The Metaverse and Digital Marketing FOMO

I was speaking to Marti Torres who is a marketing consultant based in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Anyway, we were discussing the impending impact of the so-called “Metaverse” and why digital marketers are so afraid of missing out.

What is the “metaverse?” Here’s a great definition from a recent Forbes article

“Metaverse is defined as an immersive, digital environment populated by virtual avatars representing actual people.” Andrew Faridani,

The best examples of this are video games like Roblox and Fortnight. These are real-time, with real people, and no end. These “metaverses are happening right now with lots of real people “walking around, doing things” with other real people.

So, much like the Internet of the late 90s and early 00s, the metaverse is the newest fixation of futurists and bleeding-edge marketers. Should you be marketing on the metaverse? I would say “not yet.”

A day will come when it makes perfect sense for you to pay for exposure in these worlds, but I would argue that most small businesses are years away from this reality.

How Marketing Works in the Metaverse

Marketing is about brand building, winning fans, building your customer base, and increasing total market share. You can do this with content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing, traditional television ads, OTT ads on streaming platforms, and so on.

These are all places where your target audience is possibly spending time. The metaverse is also a place where your target audience may be spending time.

Marketing in this space can look similar to “traditional” digital marketing in that you pay for exposure in some way. You can purchase ads that might look like a mention in a virtual billboard or some virtual event where you are a sponsor.

Again, it’s not that different from what typical marketing looks like today. You can also sell things on the metaverse, like clothes that someone’s avatar would wear while participating in the metaverse. Seriously, people are buying outfits to wear in the metaverse.

The best analogy would be to think about it like the time you spend in your car. When people first started spending time in their cars, marketing to those people in their cars was scarce. Maybe a billboard here and there.

Now, people spend tons of time in their cars, being marketed to via radio content or content on their streaming devices. There are ads on moving vehicles, and even video ads where billboards used to be.

The metaverse is this new space. The main difference is the experiential aspect of this space. In other words, the metaverse offers more opportunities for you to advertise in a way that the user can interact directly with your ad.

Why the Metaverse Is Not for You

The metaverse, I fear, will be more of the same that you can expect from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. What I mean is that there will be good things about it, like a deeper engagement with others in a digital space, but with that comes all of the negatives you get in the current social media universe.

That said, it will only grow in popularity and importance. I think B2C companies will be the first to dive in headfirst. And influencer marketing will explode in the metaverse. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Metaverse celebrities in the same way we have social media celebrities. (yes, yes, this is the apocalypse)

With people there, immersed in the experience, wouldn’t it make sense for you to have a presence there? That depends. First of all, do you know for certain that enough of your target audience is in there to warrant consideration of investment?

Also, do you have the budget, bandwidth, and brainpower to successfully market on this platform?

Marketing Success Should Drive Expanded Marketing Efforts

Just because a platform exists, especially if it’s new, does not mean you must market on it. I’ve seen it time and time again. Digital Marketing FOMO (fear of missing out) is real and I’m not judging. I’ve been there.

Social media is a great example of how bandwagoning can be damaging to your brand. I’m sure you’ve seen a brand represented on a social channel only to be supremely disappointed in the quality of that presence.

I’ve also seen companies invest tons of time and resources into a channel and see nothing come of it. I get it, sometimes you need to take a chance. I’m not saying you should be 100% risk-averse with your marketing efforts.

What I am saying is that there are expectations. Your team wants to see KPIs achieved. Your salespeople want qualified leads. The CEO is concerned about the bottom line.

Instead of sinking a bunch of money into something that might work, double your efforts on something that does work. If you’re one of those Fortune 100 companies who can afford to waste money on bad marketing efforts, good for you.

For the rest of us, we need results.

The Metaverse, If Not Now, When?

The metaverse is real, it’s happening now. And businesses are successfully marketing there. Don’t turn your back on it. Check it out. If you hear your customers going on about it, ask them about their experience.

Just like social media, you want to understand what this new landscape looks like and if you will need to have a presence there. What I am saying with this post though is to be measured.

Invest your marketing money and time in places where you know your audience is spending time. Heck, that might even be terrestrial radio for some of you.

Digital marketing should always be executed based on a solid strategy. Jumping into a platform simply because it’s there is not a smart digital marketing strategy, it’s a reaction.

Jon-Mikel Bailey is the Chief Development and Marketing Officer for Wellspring Digital, a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in SEO, PPC, Marketing Automation, and Content Marketing. He has been published in MarketingProfs, Business2Community, SpinSucks, {Grow}, Social Media Today, and more. He has spoken at the Digital Summit Series, MarketingProfs, ITE, Grant Thornton, and others.