The metaverse is a hot topic for both marketers and consumers, as the virtual ecosystem continues to evolve and mature. With 42% of US consumers identifying as enthusiasts, according to a recent report by Sitecore, it’s clear that the metaverse has arrived, and marketers are taking notice. The report, based on surveys of 1,000 US consumers and 310 US consumer brand marketers, shows that 87% of consumers expect the metaverse to play a significant role in their shopping and brand interactions in the future.

Brands are exploring the metaverse as a way to reach consumers, with 31% of marketers already incorporating the technology into their marketing programs and 55% having plans to do so in the future. Marketers see the metaverse as a tool for brand awareness (68%), customer engagement (59%), and new product or category creation (55%). To support these goals, marketers are using or plan to use the metaverse as a novelty item (57%), a way to test products (55%), a gamification function (50%), and a customer experience tool (40%).

Consumers are eager to engage with brands in the metaverse, with millennials and Gen Z leading the charge. These groups value exclusive content, diverse representation, and being part of a community in virtual environments. Marketers are targeting these groups with tailored experiences that meet their desires, and the majority believe that the metaverse will eventually become a dominant platform for consumer interaction.

The metaverse is not just a tool for consumer engagement, but also a platform for reinventing shopping experiences and even employee engagement. The most common metaverse initiatives focus on personalized and interactive shopping experiences, as well as creating community settings for users with similar interests, inclusive experiences for a diverse user base, and gamified experiences with rewards for activities.

Measuring brand success in the metaverse is a top priority for marketers, and they are currently measuring ROI through bringing new buyers to the brand (54%), gaining new followers (51%), and driving direct sales revenue (50%). According to Sitecore’s Chief Marketing Officer, Paige O’Neill, the most effective way to measure success in the metaverse is to show how it solves a specific business problem.

In conclusion, the metaverse is capturing the attention of both marketers and consumers, and the time has come for brands to start planning and building virtual experiences. Understanding consumer preferences and tailoring experiences to different audiences will be key to success, and brands must embrace the change in consumer behavior to meet them in the moment on the platform they prefer. With 67% of marketers believing that the metaverse will become a dominant platform for consumer interaction and 79% of consumers believing they will spend more time in the metaverse than on social media, the future looks bright for the metaverse.