What the Metaverse Means for the Future of Marketing

By Jenn Choo


The metaverse is all about bringing customer experience to the forefront of marketing in a whole new way. The pandemic gave way to a boom in virtual shopping methodologies, and the response of the consumer market speaks well to the future possibilities of marketing in the metaverse.

Consumers want interaction. They want to learn, feel, and understand products and services before they purchase. The metaverse could allow consumers to research and experience products before the point of purchase in a way that has never existed before. Savvy marketing teams looking ahead at new, innovative ways to acquire and engage customers will embrace the metaverse and all it has to offer.

While the concept of the metaverse can seem a bit overwhelming, the outcome of implementing streamlined universal digital identities for users across platforms and software can be beneficial for both users and marketers in several ways. The transition to first and zero-party data collection and data privacy laws are beginning to take hold of modern marketing strategies. Fortunately, the metaverse can help unify fragmented data to build user profiles that enable marketers to continue to reach their customers, even with these changes in place.

Additionally, marketing teams are now beginning to explore the full capabilities of the metaverse and how it can revolutionize the way that they can engage consumers, enable new levels of interactivity, and provide an immersive experience of their brand and offerings. Let's explore the different user experience-based elements of the metaverse and what they mean for the future of marketing.

Increasing Engagement in New Ways

Marketing is all about how consumers perceive and interact with your brand and products. The metaverse opens the door to new immersive types of engagement. As we have seen with the ever-growing popularity of video, live streams, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) in marketing strategies over the past two years, consumers want more engaging interaction with brands. The immersive consumer experience promised by the metaverse will allow modern consumers to engage virtually with brands in ways they never have before.

Marketing teams will be able to take the basic elements of leveraging digital marketing materials and messaging to engage consumers via visual and auditory senses and expand that reach to all the senses. In other words, marketers could leverage VR technology to develop an immersive brand experience within the expansive landscape of the metaverse.

Ideally, this would allow consumers to gain a deeper understanding of the brand and its offerings by enabling interactions and experiences with products and services like a real-life setting.

Taking this a step further, personalization strategies can be leveraged across these immersive user experiences. Utilizing first and zero-party user data to build modern holistic consumer profiles, marketing teams could develop hyper-personalized virtual experiences for their target consumers. This takes the omnichannel marketing strategies of today and levels them up exponentially.

Creating a personalized virtual user experience for each of your consumer bases will provide an opportunity for customers to engage with products that truly interest them, based on their personal preferences, whenever and wherever they need them.

Essentially, the metaverse could enable consumers to experience curated, realistic shopping experiences tailored to their unique set of wants, needs, and interests without ever stepping foot outside of their front door.

Customization and Building for Diversity

When it comes to the metaverse, long-term goals for marketing teams will include developing engaging experiences and building a real community based around the diversity of their consumers. Engagement and inclusion will be the name of the game. The metaverse will allow marketing teams to develop deeply engaging experiences across their owned virtual corners of the user experience.

The promise of the metaverse suggests the eventual integration of social media user data across the immersive virtual world to allow marketing teams to develop and deliver highly personalized messages and experiences to users across a 3D landscape.

Marketing teams will have more opportunities to build across the diversity of their consumer bases. In other words, marketers can leverage hyper-personalization strategies to customize immersive experiences for a wide range of diverse customers, maximizing inclusion for their brand and increasing engagement across a larger span of consumers.

Diversity and inclusion have been top of mind for many marketing teams, with the majority working to adapt their strategies to allow for diversity and representative content through the development of user generated content.

The metaverse will allow brands to take this to a whole new level, embracing diversity in a holistic way to appeal on a personal and relatable level with a wide range of customer types. Couple this with the integration of first and zero-party data collection strategies and context-based engagement across brand audiences, and you have a solid recipe for success.

Appealing to Younger Generations

Millennials and gen Z are the most agile of the generations as they have grown up adapting to ever-evolving technologies. It is no wonder they are often the first to embrace new technologies, especially those that simplify their lives. VR and AR are already being embraced heavily by millennials and gen Z, and marketing teams are taking note. The integration of VR into current shopping experiences are gaining in popularity, including:

  • The creation of virtual closets across luxury retailers
  • Sephora's use of AR and VR to allow virtual shoppers to try on beauty products at home
  • The integration of AR and VR across the gaming landscape

As we step deeper into the metaverse, we see these generations embrace the idea of the digital avatar. Digital avatars are the conduit for users to roam freely through the virtual worlds of the metaverse. Virtual avatars are rapidly gaining traction within the gaming industry, especially among young gaming communities. Gaming brands are transitioning their platforms into immersive worlds that enable virtual communities of digital avatars to blossom.

These virtual evolutions create a whole new opportunity for brands to develop products that are centralized around avatars. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci have begun marketing and selling virtual accessories for digital avatars within the metaverse as well as other avatar-based virtual platforms like Roblox. Millennial and gen Z users will be the early adopters of these new virtual trends, but as history shows gen X and baby boomers are apt to follow suit in terms of adaptation.

Adding Another Layer to Social Commerce

The rapid growth of social commerce over the past two years is largely in part due to the increasing utilization of social apps during the pandemic. Marketing teams quickly pivoted their strategies to include social commerce and enable consumer shopping across their social feeds. Gen Z consumers are primarily responsible for normalizing the evolution of social commerce due to their generation's comfort level online and high expectations of brand excellence to genuinely connect with followers.

More than ever before, teams are striving to achieve successful consumer experiences and increased engagement across their omnichannel strategies. But what will that look like as marketing methodologies evolve to include the vast virtual landscape that is the metaverse?

If we look at the social commerce trends over the past two years, we can predict that the social commerce features we see across the popular channels of today will expand out into the virtual experience-based world. Savvy brands will continue to build their strategies, curating shoppable content across their omnichannel platforms and centralizing those strategies around optimizing user experience with their brand, both inside and outside of the metaverse.

If the metaverse world becomes a mirror of the natural world, virtual identities and digital avatars will become a representation of their physical counterparts, and users will want to style them with the latest and greatest trends. We are beginning to see early adaptations of this across gaming platforms that are avatar-based, like Roblox who collaborated with Vans to develop a hub within their platform where users could purchase virtual shoes, clothing, and skate accessories for their Roblox avatars, aptly named "Vans World." This could mean big business for retailers and create a whole new category of virtual avatar based social commerce that marketing teams could dive into, with special attention put on early adopters like millennials and gen Z.

In Conclusion

If the metaverse concept becomes commonplace technology, marketing teams will need to adapt their strategies to include a host of capabilities a user experience based virtual universe has to offer. Looking at the current consumer trends for engagement and the rising popularity of AR and VR across social commerce and video platforms provides a glimpse of where we may be headed.

Marketers who are looking to prepare for the metaverse should begin to explore these elements and start planning for the expansion of their virtual brands into an immersive landscape where personalization and inclusion will reign supreme.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Jenn Choo is the marketing director at Theorem.