The Explorers updated. Marketing across different virtual worlds

Over the next few months we’re going to an uplift in brands and companies marketing across a range of virtual worlds. We’re seeing a rise in companies allocating marketing budgets into the virtual worlds space primarily from brands who have been watching the space for a while and deciding now’s (or pretty soon) the time to engage.

Of course, great news for virtual world operators but potentially putting downward pressure on the prices worlds are able to charge for in-world marketing activities. However, worlds coming down the pipeline (launching shortly) may have a slight upper hand if their proposition is tightly focussed into a particular interest group/theme or demographic.

So, ‘The Explorers’ has been updated (below) to show the brands that are already marketing in virtual worlds (excluding Second Life). Also included are worlds not launched yet that already have brands signed-up to be present at launch.

In the kids, tween and early teens space, there’s been 49 marketing campaigns in virtual worlds. Whyville, Habbo andStardollhave seen the lions’ share of activity with 9, 8 and 8 campaigns respectively.

I’d like to say here that the longer a world has been active the more likely they are to have had marketing campaigns take place in them. This is true to a degree but worlds like Frenzoo (not launched yet), WeeWorld (only recently a virtual world) and Vizwoz are bucking this trend by bringing brands in at early stages of their development.

For late teen and older virtual worlds, there’s been 31 marketing initiatives to date (including pending launch worlds such as Home and Football Superstars). Most successful to date in terms of bringing brands in is There with nine campaigns. vSide and vMTV are tied in second place with six campaigns.

As with the younger worlds, this space is hotting up and an increase in brand activity is anticipated over the next few months.

We’re also starting to see brands deploy marketing into multiple worlds. Toyota has been the pioneer of this practice. Companies like Sears and Puma (emerging) are now adopting similar strategies. This is good if

a) The company wants the widest reach possible within a targeted age range – a single message campaign across multiple worlds.

b) The company has target markets in different demographic groups- different campaigns in different worlds.

Very shortly K Zero will be releasing the updated 7 Point Plan for Marketing in Virtual Worlds. Initially written in 2006, this plan was the first strategic marketing framework for companies considering entrance into the metaverse. This report has recently been updated to include a wider range of virtual worlds (existing and in development) and a wider range of marketing initiatives. It’s coming soon.