Six Good Metaverse Privacy Questions to Ask

Just like social media in 2006, the metaverse is coming at us fast. We probably aren’t ready for what it will bring. Many are wondering about metaverse privacy. What will it be like?

It might take a bit longer to smooth out the edges of the metaverse. Making it a fully immersive experience is going to take time. The truth is, we are probably closer to a ‘Ready Player One’ experience than you might think.

So, with these new technologies coming to the forefront, what can we expect in regards to privacy in the metaverse?

Will the metaverse be an improved version of the internet, where we have more privacy and control over our data? Or will it take a turn for the worse? And how will this affect digital marketing and advertising?

Let’s jump into 6 very important questions about metaverse privacy.

#1 – What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is in its early stages. It’s still sort of figuring itself out. 

We don’t know if it will be AR, VR, or some combination of the two. However, it will certainly be an immersive digital experience. It will be an experience that will completely transform our society, culture, and the world that we live in.

metaverse privacy
Get ready, the metaverse is closer than you might think…

To get a deeper understanding of what this technology might look like, be sure to check out our complete guide to the metaverse and to web3

#2 – Is the metaverse going to be private?

Truthfully, this could go either way. 

If the past few years have taught us anything it’s that many consumers don’t mind giving up their personal information for the sake of a great (and free) digital experience… or at least, they don’t even know that they are giving up their information for the experience.

Sure, things have started to change. Consumers are becoming more educated about the realities of internet cookies and how it affects their personal privacy. Tech companies, however, still have a deep hold of our data. This means it has the power to influence our attention, beliefs, and actions.

Cambridge Analytica and privacy
Cambridge Analytica showed us just how powerful data collection can be

So as the metaverse is in its earliest stages of development, it will be interesting to see how it is designed. 

If things go well, the metaverse could be a breakthrough in privacy-compliant digital marketing. Cookies are slowly becoming a thing of the past (Google plans to phase out tracking mechanisms by 2023), and Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework is leading the charge in privacy compliance. 

These positive trends signal that brands might be taking a larger role in privacy. This could lead to a more secure metaverse.

But there is also a possible darker side…

The power of the metaverse is its ability to completely immerse you in a digital experience. In theory, this means that the platform can track not only what you click, but also where you go, what you do, and even how long you are looking at certain things. The platform might even be able to track your vocal inflections, facial expressions, and more. 

This means that these platforms could have 100xs more data on you than they currently do.

Ultimately it will all come down to how the metaverse is built, and what consumers are willing to tolerate. 

#3 – Will the metaverse be free?

One interesting concept is the idea of a paid metaverse. 

A paid metaverse would work like a subscription service. This would allow platforms to monetize via subscription without having to track the information of their users for advertisers. 

This would be an easy way to confront the privacy problems of the metaverse. However, the past has shown us that consumers aren’t always willing to pay for access to digital platforms.

Really the only platform to consider a paid model is Twitter, but they have been extremely hesitant to pull the trigger on it.

Twiiter and implications of metaverse privacy
Twitter going behind a paywall could revolutionize social media for the better… but we probably won’t ever see it happen

And it makes sense – a paywall would limit growth potential, which is a stark contrast to the blitz-scaling mentality of Silicon Valley.

Ultimately, we could see a subscription version (and therefore ad-less) of the metaverse. In reality, though, it doesn’t seem likely in the early years of development. 

#4 – Will data be secure in the metaverse?

Data security in the metaverse will likely come down to a few key things.

Regulations could help, but if the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that most governments can’t keep up with the rapid pace of technology, which makes making regulations extremely unlikely. 

One likely thing that could help the security of data in the metaverse is if it were built on blockchain. The technologies from Ethereum, Solana, and others could lead to a completely cookie-less internet (and therefore metaverse), and the experience would be improved with the inclusion of crypto, NFTs, and other web3 technologies. 

A metaverse built on blockchain will be a digital experiment like we’ve never seen before

There is one last option. Platforms and advertisers agree to intentionally limit the amount of data that is collected in the metaverse. While this sounds like a nice solution, the truth is it’s extremely unlikely. At the end of the day, less data means less precise advertising, which results in fewer sales. Making money is the main priority. As such, the likelihood of marketers and digital platforms scaling back on the data collection is low. 

#5 – What are some ways that marketers can ensure that data is secure?

Growth and sales are the biggest priorities for advertisers. It’s difficult to see companies willing to limit the amount of data they have access to.

But, while data is the new oil, getting that oil is getting increasingly more difficult. Some new regulations have been set. A few platforms are trying to regain the trust of their users. Some major tech companies like Google and Apple doing this. They are starting to limit the amount of data they are tracking from their users. 

All of these aspects are making targeted ads more challenging as the data is getting murkier.

One possible solution could be contextual advertising. 

Contextual advertising is basically traditional advertising but on steroids. It’s all about finding content that is relative to your business and placing advertisements next to that content. There is so much data out there that while contextual advertising isn’t quite the sniper that cookie advertising is, you can still achieve amazing results. 

#6 – What can marketers do to make metaverse privacy a reality?

It’s important to remember that while money is priority #1, it can’t come at the expense of trust.

Consumers are growing increasingly irritated by aggressive advertisements that follow them around the internet. These cookie-based ads might generate sales, but possibly at the sake of building trust. 

Being overly aggressive with retargeting isn’t always a great look for brands

It’s important for marketers to maintain the trust of their audience, and by focusing on contextual advertising, SEO, and SEM, they can still generate sales without being overly aggressive.

Final thoughts on metaverse privacy and marketing

We are just on the cusp of the technological revolution known as the metaverse. It will be extremely interesting to see how things play out.

Will consumers be less willing to give up their data? Are governments to create regulations that benefit both advertisers and consumers? Will blockchain help bring about a more secure metaverse?

If you are considering taking your company into the metaverse, web3, and beyond, be sure to reach out to a First Page Digital Strategist.