The Metaverse Is Still More Hype Than Reality – But That Doesn’t Mean You Can Ignore It

Brian Ko, chief commercial officer and chief revenue officer, AudienceX.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Brian Ko, chief commercial officer and chief revenue officer, AudienceX.

Do you have a metaverse strategy yet? If not, you‘re in good company. Most marketers don’t even know what the metaverse is, let alone why their brand needs it. But that doesn’t mean you can sit this one out or wait until the metaverse matures to start experimenting. 

So what is the metaverse? While there’s no one definition, in the broadest terms, it’s a moment when our digital lives are as consequential as our physical ones. It’s a change that’s been happening for years. Every part of our lives is becoming digital – our work, our friends, our fun and our attention is headed that way.

It’s not hard to imagine that, in five to 10 years, up to 90% of our time could be spent online. And that shift from physical to digital environments is the metaverse.

Whatever it ultimately looks like, we know the metaverse is going to be important. Facebook is betting its future on it. Snap is delivering AR filters and interactive experiences that overlay virtual content onto the real world. And tech platform giants like Microsoft, Google and Shopify are betting it’s the next big thing, too.

If you’re a marketer, the time to plan is now. But before you get married to the metaverse (yes, that’s a thing), where do you start?

Here are things marketers should care about today so they’re ready for the metaverse tomorrow.

Context and personalization are essential

The metaverse will be intimate and hyper-personalized. Our marketing will need to match. This will mean access to rich, actionable data that allows for personalization, targeting, location services and user-level interaction. 

Even if you’re not ready to move to the metaverse, preparing and understanding customer-level data should be central to your strategy for digital marketing.

We’ll have to rely on existing formats before native ones arrive 

Meta wants to turn the metaverse into a profitable ecosystem. But early on, the platform will likely try to monetize its offering using existing “Facebook” formats. Eventually, native formats will emerge and become more affordable, the tools will be democratized and marketers will learn how to use them. But investments that you’re making now in testing and learning with existing formats will still be useful in the metaverse. 

Multiverse will proceed true metaverse 

Advertisers will have many choices, just like they do today. Open systems and interoperability will be the key to success and scale, both for the platforms and the advertisers that want to use them. Beware of platforms (we’re looking at you, Meta) that lock you into expensive one-offs that don’t scale.

Be patient, but start exploring now

For the next few years, a number of high-profile, big-brand activations will make it seem like the metaverse is catching on. You’ll see growth percentage increases that make it feel like people are really using it. But it’s not a thing until any brand can enter the market and transact on a performance basis through easy, self-serve platforms.

And when that happens, the marketers that are getting ready now will be well-positioned to make their move. In an immersed web 3.0 environment, the digital and physical worlds will converge with more than 50% adoption. Only then will we truly be in the metaverse.

Follow AudienceX (@AudienceX) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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