These Brands Are Betting Big On The Metaverse

Global metaverse revenue opportunities on things like live events, ads, social commerce and hardware are projected to reach over $1 trillion according to JPMorgan, and $800 billion according to Bloomberg. The market for game makers and gaming hardware alone may surpass $400 billion. 

Gaming and entertainment brands, as well as some fashion labels, are paving the way for brands seeking to navigate the metaverse. Meanwhile, Google contributed almost $40 million in a private equity fund for all metaverse projects and Walmart has filed dozens of metaverse trademark requests since December 2021. And big brands like Nike, Meta and Disney are creating their own metaverse business units.

There are already 1 billion active augmented reality (AR) users worldwide, and that number will almost double by 2024. What’s more, 56 percent of influencers say they currently participate in the metaverse. As marketers continue to break through the noise facing consumers 24/7, understanding and embracing new immersive technologies can be an effective way to engage and delight audiences.

According to Harvard Business Review, brands seeking to enter the metaverse should first determine their place in it and balance the risks and rewards of entering the digital landscape. Next, they should determine whether and how much of their target audience spends time in the metaverse and adjust their approach accordingly. The metaverse may be the next iteration of how we use the internet to connect, communicate and transact so it’s also important for brands to stay in a “test-and-learn” mode and remain agile as they venture into this uncharted territory. 

Ahead, see a round-up of some of the brands that have embraced the metaverse so far—or plan to in the near future—and how they’ve navigated some of the considerations raised by HBR.


Autodesk developers have recently begun using its software to design and build virtual worlds for entertainment and gaming. It now features several products for the purpose of rendering 3D animation, constructing virtual buildings and creating within virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) landscapes. Revenues from this segment alone were up 10 percent year-over-year (YOY) in Q3 2021, further pointing to the possibility that Autodesk may soon be the main contender for metaverse developers.


In the Italian fashion brand’s metaverse retail store, digital shoppers won’t buy clothes but instead participate in gaming experiences with the opportunity to accumulate QR codes, which can then be used to make purchases in Benetton’s physical stores. The brand’s Milan flagship was transformed into a mixed-media experience to tease the look and feel of the store in the metaverse, according to WWD.


TikTok’s parent company is in the beta-testing phase of its own metaverse called Party Island. Though ByteDance refuses to label it a “metaverse,” conceptually Party Island is a metaverse. Users can create personal avatars, chat in a virtual world and schedule real-world events. The company spent $1.4 billion to acquire VR headset maker Pico—solidifying its entry into the metaverse space along with a number of other investments within the metaverse supply chain.


Google has started investing in the metaverse with a $39.5 million contribution to a private equity fund for all metaverse projects. Despite the failure of its AR glasses in 2014, chief executive officer Sundar Pichai has since frequently addressed the company’s ongoing interest in AR. It may even make services like YouTube and Maps available in the virtual landscape.

Gucci and Roblox

In May 2021, Gucci debuted the Gucci Garden, a two-week art installation aimed at raising brand awareness among young customers, inside Roblox. Upon entering the garden, visitors could view, try on and buy digital Gucci products to dress their blank, genderless avatars before exploring the garden’s themed rooms.

JPMorgan Chase and Decentraland

The largest bank in the US and seventh-largest in the world has recently made moves to modernize its brand by designing and launching a lounge in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland called The Onyx. The opening coincided with the release of its report on growth opportunities within the metaverse, which found that the metaverse’s market opportunity will reach over $1 trillion in annual revenues. It said the risk of “being left behind is worth the incremental investment needed to get started” in the race to occupy a space in the metaverse.


Few companies are boldly pushing for a metaverse future the way Meta, formerly Facebook, is. Mark Zuckerberg has shifted the company’s priority almost entirely to the metaverse and has committed a $10 billion initial investment in development, and has filed for several patents related to tech that utilizes metaverse users’ biometric data to generate what they see in the virtual landscape. The company intends on monetizing the metaverse through virtual commerce and advertising revenue streams.


Microsoft aims to expand its dominance over the professional software market by integrating the Internet of Things into the metaverse, along with digital twins and mixed reality. For example, in order to troubleshoot, boost collaboration and directly interact with their product spaces, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will allow professionals to recreate and visit their retail stores or factories during virtual meetings.

Additionally, the company made a substantial move into the social metaverse space in January when it announced its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, which would give the company access to 400 million monthly active gamers. 

Microsoft’s Xbox celebrated its 20th anniversary with a virtual 3D museum where gamers could personalize their own avatar and camera POV to immerse themselves in the franchise’s history of consoles, games and infamous mistakes.


