Updated: May 17
As the Metaverse starts becoming more and more popular, and organizations such as Facebook start investing an incredible amount of money into consumer behavior, businesses and marketing professionals are starting to speculate about the commercial implications of this new – should we call it – "channel".
But to understand how the dynamics of buying and selling will work in the Metaverse, it is worth taking a look at the potential psychological effects of the Metaverse.
If you're still trying to wrap your head around it, just think of it as a virtual web browser that allows people to visit websites in a very realistic way. People will be able to publish and share information, with rich multimedia content and avatars. This will probably expand into social networks, allowing them not only to interact with other people but also to be able to better express themselves, using avatars.
It is also important to remember that as of now there is not one single Metaverse. Just like social media, multiple companies are trying to become the preferred channel for everyone, and this will likely turn into different flavors, catering to different people and varying levels of features.
Nevertheless, the uniqueness of the metaverse is that it is likely to develop into an all-encompassing universe, more similar to the Internet, than other technological advances we've seen before.
Content will likely take different forms in the metaverse. Some of them won't look too different from what they look like in the real world – going to school in a virtual university, or attending a virtual amusement park – but the one thing that will probably look very different will be the levels of personalization that will be accomplished through the metaverse.
This level of personalization and connection with the metaverse is what – we think – will truly differentiate it from previews iterations of Virtual Reality applications.
The advantage of today's connected devices, advanced AI capabilities, and the deep understanding that technology has of our personalities that will allow the Metaverse to cater to everything we do in it, based on every one of our likes and dislikes.
So what could be the psychological ramifications? Well, we might become more open and less inhibited – as we'll be able to do things without having to worry about other people judging us – because the Metaverse will be a place where we can hide our embarrassing moments and mistakes.
We might also develop new ways of thinking and behaving that could have lasting consequences on how we relate to one another in the real world. As an example, it may well be discovered that some types of lives experiences lead us to value money over relationships with other people.
Or maybe virtual experiences such as those provided by the Metaverse could even start to shape our identities or behavior patterns. For example, instead of going out for a drink with friends after work, several people might prefer going into town inside their Metaverse-capable device to visit the Metaverse version of a specific bar.
This may lead brands to create much more meaningful connections with their customers, creating an experience that will feel much more real and less like a commercial transaction.
And what about the Metaverse's effect on society in general?
It might mean branching out from behind our screens, to meet people in person again. After all, without the inhibitions of our personal flaws, physical or distance barriers, and the ability to change anything around us as necessary, we may well become a much more social species.
Although there is always the possibility that the metaverse might lead people to develop powerful addictions for virtual experiences or exacerbate the inadequacies that we see on the internet today.
And sometimes, the Metaverse's capabilities might even become so deeply humanizing and intertwined with our own lives that we find ourselves going about our daily routines without remembering what they look like from the outside.
As you can see, there is an incredible amount of opportunity for marketers to take advantage of the Metaverse, but there are also a number of questions that will need answering before people can start taking advantage of them.
The Metaverse is an exciting space, with the potential to become the most important consumer behavior channel in years to come. Only time will tell if it lives up to all the hype around it.
The full-fledged advantages of a Metaverse world are also not something that will happen tomorrow, or in five years. It's more likely to be an evolutionary process with developments over time – just like the internet has been up till now.
However, this is one space that marketers shouldn't ignore or wait too long to start figuring out how it can be utilized.
People are already excited about the Metaverse and starting to share what they would like to do there. It's for marketers to take advantage of all these conversations happening out there right now before everyone else does.