Maximum Reach: What You Need to Know About Advertising in the Metaverse

Maximum Reach: What You Need to Know About Advertising in the Metaverse

From building branded virtual real estate to enlisting virtual influencers, here’s why and how leading brands are advertising in the metaverse. 

Maximum Reach: What You Need to Know About Advertising in the Metaverse
Darry Port

Published May 10, 2022Updated Jun 22, 2022

Metaverse

Metaverse

NFTs

NFTs

Crypto

Crypto

Both traditional finance and new-school crypto institutions like JPMorgan and Grayscale project that the metaverse will become a trillion-dollar industry over the next decade. This presents a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach millions of users through immersive 3D campaigns that blend the physical and virtual worlds. 

Soon enough, you might even look out the window of your digital mansion in The Sandbox and see a billboard depicting your favorite brand of drinks. But why, exactly, are big name brands increasingly eager to spend money on metaverse ads?

But when you reflect on that last sentence, you realize that consumer behavior and advertising methods are going to be something totally different in the metaverse. The 2D digital marketing strategies in use today won’t translate well into a 3D hyper-social environment. And brands that are quick to adapt to this new reality, like Gucci, Nike and even Snoop Dogg, are the ones who stand to gain the most market share among the next generation of digital-native users.

So if you’re looking to build a digital empire, here’s why and how to advertise in the metaverse.

The benefits of metaverse advertising

Advertising in the metaverse sounds like this big, complicated task. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Similar to how social media users encounter advertisements while engaging with their friends and family online, metaverse users (in the form of avatars) will encounter ads while working, shopping, socializing, attending events and other immersive activities. 

Soon enough, you might even look out the window of your digital mansion in The Sandbox and see a billboard depicting your favorite brand of drinks. But why, exactly, are high-profile brands like Coca-Cola and Louis Vuitton increasingly eager to spend money on metaverse ads?

According to Rebecca Binny of RayCo Media, a Web3 marketing agency, “the benefit is always a first-mover advantage, right? If you're the first restaurant to buy virtual land, like Taco Bell did, all the hype is about you. You're the first one at the forefront of technology.”

Two other advantages of metaverse advertising include:

  • Scalability: Unlike in the real world, advertisers are able to reach an unlimited audience at any one time and place. 
  • Creativity: Advertisers can let their imaginations run wild since campaigns aren’t limited by the laws of physics. 

Now we all know that people don’t generally like ads. Why else would AdBlock have close to a billion downloads worldwide? In order for advertisers to seize this metaverse opportunity while not annoying the crap out of users, they’ll need to follow some best practices.

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Best practices for advertising in the metaverse

In the early 2000s, as smartphones started to gain traction, businesses also began to incorporate mobile campaigns into their marketing strategy. That same principle of adoption is now happening with the metaverse. 

When it comes to metaverse marketing, RayCo Media’s Fairlane Raymundo thinks that “The metaverse is actually social media 2.0. It's just more interactive, 3D. We just need to realize that it's way more powerful than the kind of social media that we're using right now. “

As such, here are some key best practices for advertising in the metaverse. 

Personalization

Millennials and Gen Zers, in particular, are avid users of metaverses and VR, with 70% of Americans aged 18 and below (51.1 million) already being gamers. But the metaverse is way bigger than gaming and will be open to all, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or location.

This inherent diversity means that users want to feel represented. And what better way than to let users create their own experiences? For example, instead of using models to display a clothing collection, brands can offer to let avatars try clothes on for themselves.

Community involvement

Another reason why widely-targeted, one-size-fits-all advertisements won’t work here is because the metaverse prioritizes unique content that’s created by users. But brands do have their own products to sell, so what gives? One way for brands to gain more support in the metaverse is by allowing their community to guide their product development. For instance, a museum could allow their community to choose the historical objects included in an upcoming exhibition.

Subtle messaging

VR gear like headsets and haptic technology will allow users to feel a sense of multi-sensory presence and engagement in the metaverse. Given this level of immersion, brands should find natural ways to weave their ads into experiences. By that same token, promotional messaging should be kept subtle rather than loud and in your face.