It’s no secret that the metaverse requires a monumental amount of processing power. That’s where Nvidia has a leg up in the metaverse. Chief executive Jensen Huang said that the metaverse could save money and resources while reducing waste by simulating plants, factories, power grids and other infrastructure products before they’re constructed in the real world.


Qualcomm recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft to develop new technology that facilitates consumer and enterprise adoption of AR. The company’s chief executive mentioned that its Snapdragon semiconductor products—which already power an array of augmented and VR devices, most notably Meta’s Oculus Quest—will dominate the next generation of the Internet of Things and the metaverse. 


Founded in 2004, the online entertainment platform that allows users to develop games has roughly 47 million daily active users (including about half of American children), 9.5 million developers, its own digital currency and several unique virtual experiences. The company recently purchased Guilded, a platform designed to connect various gaming communities.

Selfridges and Pokémon

To commemorate its 25th anniversary in 2021, Pokémon partnered with Selfridges, designer Charli Cohen and Yahoo Ryot Lab, to build a virtual city called Electric/City where fans could shop for exclusive virtual and physical Pokémon merch. Visitors were able to create custom avatars, dress them and view them via AR body-tracking Snapchat Lens and share them on social media and other virtual platforms.


The Canadian ecommerce company will play a critical role in monetizing the metaverse. It will be responsible for the digitalization of assets, currency and the ability for content creators to get paid. In 2021, it made two moves giving it a foothold into the possible commerce aspirations of the metaverse. First, it acquired the AR app Primer, which will allow users to see the effects of a purchase or project in their space firsthand—a powerful tool that’ll allow subscribers to build-out shopping experiences and stores in the metaverse. It also launched an NFT platform allowing digital creators—the first of which being the Chicago Bulls—to sell art and other content directly to consumers.

Several other companies are beginning to toy with the idea of a metaverse future by applying for trademarks. Brands like Victoria’s Secret, L’Oreal and McDonald’s and even the now-defunct Blockbuster have all filed trademark requests for online retail services featuring virtual foods, brand names, product names and more. Premier League champions Manchester City, along with its new partner Sony, is building its iconic home, Etihad Stadium, in the metaverse using Sony subsidiary Hawk-Eye’s image analysis and skeletal-tracking technology.

Cannes Lions Names AB InBev 2022 Creative Marketer Of The Year

After consistently hitting the mark on innovative marketing, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has been named Cannes Lions’ 2022 Creative Marketer of the Year.

The accolade comes after AB InBev won 40 Cannes Lions awards across seven countries and 11 brands for its 2020/2021 work: two Grands Prix, two Titanium, nine Gold, 10 Silver and 17 Bronze Lions.

At the helm of the brewing giant’s marketing efforts is Pedro Earp, who’s served as AB InBev’s chief marketing and ZX Ventures officer for the past three years.

“We are only getting started. We will continue to focus on our consumers and customers and leverage data and innovation to deliver creative business solutions that answer real needs and drive consumer, community and commercial impact,” said Earp.

Some of the company’s noteworthy campaigns include Bavaria’s Tienda Circa in Colombia – AB InBev internal agency draftLine’s first Grand Prix—Michelob Ultra’s Contract for Change in the US—which won the PR Grand Prix and an additional eight Lions including a Titanium—and Corona’s The Match of Ages in Mexico, a project that spans over 70 years of classic moments throughout soccer history.

In a LinkedIn post, former Anheuser-Busch chief marketing officer Marcel Marcondes said, “In moments like these, the learnings are what really matter.” Here are a few of his takeaways from this chapter:

Have A Simple And Clear Strategy

“MKT, Creativity and Innovation must always be at the service of strategy. To find solutions for business and consumer problems. This is how you drive growth. Otherwise, it’s just entertainment.”

Put The People You Serve At The Center

“You may (you should) have lots of data, but we build brands for humans, not statistics. True leaders at winning organizations adjust how they work and what they do to better connect with the ones they serve. Even if they need to pivot everything.”

Have A Team That Believes In The Vision

“Experience, skills, competencies. Of course it all matters. But nothing is more important than being surrounded by people willing to give their best because they believe in what they are doing. They will grow fast.”

Cannes Lions introduced the Creative Marketer of the Year award in 1992. Past recipients include: Microsoft (2021), Apple (2019), Google (2018), Burger King (2017) and Samsung Electronics (2016).

AB InBev will be honored at the final awards show of the festival, which is set to resume in person in France this year from June 20 to 24, with digital access available to participants.

