital experience on the Roblox platform. For its 100th anniversary, Gucci created its first-ever metaverse marketing experience: the Gucci Garden. Open for just two weeks in May 2021, its themed virtual spaces echoed the company’s live multimedia exhibition in Florence, Italy.

Along with the Gucci Garden, this digital experience also included a store. Here, visitors could buy digital versions of Gucci wearables. Amazingly, one limited-edition handbag became so popular that it sold for several thousand dollars on the Roblox secondary market. Some people even paid more money for the digital bag than the retail price of its real-word counterpart.

Key Aspects of Marketing in the Metaverse

The Metaverse Is Immersive and Engaging

The success of all marketing strategies relies in part on how engaged your audience is with your brand. That means that if you can find your audience in a place where they’re already engaged, you have a head start.

The metaverse is the ideal environment, then, because it’s an inherently engaging one. It’s immersive, meaning that when someone’s in the metaverse, their mind is fully occupied with that activity. Contrast this with TV, for instance, where most people aren’t just watching—they’re folding laundry or knitting or using their phone at the same time.

When someone’s in the metaverse, they’re less likely to be doing other activities at the same time. That makes it more immersive and engaging than most other activities and virtually any other advertising medium.

The Metaverse Is Data-Driven

One of the biggest advantages of digital advertising is that it both relies on and can generate data about your target audience. That data can tell you a lot about your audience, like:

  • Where they are
  • Their interests
  • Their likes and dislikes
  • How they respond to advertising

The metaverse is a data-driven medium precisely because it’s digital. It’s built using data, and every action people take in the metaverse generates more data. From the second they log into a metaverse environment, everything they do generates data. Once you know who your audience is, their data can help you develop and refine your digital marketing efforts.

The Metaverse Is a Cross-Channel Medium

One key aspect of the metaverse to keep in mind is that it’s not just one place or location. The metaverse comprises many different digital spaces, and they’re all different. While, eventually, many of these different digital spaces might be interconnected, at the moment that’s not the case. The online worlds of games like Fortnite and Animal Crossing are completely separate. They’re accessed via different platforms and different devices. And then there are worlds like Meta’s Horizon Worlds, which is accessed with virtual reality equipment.

The metaverse is a cross-channel medium, so marketers must be careful about where they choose to invest their efforts. You wouldn’t put the same content on Facebook as you would on Twitter or Instagram, right? The same principle is true for metaverse environments. It will be important to do careful research to ensure you’re putting your resources into spaces that have the audience(s) you’re looking for.

The Metaverse Is the Perfect Place for Experimentation

Digital advertising already exists in the metaverse. In Roblox communities, users can design their own advertising and then use in-game currency to buy advertising space. Users bid on advertising space in the same way advertisers bid on Google Ads space.

Since the Roblox user-base is primarily children under 16, advertising in Roblox worlds is often strange and sometimes downright incomprehensible. That makes it the perfect place for digital advertisers to experiment with their own strange and wonderful ideas as they work to appeal to their specific audience.

Then there’s the fact that in the metaverse, you’re not constrained by physics and other real-world limitations. Anything you or your marketing team can dream up can likely be implemented in some fashion. Particularly now, when the metaverse is new, there’s every reason for early adopters to be inventive and innovative and see where it takes them.

What Does All This Mean for Metaverse Marketing?

Given these key characteristics of the metaverse, one thing is clear: It’s the ideal platform for immersive experiential marketing campaigns. The metaverse is inherently immersive, and there are no limits on what you can create. That offers the potential to design some truly one-of-a-kind digital experiences. So what will metaverse marketing be all about?

Immersive Experiences

Some metaverse environments do offer native advertising, but it’s not always the best way to approach a digital marketing campaign. Instead, metaverse residents are more likely to be receptive to experiential marketing. You’re likely to get a positive result by providing digital experiences, rather than placing overt advertising in front of users.

This is already happening on more than one metaverse platform. Fortnite has hosted multiple musical artists, including Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmello. Meanwhile, Roblox hosted a concert given by Lil Nas X, a Twenty One Pilots concert experience, and a Warner Bros. block party. All these events garnered massive audiences of millions of people.

Community Engagement

On social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the ability of users to form communities is a big part of the appeal. This is also part of the appeal of the metaverse, but it’s important to remember that communities tend to develop their own cultures and languages. You can’t always just show up in a metaverse space, interact with those communities, and expect people to be immediately receptive.

It will be important for brands to do their research to figure out how best to interact with their audiences. In this respect, some forms of metaverse marketing might look more like influencer marketing. In these campaigns it’s all about individual interactions and personal connections, rather than big, splashy advertisements.


Gamification is simply the application of gaming concepts to other things. It’s a common feature of both live and virtual events, where it’s used to encourage attendees to participate in event content. It’s a feature of many metaverse environments, too, for the same reason. Games and game-like elements encourage participation, and therefore increase engagement. For instance, a gamification-focused campaign in the metaverse might encourage brand interactions with a system that awards points for taking certain actions. Users would then collect points to spend on branded digital swag for their personal avatars.

Digital Products and Collectibles  

The metaverse may be wholly digital, but people are still willing to spend real money on in-game items. As the Gucci Garden demonstrated, some people will go to considerable lengths to collect digital items, especially when their availability is limited. People love to collect things in the real world, and the same is true in the metaverse too.

In terms of marketing, that provides plenty of scope for creating digital versions of physical products. Sold as exclusive collectibles or given away as part of a marketing campaign, people happily snap these items up to customize their digital avatars and environments.

There are already lots of examples to bear this out. Along with the Gucci Gardens experience, other brands have developed and sold digital products. Fashion brand Balenciaga, for example, designed a range of products for Fortnite, while Nike developed digital products for Roblox, and Coca-Cola® designed its own range of NFTs for the Decentraland platform.

Marketing Is Entering the Metaverse. Don’t Get Left Behind!

The technology currently being used to access the metaverse isn’t quite where it needs to be in order for the metaverse to be readily available to lots of people. But it won’t be long before it is—and the future of marketing is in the metaverse. Understanding the metaverse will put you ahead of your competition. And it’s important to start thinking about metaverse marketing now to ensure your company doesn’t get left behind as the world takes this step forward into the future.

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