Shared success

The metaverse is heavily influenced by Web 3.0, a movement toward user-owned digital content and assets. As such, metaverse brands will want to reward loyal users through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or cryptocurrencies. Much like affiliate marketing, a subscription service in the metaverse could, for instance, reward their users with tokens for referring new signups. 

Common advertising methods in the metaverse

With the metaverse aiming to be as immersive as the physical world, it’ll ironically bring some old-school advertising methods into the virtual world. And while we can’t predict the full range of advertising methods that’ll be available in a fully operational metaverse, here’s a non-exhaustive list of the current options. 

Branded virtual real estate

One of the main ways that brands are blending in with the virtual environment rather than disrupting the experience of users is by building virtual real estate in popular metaverse districts. Examples include Sotheby’s virtual gallery, Atari’s virtual casino, the Binance.US virtual office, and Nikeland.

Virtual billboards

Billboards might be old-school, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming advertising channels in video games. Another thing virtual billboards have going for them is that they’re the easiest way to advertise in the metaverse.

Adshares, for instance, is a dedicated blockchain protocol for advertising in the metaverse. It’s super easy to set up in Decentraland too—no coding knowledge necessary. With a tool like Adshares, users can manage thousands of virtual billboards in one place and earn passive income off of their virtual land.

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Source: adshares.net

Sponsored content

Our social media feeds on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms comprise a mix of organic and sponsored content. Unsurprisingly, sponsored content will also play a major role in metaverse advertising. 

But it won’t just be human influencers promoting products. High-profile brands like Calvin Klein and Dior are already setting a precedent for partnering with virtual models & influencers like Shudu and Lil Miquela.

Metaverse events

While mega-events like the FIFA World Cup and Super Bowl draw hundreds of millions of eyeballs, metaverse events have the potential to draw billions more. Virtual concerts by the likes of Travis Scott, Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X are early examples of tens of millions of users attending the same event at the same time, something that’s not possible in the real world. Who wouldn’t want to monetize all those eyeballs?

Virtual collectibles 

People like collecting things to showcase their personalities and interests. In the metaverse, brands could sell a limited-edition NFT of whatever product they sell in the real world. And in keeping with the modern direct-to-consumer trend, avatars will even be able to try and pay for products in the metaverse and ship them to their physical address. 

Some of these virtual collections may even end up becoming status symbols, at which point they start to market themselves.

And yes, people will be lining up to buy these assets.  Even in-game purchases, which don’t have much resale capacity, are expected to surpass $74.4 billion by 2025 according to Juniper Research.

The future (and risks) of metaverse advertising

The metaverse promises to become an exciting new channel for brands, but there are a few risks and pitfalls to be aware of before jumping in.

Repetitive ads, pop-ups and disingenuous sponsored content are all too common in the digital landscape. With the metaverse, there’s a potential to make this level of intrusiveness, fatigue and cringe a hundred times worse. Consumer adoption is also an obstacle. While purchases of VR headsets and other metaverse gear are picking up, the numbers are still relatively low. So the metaverse’s current reach might not justify a marketing budget just yet. Plus, there are still plenty of privacy issues that need to be ironed out.


 

What's more, the metaverse still lacks many of the tools and metrics for measuring campaign success. Many standard metrics like subscribers and shares might not translate over into metaverse advertising. 


 

Since the metaverse is decentralized, companies don’t ultimately have much control over their ads. Due to this, there's a higher likelihood that your brand could appear next to inappropriate content or in front of the wrong audience (e.g. children).


 

Right now the metaverse acts as an emerging channel for brands to market their products and services more creatively at a relatively low cost. This new ad platform already has some best practices in place, but there’s still a lot of room for experimentation. 


 

And with Gucci being able to sell a virtual bag for more than the real thing, leading brands can’t afford to ignore this unprecedented opportunity for long.

Not another Jaws sequel

Will the metaverse ads of tomorrow enhance our virtual experiences? Or will metaverse ads become as intrusive as the ones in Back to the Future II, where Marty McFly is swallowed by a shark hologram promoting Jaws 19?

Not another Jaws sequel