As a virtual world, shapeable with the help of big data, the metaverse could break down certain limits of traditional marketing or as it is practiced on the Internet.
If Mark Zuckerberg took it into his head to make Facebook the queen company of the metaverse, going so far as to rename it Meta, it is because he believes in the potential of virtual worlds but also (and above all) because this potential is highly commercial. “You’ll need virtual clothes, virtual tools, and a variety of experiences. Our goal is for this market to reach hundreds of billions of dollars”, he explained during a financial interview last October, as our colleagues from the Figaro.
And according to the FinancialTimes, Meta already has a multitude of ideas for commercially exploiting the metaverse in the area it masters best: targeted advertising. An advertisement which will be displayed in 3D, in a virtual world composed like a video game but which will be consumed like the Internet, for which Meta has already filed numerous patents.
Follow this look, it can pay off
It was by peeling them that the journalists of the British daily discovered that Facebook plans, among other things, to calculate the effectiveness – and therefore the cost – of an advertising display according to the angle of vision of the user and of his facial expression. In other words, the more an ad catches your eye and piques your interest in the metaverse, the more Meta will be able to charge for it.
In one of its patents, Meta plans to do this by exploiting the cameras installed inside its Oculus virtual reality headsets. Cameras which, initially, are supposed to track the user’s gaze in order to optimize the computational resources of the helmet by improving the quality of rendering of the areas actually looked at to the detriment of the surrounding areas. Meta is therefore ready to divert certain technologies for advertising purposes, which will not surprise anyone given the company’s habits and liabilities in this area.
Nick Clegg, head of public affairs at Facebook, puts it a little differently, explaining to the FinancialTimes that these data will not be directly sold or exploited as such, but that they “allow us to determine how Internet users react to an advertisement”. Yet gaze analysis is a very valuable discipline for advertisers, being the subject of numerous studies in the field of advertising, and this already well before the hypothetical advent of the metaverse.
Other patents more generally cover the targeting of advertising campaigns displayed in the metaverse, taking up the already well-known ingredients of targeted advertising on the Internet, refining the content according to age, gender, centers of interest , places visited or social interactions in these future virtual worlds.
Better, the shops of the metaverse would display different shelves according to the users, again to adapt to their profiles. A shampoo manufacturer might thus be tempted to pay for a virtual supermarket (like the one seen in Walmart’s concept video, for example) so that the bottles of his product are presented at the right height for customers who have already shown an interest in his brand. Or how the metaverse could become a paradise for marketers…