Advertising in the metaverse

Would you like an introduction to the metaverse and the opportunities it offers to the advertising industry? Well, this article is here to help you understand and apprehend this digital world in construction, which is just waiting to be explored by advertising.

Article Summary: How much does a radio spot cost?

  1. What is the metaverse?
  2. Why advertise in the metaverse?
  3. Which brands started to invest in the metaverse?
  4. Who are the marketing targets in the metaverse?
  5. The future of advertising in the metaverse

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual and interconnected space of all possibilities. Indeed, in this universe, people can interact, work, study, play, make transactions, create… Only imagination and creativity can present barriers to this digital world.

With all this, we can already see ourselves immersed in this space with a VR (virtual reality) headset, navigating between meetings, games, creation… However, contrary to what the collective imagination suggests, it is not necessary to use a VR headset to evolve in the metaverse, and it is fortunate given the aftermath that its use can cause… Most multiverses are developed to be used on devices that we almost all own today: computers and smartphones. 

The metaverse of madness

At the moment, we can not talking about a single, centralized metaverse, but about multiple digital universes developed by different players in the field. The metaverse is still a work in progress that many companies are trying to invest in, giving birth to many embryonic platforms that claim to be future interconnected worlds. Few have opened to the public, like Decetraland. Many are still in the testing stage, at best in beta versions.

Here is the list of platforms that claim to be metaverses, open, or in the testing stage:

  • Alien Worlds
  • Axie infinity
  • Bloktopia
  • Decentraland
  • Gala Games
  • Illuvium
  • Meta Horizon Worlds
  • Microsoft Mesh Platform
  • Minecraft
  • Mobox
  • Polka City
  • Roblox
  • The Sandbox
  • Second Life
  • Star Atlas
  • Token Efinity
  • UFO Gaming

When the "multiverse of madness" is reality in the metaverse… 

Metaverse and video game: blurry borders?

The metaverse has many points in common with video games, which, in a way, blur the boundaries between metaverse and gaming: 

  • Avatars are the metaverse equivalent of video game characters. In both cases, they are supposed to represent the player in these virtual worlds.
  • Maps with cities that can be both real and imaginary 
  • Cities mean houses, in which it is possible to receive the characters or avatars of one's friends (you certainly did not miss the news about Snoop Dogg’s house in the metaverse of Sandbox, one of the leaders made in France) and that we can decorate (will the Animal Crossing fever do a comeback?)

  • And decoration means objects. Where a gamer will buy skins to customize his character, the metaverse user will be able to acquire digital objects or services of a certain value. Yes, we're talking about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) which have been making headlines quite a lot lately.
  • Each one has its own currency. Where you could get rich in "Bells" in Animal Crossing or in "Gil" in Final Fantasy, metaverses allow you to get rich in cryptocurrency specific to each platform.

Unlike video games, metaverses are introduced as platforms that serve users. They are free and anyone can access them as long as they create a wallet to store cryptocurrency. Users can fill their wallets by spending time in the metaverse, and, a fortiori, by being active members of the community or universe.

Why advertise in the metaverse?

Digital giants such as Microsoft, Apple, Sony or Facebook (which is now Meta) are investing massively in the metaverse and define it as the future of the internet, the Web3. 

Mark Zuckerberg says that the metaverse will be a huge business opportunity for companies. Meta aims to make the market reach hundreds of billions of dollars.

Let's not forget that commerce works hand in hand with advertising. And the expansion of the commercial market can only mean one thing: advertising will not be left behind.

It is likely that Meta will use the same recipe that has made it successful so far, namely ad targeting. However, it must be taken into account that Web3 is intended to be a network in which the protection of users' data takes precedence over everything else. However, it should not be forgotten that Meta is not the only player in Web3. It will not be the only one to set the rules of the game. 

If metaverses reproduce to a certain extent the principles of cities in a digital way, what is stopping us from having a billboard right next to Snoop Dogg's virtual house, a place that, we are pretty sure, must generate a lot of traffic.

Moreover, companies will certainly have to comply with the different legislations that will be established in a more or less near future: it is still difficult to discern the contours of the metaverse and the potential drifts to which it can lead. Unfortunately, those drifts are the ones that allow us to clearly define the framework laws.

Which brands started to invest in the metaverse?

Fashion designers, music labels, sports equipment brands, video game developers… Brands from all horizons invest in the metaverse as long as the path is clear. These brands do not use the digital universe for advertising purposes, per se. For most of them, it's about making a kind of publicity stunt, to show that they are aware of the metaverse stakes and to be among the first to be involved in this fertile field.

Capture d'écran de la map The Sandbox - 5 avril 2022.

In the Heights Block Party - Warner Bros. Pictures 

Affiche pour l'évènement virtuel In the Heights Block Party

For the release of the movie In The Heights (adaptation of the musical of the same name), Warner Bros. Pictures hosted a digital party on the Roblox servers. Visitors were immersed in the iconic musical universe of the Latin American neighborhood that is Washington Heights. Interactive mini-games, dance tutorials, backstage videos, and virtual objects were all part of the event.

Gucci Garden - Gucci

Visuel Gucci Garden sur Roblox

till on Roblox, this time it was Gucci who decided to deploy a virtual and interactive exhibition, the Gucci Garden. The avatars of the visitors became, for the occasion, mannequins wandering around the different shelves and absorbing the different elements of the exhibition, to emerge from the Gucci Garden in a unique creation.

Bière virtuelle - Heineken

The Dutch brewer Heineken also decided to contribute to the metaverse by presenting its latest product: the Heinkein Silver. A 100% virtual beer, only available on Decentraland. For this release, the brand manager, Bram Westenbrink, held a virtual press conference on Decentraland servers.

Who are the marketing targets in the metaverse?

No study has yet been conducted to determine the marketing targets that the metaverse gathers. Nevertheless, we can assume that individuals already present on the platforms are not afraid of the technological novelty that the metaverse represents. They are therefore hyper-connected people, who possess a great affinity for cryptocurrency, mainly young SPC+ (upper socio-professional category).

The future of advertising in the metaverse

At the moment, the metaverse offers an infinite number of advertising possibilities that brands can seize. But users must be receptive to this type of campaign. It is still too early to evaluate its real impact on users' consumption. What has been produced in the metaverse consists essentially of publicity stunts and not real advertising actions. 

Nevertheless, the craze for the metaverse suggests a bright future for advertising in this digital world. 

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