Facebook has changed its name and is leading the way for years to come. The good news: in the medium term, not much changes. But in the long term, everything could change. We explain what’s behind the name change, what Facebook’s vision is and what the potential of a marketing metaverse is.

The metaverse, the successor to the mobile Internet

With about 90,500 queries on Google, Metaverse is one of the most searched words of these last weeks. Behind this term lies the vision of a virtual space that would exist as a parallel world next to the real world. This vision was presented on October 28 by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, during which the name change of Facebook to Meta was also announced. The metaverse is not a new idea, however. As early as 1992, the term was coined by Neal Stephenson in his dystopian novel “Snow Crash”.

Zuckerberg describes the metaverse as “an embodied Internet in which you don’t just look at the content, but you are inside it and experience it directly via virtual reality.”[

In the next stage of the Internet, one should not only be a spectator of a screen, but feel as if one was directly on the spot. This is done in the form of an avatar with which you can move around in virtual reality and communicate and interact with other avatars. In this way, everyone is part of the metaverse. Based on different expert definitions, here are the characteristics of the metaverse:

  • Persistent (permanent) The metaverse continues continuously, whether you are online or offline.
  • User-defined People can interact with the metaverse, live in it, connect to it, create things in it, and thus shape it.
  • Daily – In the metaverse, the real world and the virtual world merge seamlessly
  • Interoperable – All activities, actions and identities are not bound to any platform, but can be transferred to different platforms.
  • Unlimited There is no limit to the number of users, experiences or worlds.
  • Social and responsive – The Metaverse marketing provides a space to connect, strengthen existing relationships and create communities – in real time.

The metaverse exists regardless of whether one is offline or online. It should allow for a seamless transition between the real and the parallel world. In a presentation, Zuckerberg shows, for example, how his avatar in the metaverse is in a meeting with collaborators and then receives and answers a video call from his wife from the real world. The separation between real life and social networks is to be abolished in the Metaverse. The goal is to merge the two worlds. All the activities of people’s real daily lives should also take place in the Metaverse. In the keynote in which Mark Zuckerberg presents the Metaverse, the following areas are discussed:

  • Social relationships
  • Entertainment
  • Games
  • Fitness
  • Professional life
  • Education
  • Business

Even though Facebook and Meta consider themselves to be the main founders of the metaverse, they of course go far beyond that. All actions, activities and identities are not tied to any platform, but can be transferred across different platforms. Facebook is also not the first or only group to work on the vision of a metaverse. In 2003, the game “Second Life” had already adopted the approach of an online 3D infrastructure. It was a user-created virtual world, a metaverse, in which people could interact, play, trade and communicate in other ways through avatars. While Second Life has since disappeared from the scene, gaming platforms like Fortnite or Roblox are the closest precursors to this idea.

woman with a virutal reality headset who is in the metaverse

Metaverse – What does it mean for Marketing?

The metaverse offers many new possibilities for brands and companies to interact and communicate with their fans, (potential) customers and partners. For example, it will be possible to participate together in activities and events. Companies can advertise with virtual billboards at third-party events or insert their own installations in the virtual world, with which users can interact instead of just watching the advertisement.

But that’s not all. Thanks to augmented reality glasses and eye-tracking, it will be possible in the future to capture in real time what people are looking at, what they are not looking at and how they feel about it. Thus, the evolution from mass marketing to targeted marketing will become more differentiated and individualized;

This does not only have implications in the parallel world, the data obtained in the Metaverse could also be used profitably for offline businesses. But it also means that social network marketing has to adapt. New technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence must be part of the future digital marketing strategy if companies want to be present in the Metaverse. The growing number of virtual reality software sales in recent years shows that companies are already preparing for this.

Read also: 44% of marketers plan campaigns in the metaverse

The road to the parallel world is still long

In conclusion, if the metaverse is more than a trend today, it is not yet much more than a vision. Nevertheless, many companies are working to make it a reality. We are both impressed and cautious about this vision. How do you see it? What is your opinion on the metaverse and marketing?