Why the metaverse could be a breakthrough in privacy-compliant digital marketing

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A new article on Marketing Dive reports that metaverse is currently currently one of the buzziest areas in marketing, yet questions remain as to how privacy — an increasingly important value for consumers — will be considered in the burgeoning space. A lack of technical knowledge about augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), historically slow-to-move policy regulations and consumer skepticism create an uphill battle for marketers, who will need to take privacy seriously if the metaverse ever reaches the level of public interest for which companies hope.

Despite these challenges, or perhaps as a result of them, the metaverse presents an opportunity to be a breakthrough in privacy-compliant digital marketing. Brands have the benefit of taking lessons learned from previous digital marketing efforts, such as the importance of consent or the necessity of listening to a user community, and applying them to the development of their metaverse platforms. And with the impending deprecation of third-party cookies, the space could be a fresh start built on more privacy-forward tracking alternatives.

The metaverse’s development could mirror the web’s development in significant ways, including the key role that advertisers will play in influencing consumers on new platforms. Brands should therefore take the lead on the privacy conversation. But history has a way of repeating itself: Meta, formerly Facebook, is angling for control in the metaverse similarly to how it did on social media. If brands stay passive and the company — or other walled garden giants — draws the same level of consumer distrust it has on the current web, the fruit of the metaverse could be spoiled for everyone.

A significant opportunity for the metaverse to be privacy-compliant comes with the impending deprecation of cookies. Google now plans to phase out the tracking mechanism by 2023, a time that will likely coincide with fundamental development of the metaverse, given the technology is still years away from fruition. What this means for brands is that the metaverse could be an incubator for safer tracking methods, such as contextual marketing, because cookies will no longer exist as an option.

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