Meta shareholders have had it with the metaverse. When Mark Zuckerberg renewed his commitment to the project in the recent Q3 earnings call, Meta shares plunged 25%.
For consumers, it’s a different story.
Despite some initial skepticism, more surveys are showing that consumers are eager to participate in the metaverse, and they’re looking for ways to engage with their favorite brands in virtual environments.
In a survey conducted by Roblox, 75% of Gen Z consumers said they plan on spending money on digital fashion in the metaverse, and two-thirds said they’re excited to wear brand-name virtual items on Roblox.
A separate survey, this one released by Sitecore, a company that makes end-to-end digital experience software, found that 87% of consumers believe the metaverse will play a big role in how they shop and interact with brands. Eighty-eight percent of consumers said they expect brands to sell and advertise in the metaverse within the next one to two years.
Four in five consumers say they anticipate spending more time in the metaverse than traditional social media apps like Instagram in the coming years, which has the potential to create an entirely new direct engagement channel for brands.
“From our work with leading brands on enhancing digital experience, we’ve known that the metaverse will power next-level shopper engagement, but it’s exciting to see how quickly consumers are aligned in their appetite for this new technology,” says Sitecore Chief Marketing Officer Paige O’Neill.
But not all marketers are feeling quite as enthusiastic.
While Sitecore’s survey found that most marketers do see value in the metaverse, the majority are still not ready to make any major investments.
An overwhelming majority of marketers (90%) say they believe the metaverse—if built correctly—could help solve unique business challenges. However, with Zuckerberg in the crosshairs of investors and the future of Meta’s metaverse still unclear—most brand agencies are recommending that clients hold off on making the metaverse a major part of their strategies for the time being.
Just one-in-three marketers say the metaverse is currently a part of their marketing program, however Sitecore’s survey found that 56% are investing in “metaverse-like technologies,” such as augmented reality and virtual reality. Early investments into mixed reality could be a strategic metaverse play, particularly for brands interested in reaching consumers who use virtual reality consoles or gaming consoles.
Additionally, 38% of consumers say they’d be more encouraged to participate in a brand’s experience if they were able to join and connect with a community of “like-minded people who were just as passionate about the products, services and brand as they are.” Creating that sense of community or belonging could be key for brands interested in making an impression in the metaverse.
“Our survey found that access to new products and exclusive releases before their real-world launch would encourage consumers to engage with a brand in the metaverse,” O’Neill says.
O’Neill is optimistic that consumer enthusiasm will be enough to change marketers’ minds, and that more brands will begin to invest in the metaverse over the coming months. Already, the vast majority of Gen Z consumers say they believe metaverse technology will play a significant role in the way that they interact with brands. Most consumers expect to see brands selling and advertising in the metaverse via direct messages, pop-ups, and influencer marketing. Once that happens on a broad scale, O’Neill says it will be easy for marketers to choose the medium that works best for reaching their own unique audiences.
“As with any new channel, marketers should consider a ‘phygital’—physical and digital—approach when shaping their marketing in the metaverse strategies,” O’Neill says. “By offering exclusive access to products before they drop in the real-world, marketers can build excitement, drive engagement and even reach new customers.”