Brands are taking a pragmatic approach to metaverse marketing

Colin Campbell, Tuesday, August 8th, 2023 11:51 am

A newly published report from predicts that the metaverse will grow by more than 40 percent a year over the next decade, with its annual value rising from a current $64 billion, to more than 2.3 trillion by 2023.

The upbeat forecast stands in stark contrast to a widely held assumption – most especially in media circles – that the metaverse is last year’s buzzword. Metaverse boosters say these conflicting narratives come down to imprecise interpretations of an extremely loose conglomeration of gaming-interactive formats.’s report takes a wide view of the metaverse, lumping gaming companies like Epic in with social media giant Facebook, and with financial services companies, especially those operating in crypto and Web3 markets.

Its interpretation of “metaverse” includes digital spaces where “individual interactions are highly multidimensional, and they can participate more profoundly with digital content,” than with written content. It points to various metaverse initiatives around the world although, to be frank, many of those took place in 2022.

Luxury brands

Still, while many in the media’s fast-moving fad machine have moved on, there are still plenty of companies who are invested in the metaverse’s future, as well as those in marketing circles who are determined to stick the course.

Luxury, entertainment and fashion brands continue to work with metaverse games like Roblox and Fortnight, while Meta is improving its gaming offering via Horizon Worlds with the warmly received launch of shooter Super Rumble.

In a recent interview with BeetTV, Sarah Stringer, EVP of US Media Partnerships at global digital agency Dentsu Media said: “When brands are thinking about the metaverse or whether or not that’s something that they want to invest in, they need to remove the word out of it and just think about immersive experiences.”

Stringer made the point that the relatively slow uptake in virtual reality and augmented reality – as well as the high price of items like Apple Vision Pro – has left some with an overly negative impression of the market’s value. Meanwhile, metaverse spaces on mass market devices, like game consoles and cellphones, continue to attract enormous audiences, most especially young people.

OMG Report

A recent report from media company OMG Futures – titled “Avoiding the Regretaverse” – took aim at commentators and investors who have been too quick to buy into a negative view of the market’s fortunes, while lambasting those who bought too readily into the hype.

The report stated: “Though many won’t admit it, the metaverse is often overhyped, misunderstood and misapplied. It is a territory blighted by exaggeration and misrepresentation and plagued by ‘hyperbolists’ – commentators who would seek to make wild over claims about the technology’s potential.”

This comes from a company with a stake in gaming and metaverse marketing. But it takes a more balanced view of the metaverse than we often see in the mainstream media, viewing it not so much as a single transformative technology, but as an indicator of rapidly changing consumer behavior.

“Currently, Gen Z spends 15 percent of their ‘fun budget’ in the metaverse and it’s predicted to climb to 20 percent by 2027. By then, about two billion people globally will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse to work, shop, attend school, socialize or consume entertainment, with the total value of the virtual goods market in the metaverse as high as $200 billion.”

The report, written by Phil Rowley, head of futures at the company, goes on to say “to many this represents a watershed moment in the history of mediated communication. The prophets are clear. Behaviors will change, consumers will change. Brands will need to change.”

Overhyped and underappreciated

The metaverse is “both overhyped and underappreciated” because while “many are unrealistic and overoptimistic about what it can achieve in the short term,” others “seem unwilling to prepare for its undoubted transformative effects in the long term”.

Both Stringer and Rowley advise media brands to take a strategically appropriate, and long-term view of the metaverse. “What are your immersive brand assets that you can build out for those environments?” asks Stringer, pointing out that these assets are being used by individual users as “adornments you might put on someone when they are scanning their own face?” In other words, the metaverse is a place in which brands and individuals are integrated in new ways.

Likewise, the OMG Futures report distills its conclusion into a series of tips for marketers. These include the notion – mentioned at the beginning of this article – that brands need to define the metaverse properly, to renounce incorrect definitions. They should position gaming as a mass media on-ramp and to not think of scrapping advertising, but to consider extending it into these new areas.

Brands should also be discerning and employ a spectrum of strategies to master the metaverse; to understand the trade-off between sophistication and reach, and to plot progression through the levels of the metaverse as it evolves in the years ahead.

Finally, brands should commit to a long term strategy,”surfing the metaverse” through its as-yet unknown lifecycle, and to be multifaceted and multidisciplinary. It is still, after all, early days.

Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell has been reporting on the gaming industry for more than three decades, including for Polygon, IGN, The Guardian, Next Generation, and The Economist. © 2024 | All Rights Reserved.