A new scholarly paper on the metaverse explores its role as a digital marketing tool. It suggests that the metaverse is a new medium for marketing alongside the internet, social media and other digital marketing channels. And it suggests the beginning of a new marketing era.
The authors have a point. Turning the clock back to MySpace, online marketing looked very different before the launch of Facebook. It was really about email, SEO, Google Adwords and banner ads. Today social media like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube dominate.
In case you were wondering what definition of metaverse the paper covers, it is virtual reality with a web3, blockchain-based digital economy of land and goods.
The authors suggest that Roblox, Fortnite and Decentraland could be the Metaverse equivalents of Facebook and Twitter. But much like Facebook supplanted MySpace or Google overtook AltaVista, we’d argue that Decentraland’s position isn’t rock solid, and the same is true of the others. After all, we’re only scratching the surface of the potential of the metaverse.
What sets the Metaverse apart from the virtual world boom of the mid-2000s, which had considerable hype but didn’t go mainstream? While SecondLife and IMVU have survived, many others have survived, including Google and Sony. The experience wasn’t fundamentally different from Decentraland. Will digital ownership be the key differentiator? Or is it the co-creation implied by decentralized governance?
The brief does not address other factors that could accelerate adoption, such as the advent of headsets that allow people to delve deeper into the topic. Or the existence of social networks to drive network effects. Or corporate adoption by large corporations, reflecting the business adoption pattern of personal computers that sparks consumer interest.
But on the subject of ownership, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT owners have significant commercial rights. “It would be unthinkable for The Walt Disney Company to allow future generation customers to create, own and sell merchandise using their character images in the Metaverse,” the authors write.
The paper concludes with several avenues for future research. For example, how can the metaverse be used to increase customer loyalty? How is Metaverse Commerce different from eCommerce? And how metaverse-native and traditional companies might want to monetize digital assets differently.