EMarketer: US Digital Ad Spending By Industry 2021

In 2021, eMarketer expected digital ad buyers in the US would spend about $191.09 billion, a 25.5 percent increase from 2020 and the largest in absolute terms since it started tracking these metrics five years ago. 

The firm’s latest research, “US Digital Ad Spending by Industry,” reveals what channels consumers gravitated toward and what drove ad investments in 2021 across 10 industries: automotive, computing products and consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, financial services, healthcare and pharma, media, retail, telecom and travel.

Growth By Industry

In 2021, every industry raised ad spending by at least 10 percent. 

After a difficult 2020, entertainment digital ad spending surged as movie theaters and amusement parks reopened.

Retail grew by 34.5 percent, an impressive figure given its spending growth has never dropped below 20 percent.

CPG expanded by 31.7 percent while computing products and consumer electronics posted strong growth of 29 percent as consumers relied more heavily on ecommerce.

Emarketer predicted travel would see a turnaround of about 70 percentage points in 2021 though not anywhere close enough to recover from its pandemic-driven declines. It also anticipated auto’s digital ad spending would grow by 20.5 percent.

Media was expected to increase digital ad spending by 21.1 percent in 2021 while healthcare and pharmacy was expected to expand by 11.6 percent.

Share By Industry

Retail has accounted for more than 20 percent of the US digital ad market since eMarketer started tracking these metrics by industry. In 2021, it forecasted retail would account for 24.9 percent of all money spent on digital advertising. By the end of 2023, retail’s market share will reach 26.6 percent, more than double that of every other industry besides CPG.

Six of the 10 industries eMarketer analyzed are waning in relative significance for the overall market due to retail’s rapid expansion. As a result, for the rest of eMarketer’s forecast period of 2022-2023, CPG and entertainment are the only industries that will become more significant year after year. 

Computing products and consumer electronics will also continue to see strong growth and maintain an 8.6 percent share of the US digital ad spending market.

Mobile Ad Spending

Also last year, eMarketer predicted ad buyers in the US would spend $129.79 billion n mobile formats, which will account for 68 percent of total digital ad spending compared with the 17.5 percent increase mobile ad spending saw in 2020.

Entertainment, computing products and consumer electronics, CPG, financial services and telecom would devote more than 70 percent of their digital ad budgets to mobile, eMarketer said.

Retail was predicted to be the largest spender on mobile last year, followed by CPG, financial services, and computing products and consumer electronics.

Travel has traditionally leaned more toward nonmobile than other industries but as consumers are more comfortable booking trips on mobile, eMarketer expected it would spend 58.9 percent of its digital ad budget on mobile.

For the first time last year, financial services would spend 70 percent of their digital ad dollars on mobile, according to eMarketer’s 2021 prediction.

Non-Mobile Ad Spending

Mobile ad spending has drawn more share from nonmobile over time however connected TV (CTV) is shaking things up and becoming a booming channel for digital ad spending. Last year, eMarketer anticipated CTV ad spending would increase by 48.6 percent to reach $13.41 billion and will continue to grow faster than on mobile until 2023.

Emarketer also predicted US digital advertisers would allocate $61.29 billion to nonmobile channels in 2021, with retail spending the largest chunk at $16.68 billion.

Healthcare and pharma, travel, and auto have slowly embraced a mostly mobile spending strategy over the past few years and all three will join the new trend of splitting their budget between mobile and nonmobile.

In 2021, entertainment, retail and CPG increased their nonmobile spending faster than the other verticals, which aligns with their high growth rates for digital ad spending overall.

Search Ad Spending

Travel had always spent the most on search among the verticals eMarketer tracks until 2020 when it reduced its spending on the format by 54.2 percent—a number so substantial it materially affected Google’s bottom line in Q2 2020.

Emarketer’s 2021 prediction was that every industry would expand its search spending by at least 10 percent, with major recovery coming from entertainment, CPG and retail. The firm forecasted these three would grow their spend by more than 30 percent.

While retail leans toward display, it was to spend $20 billion, or 43.5 percent of its budget, on search in 2021, eMarketer predicted. The firm also forecasted that CPG and financial services would spend more than $10 billion on search in 2021.

Display Ad Spending

Emarketer predicted display ad spending would accelerate to 27.4 percent in 2021 and cool off somewhat this year and in 2023. Retail again leads here, followed by CPG, financial services, and computing products and consumer electronics.

It also anticipated that entertainment, computing products and consumer electronics, telecom, and auto would spend at least 62.2 percent of their digital budgets on display in 2021.

