Facial expression, eye movements, and body language are just some of the ways platforms may measure marketing performance in the Metaverse. Advertising engagement could be measured by biometric responses. An article in the Financial Times reported that Meta has filed several patents based on human body language interpretation. Patent technology includes eye and face measurements that are tracked by cameras or sensors in VR headsets. Conversion of advertising in the metaverse could be determined by how long you gaze at an advert. A smile from an advert could be measured in dollars.
The patented technology includes the concept to “adapt media content” based on your biometric reaction to the extended reality environment. Worlds, lighting, sound, and graphics may adapt into a personalised experience. Full-body immersion into the metaverse could also be planned as one patent describes creating a “wearable magnetic sensor system”. Avatars could soon be our digital twins with the creation of features and skin tones through photography.
As Big Tech enters the Metaverse so new ways of monetising centralised Metaverses become prevalent. Investment in the Metaverse is at an all-time high with Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) pledging over 10 Billion dollars a year into development. Microsoft similarly has invested in Microsoft Mesh as well as acquiring AltspaceVR and Minecraft as VR platforms. Crypto-funded Metaverses have seen a huge leap in interest with prices increasing by over 500% in the last few months within Decentraland alone. Brands and Celebrities have begun launching their Metaverse presence.
The idea of biometric advertising hints at how the Metaverse Platforms will be funded in the future, with a similar formula to the internet where the entrance to the Metaverse remains free.
The potential use of biometric marketing inevitably raises privacy questions. Keen to avoid concerns, the CEO of Meta wrote in an open letter
However existing laws surrounding internet privacy may not be sufficient. Metaverse user behavior monitoring for marketing purposes may require the need for a special category under GDPR. Data collection on the metaverse will require “explicit consent for each purpose for which the data is used” according to Norton Rose Fulbright. Data sharing on the metaverse is fundamental to interoperability, allowing the user to transfer objects and avatars across different platforms. How metaverse and web 3.0 platforms standardise and store user data is essential to prevent repeating the same mistakes on privacy that tarnished web 2.0.