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.