Video Ad Spending

Emarketer’s display ad figures include spending on video, which it considers a subcategory of display.

The prediction here was that in 2021, video ad spending would reach $55.34 billion—or 51 percent of all display ad spending. That would make it the first year that video accounts for more than half of the display format. 

By the end of 2022, eMarketer predicts video will capture just over 30 percent of all digital ad spending. That’s not far behind search, which will drop to a 39.4 percent share.

Last year, retail was expected to spend the most on video, $12.14 billion. Entertainment and computing products and consumer electronics heavily leaned into video both within their display budget and overall. The former was expected to spend 42.6 percent of its entire digital ad budget, or $4.75 billion, on video in 2021.

LinkedIn Launches New Podcast Network

LinkedIn has decided to invest in audio, launching its own pilot podcast network called LinkedIn Podcast Network, which includes 12 in-house shows from the platform’s news team, career influencers and executives in an array of industries.

The ad-supported shows are geared toward the platform’s audience of professionals and students and focus on topics like new tech, the hiring process and mental health. 

Among the hosts LinkedIn has tapped for its podcast shows include co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, who will be spearheading a podcast about personal entrepreneurship called The Start-Up of You. Other hosts include Morra Aarons-Mele with The Anxious Achiever show, Rufus Griscom with The Next Big Idea and Winnie Sun with Yes Factor.

The LinkedIn Podcast Network comes on the heels of the success of Hello Monday, a podcast produced by LinkedIn News in which host Jessi Hempel covers the ever-changing nature of work and its impact on people. The shows are ad-supported and Verizon is the initial sponsor.

According to eMarketer, the US leads the world in podcast listenership across every category. In 2021 alone, almost 118 million Americans could be considered to be ‘monthly podcast listeners,’ representing 40 percent of all internet users. The firm’s research predicted that global podcast listeners would reach 424.2 million this year and exceed 500 million in 2024.

The company’s foray into podcasts is part of its ongoing effort to entice professional creators to its platform. It launched an incubator-style Creator Accelerator program and pledged to invest $25 million to help up to 100 US-based creators build their audience and amplify their voice.

It’s also a sign that the future of social platforms might be audio. In July 2021, Facebook launched Live Audio Rooms and podcasts in the US. Around the same time, Instagram added the ability to search for audio within the app’s search tab—making it easier to tap into trends based on music clips—and Twitter opened Spaces, its live audio conversations feature, to all accounts with 600 or more followers on the platform. 

Innovating When You’re Already Digital-First with Quontic Bank’s Aaron Wollner

Aaron Wollner is the CMO at Quontic Bank where he is helping lead the charge of becoming the first digital bank in the metaverse.

On the show today, Aaron and I discuss his path to become CMO, where he got his start, and how multi-variate testing and other analytical approaches led to his belief around how to be data-led in a responsible way. Later, we discuss how Quantic Bank is an adaptive digital bank and how they are pursuing banking in the metaverse.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to innovate when you’re already digital-first
  • The importance of investing in people, not technology
  • What’s worth measuring and what’s not

Key Highlights

  • [01:30] Aaron’s take on being data-driven
  • [04:00] Aaron’s path to becoming CMO
  • [06:47] What it means to be an adaptive digital bank
  • [08:02] How Quontic was born
  • [10:03] How to innovate a digital bank
  • [11:37] Scaling and growing the market
  • [14:01] Building brand guidelines
  • [15:40] Investing in people versus technology
  • [17:44] Balancing what’s worth measuring with what’s not
  • [21:42] An experience that defines Aaron
  • [24:06] Aaron’s advice to his younger self
  • [26:49] Becoming the first digital bank in the digital metaverse
  • [28:29] The brands and organizations Aaron follows
  • [30:46] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned:

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Trend Set: Snapchat Name Change, Grubhub Goods

Ayzenberg Junior Strategist Ashley Otah recounts last week’s trends.


Convenience is king. Grubhub expands its ‘Grubhub Goods’ convenience offerings nationwide with the help of its 7-Eleven partnership. People are becoming more comfortable with eCommerce and the speed at which desired items can arrive with one click. Rightfully so, the options to order online and have goods delivered helps people from varying backgrounds and abilities to have their needs met. In addition, the space is rapidly expanding as the competition between competitors quickens. With that in mind, brands must concisely convey value add for audiences with convenience in mind.

