Virtual Out-Of-Home (VOOH) & Metaverse advertising is a thing

December 1, 2023

Virtual Out-Of-Home/Metaverse advertising (quite the mouthful), is disrupting the ad tech and gaming space for marketers, agencies, and brands alike. Ad tech and programmatic exec’s are aiming to natively integrate VOOH advertising into over 3 billion gamers lives moving into 2024 and beyond. 
Let’s take a look at how brands are looking to integrate this technology into their consumers' lives.

Understanding Virtual Out-of-Home Billboards

Alright, so what is VOOH/Metaverse advertising?
In order to understand that, it’s important to note where VOOH lives. Currently, the vast majority of VOOH lives in the Metaverse. The metaverse for those of you who live under a rock is the emerging 3-D enabled digital space that uses VR, AR and other advanced tech to allow people to have incredibly personal experiences in the digital world. 
Here are a few of the most popular metaverse worlds out there right now: Roblox, Fortnite, Decentraland, Minecraft, and Meta’s Horizon Worlds to name a few. VOOH is the billboard advertising that would be in these digital worlds. 
Advertisers and brands are looking to harness these worlds and assert themselves in the metaverse, and for good reason: the growth is unignorable. 

According to a report published by Statista, the market is expected to develop at a CAGR of 24.82% between 2023 and 2030 – The countries leading this growth will be in the United States and China. To add more context to this, the latest McKinsey research shows that the metaverse has the potential to generate up to 5 trillion in value by 2023. [1]

Leveraging Virtual Billboards for Brand Advertising

There are a handful of brands already jumping in on the trend and seizing the opportunity by the horns. The most recent brand that caught my attention was from Macy’s! The team at Macy’s partnered up with Journee, a metaverse technology company, to help bring this activation to life. The hub, named Mstyleslab, will debut with Macy’s new line of wear titled “On 34th” and will aim to provide Macy customers with gamified shopping experience while navigating the New York landscape. This move signals how established brands are embracing metaverse activations to connect with their audience in new ways.  
If you haven't experienced this, you should check it out here: Macy's Mstyleslab.

Here are some other brands that have done activations in the metaverse: 
1. Gucci teamed with Roblox in 2021 to bring “Gucci Garden” to life.
2. Forever 21 launched “Forever 21 Shop City” on Roblox – which has led to over 250,000 users to visit the city. 
3. Nike partnered with metaverse platform RTFKT to offer virtual products to users to own in the digital world.

Benefits and Advantages for Brands

The benefits of metaverse advertising for agencies and brands is interesting because of the wide range of way’s marketers can re-shape their traditional OOH. Let’s explore some of the key advantages of the innovative approach. 
1. Global Reach & Accessibility: VOOH/Metaverse ad’s offer the potential to serve advertising to a global audience, and connect with diverse audiences – completely removing the regional limitations associated with traditional OOH. 
2. Immersive/Personal Brand Experiences: The metaverse is inherently personal, most worlds require your personalization to the characters you use. If brands can tap into their audiences interests it can prove to be a strong tactic. 
3. Potential Cost-Savings: Brands and agencies can save substantial dollars on VOOH because the upfront costs are less. Things like printing, installation, and maintenance costs are all things that would not necessarily apply to VOOH - Although other costs may be prevalent. 
That said, there are some considerations that I personally believe brands & agencies MUST consider when diving into this space, let’s discuss those! 

 Challenges and Considerations

1. Potential Privacy Concerns: It will be increasingly important for programmatic and advertising executives to ensure that they are harvesting and using consumer’s data with transparency. As users continue to spend more time in digital environments, maintaining their privacy and trust should be the northstar for ad serving platforms. 
2. Ad-Blocking & User Agency: A potential limitation that brands may run into is having the option/finding workarounds to block or avoid advertising. Advertisers should be on the ball for delivering content that genuinely interests the user and avoid the spam or unwanted crap – ultimately respecting the user agency. 
3. Ethical Considerations: A potential question that brands & agencies should ask themselves during the gamification of these events could be: What are the ethical implications if our product/event is addicting/exploits user behaivour? It’s an interesting topic because the goal should be to create rewarding experiences, not to manipulate users. 
Now with the potential advantages and limitations out of the way, let’s wrap this up with the future of this Metaverse advertising and some key takeaways.

The Future of Virtual Out-of-Home Billboards

The future of this innovative advertising medium holds tremendous potential for brands, agencies, and marketers. I think Salesforce’s Global Innovation Evangelist, Brian Solis, summed it up perfectly: “It’s a virtual immersion into the next generation of the internet. The metaverse will be iterative, not any one size or shape. And the capabilities we have within it will all be unlocked by both open standards and the devices that we wear or that we use to interact in these worlds.”


And that’s a wrap! VOOH & metaverse advertising is a thing – a big thing. This new medium provides brands with unique opportunities to engage with audiences in innovative ways. To summarize, here are the key takeaways from this blog post: 
- The Metaverse advertising market is set to explode and the likes of Mckinsey consulting are very bullish on how big it will get. 
- Brands were hot to jump in when the metaverse craze first started, but has cooled off since. Many brands are now being more methodical and thorough with their activations. 
- While the upside has insane potential, brands & agencies should also consider privacy, ad-blocking, and ethical implications when venturing into the metaverse.
- The future of VOOH holds exciting possibilities, including: 1. Immersive experiences 2. Advanced personalization 3. Integration of emerging technologies.