The New Mobile Growth Frontier: Marketing in the Metaverse

woman in the met averse

Talk of the metaverse is inescapable, but confusion still abounds. What is the metaverse, really? Why should I care? How do I incorporate the metaverse into my marketing mix? These are all good questions – some are easier to answer than others. But if you’re thinking about marketing in the metaverse, there is a lot to consider before getting started. 

The truth is, the staying power of the metaverse is still to be seen. Is it just the latest fad or will the masses embrace it in a way that gives it longevity? We don’t know – but we do know that McKinsey reported that metaverse-related companies raised a whopping $10 billion in 2021. And the investment didn’t end there: “Epic Games, maker of Fortnite—has not only raised $3 billion to fund its long-term vision for the metaverse but also announced a partnership with LEGO to build a metaverse for kids.”

While every game maker or app company cannot launch their own metaverse, they can use existing spaces to build their brands and find new users. All that’s needed it a bit of creativity – and the answers to a few questions.

Is the metaverse right for my marketing mix? 

Before investing precious time and budget into the metaverse you should answer a few questions to determine if its right for your product.

  • Are my users already there? If the answer is no, you then have to ask yourself if there is a potential pool of new users for you in the metaverse or if this just isn’t the right place for you. Gaming apps or crypto exchanges will likely be able to answer this easily, but it might be more complicated for travel or utility apps. 
  • What is your goal? If you cannot answer this question easily, proceed with caution. Just because something is trendy doesn’t make it right for you. If you have a clear goal that the metaverse can help you achieve, then you can move forward. 
  • Can you devote enough resources to create a great experience? Users in the metaverse have very high expectations. It’s not enough to just be there, brand must use the platform in truly innovative ways that give users a reason to engage. You will be up against some stiff competition – so let’s explore examples of great metaverse marketing.

Examples of marketing in the metaverse

“Vans World” in Roblox

Every skateboarder knows Vans shoes, and back in September of 2021, Vans brought their classic shoes to the metaverse. With Vans world, the company aimed to “bring skateboarding, fashion, and community together in one experience, providing fans with the Vans shoe customizer to create their own unique style, and full skate shop to build their perfect board. Four Vans silhouettes will be available for fans to customize, purchase, and wear in the experience.”

Vans World in Roblox

Deliveroo on Animal Crossing

While some might argue that Animal Crossing is not quite a true metaverse, Deliveroo’s marketing campaign there is a good example of what companies can do in virtual spaces. The online food delivery company sent virtual riders into the game to make island-wide deliveries. Players received a surprise delivery and a promo code to use in real life. Deliveroo saw 3 million in-game engagements in just an hour

Virtual billboards

If you aren’t ready to launch your own skatepark you can still tip-toe into the metaverse. One of the nice things about these virtual realms is that they often mimic real world environments, and the advertising opportunities the real world represents such as billboards, ads, pop-up stores, and more. Depending on the platform you choose, there is likely an option to help your brand get its feet wet in the metaverse. 

User acquisition – and retention – in the metaverse

For mobile app and game marketers, there are usually two main goals: user acquisition and retention. The metaverse can work for both. 

Imagine you’re a game publisher with a large portfolio of games looking to drive installs. You decide to create an arcade in the metaverse where users can play your games – and maybe even participate in a tournament. You can give winners redemption codes for in-game goods that can only be redeemed after install. It’s a lot like a playable ad combined with a rewarded ad – two of gamers’ favorite ad types. 

If retention is your goal, you can take a play out of Deliveroo’s book, and use simple crossover opportunities to encourage existing users to come back – perhaps with more in-game goods – while also gaining awareness among new users. 

The beauty of the metaverse is that marketing teams aren’t constrained by many of the concerns of the real world. Setting up an arcade in the real world would likely take months – if not years – of planning and a big budget to execute, but in the virtual world anything is possible.