Pot Roast

According to her owner, Pot Roast the beloved TikTok cat, has passed. The journey and passing of the cat via social media highlight the interconnectedness of online personalities, their lives, and viewers. Although the relationships between all are purely social, the ripple effect touches the masses even beyond screens. The experience known as parasocial relationships is debated as perfectly normal, not inherently problematic, and dangerous and damaging. However, the humanity of those behind the screens can not be denied as millions of people connect, even if only online, and it is something to acknowledge further.


It’s all in the moderation. TikTok takes steps to protect women and the LGBTQ community by banning deadnaming, misgendering, and more. The video-focused social networking platform has updated its Community Guidelines to reflect these changes and hopefully create a safer space for all to enjoy the application. The outlined actions align with audience expectations and demands for transparency from organizations. The ongoing updating of safeguards and support will continue to be a core attribute consumers look for.


For you, by you. YSL’s best-selling beauty product is continuing to break on the scene. Dubbed as one of TikTok’s must-need viral products, the Rogue Sure Mesure Custom Lip Color Creator is an item that consumers view as the future. Even with a higher price point, reviewers said they “would pay twice the amount for it.” Brands can utilize a white space that satiates a need where others have missed the mark by involving the consumer in the process and providing a level of personalization that they can not get anywhere else.


Name game. The highly requested option to change usernames will be available to Snapchatters starting February 23. The update is a sigh of relief for those who have been on the platform since its early inception. The new feature highlights an underlying desire to change front-facing information on social media. Offering users the option to update information and profiles as beliefs, appearances, and perceptions change allows consumers to navigate life with a digital footprint. This flexibility will be a continued trend as audiences are exposed to social media and entertainment outlets at a younger age.

Snapchat Announces Revenue-Sharing Ads For Top Creators’ Stories

Snapchat just announced a new way for its top creators to earn extra money. In the coming months, the platform will introduce mid-roll advertisements in the Stories of Snap Star accounts. These are public figures or creators with a large following who deliver entertaining content and have been verified by Snapchat, as indicated by a gold star next to their username. 

The new feature offers creators a share of revenue generated from ads within their public Story, marking the first time Snapchat will split ad revenue with creators through Stories. A select group of Snap’s Star users in the US is currently testing it and Snap said it will make the feature available to all Snap Star users later this year.

The amount of revenue Snap will give creators will be based on a formula that takes into consideration metrics such as engagement and posting frequency. The company believes that placing ads within a Snap Star’s public Story allows for a more streamlined path to earning an income on the app given that “Stories lower the barrier to content creation and engagement,” it said.

The mid-roll ads are a win for creators and advertisers alike. For the latter, they present yet another opportunity to reach the Snapchat community with high-value placement. Snapchat users already view ads between Stories and in the Discover section, though the new creator-focused ad offering is a first for Snap.

According to Snap, “Snap Stars give their audiences unprecedented access into a diverse and global set of interests, including the arts, beauty, news, gaming, music and more. Snap Stars are eligible to have their content featured in Snapchat, and are indicated by a star.” These users enjoy unique updates, tools and in-app analytics that simplify engaging with their subscriber base.

To become eligible for a Snap Star upgrade, Snap considers five factors. A creator’s account has to have a large and engaged audience; they have to create and share stories with the general public on a regular basis; the account has to be authentic and represent a real person; it must also be highly searched for or culturally relevant; and the content shared must be original, safe and meet Snap’s community guidelines.

The news comes on the heels of Snapchat’s acknowledgment of users’ move toward a more TikTok-like experience over Stories as they have spent less time viewing and posting Stories and spent more time watching content on Spotlight, which is the platform’s TikTok equivalent.

The new feature is one more way to entice creators to stay on the platform. In 2021, Snapchat announced Spotlight Challenges, which, throughout the year, paid over $250 million in cash prizes to users that created top-performing videos using certain topics, Lenses or sounds.

98% Of Consumers Plan To Make At Least One Purchase Through Social Commerce In 2022

The future of social commerce is here. Sprout Social’s latest social shopping study found that 68 percent of consumers made at least one purchase directly from social media in 2021. 

In December last year, the firm surveyed 1,000 US consumers about their social media habits and their thoughts on social commerce as social media constantly redefines how we communicate, learn, connect and now: shop.

Consumers are increasingly turning to TikTok Shopping, Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops when embarking on their purchase journey, a trend that seems to be picking up speed. This year, 98 percent of consumers said they plan to make at least one purchase through social apps or influencer commerce, found the report.

Social media apps have evolved into a “digital mall” where connecting with friends, like-minded individuals, influencers and celebrities are just the beginning. Now, users can socialize while they shop and even get guidance from influencers while doing so—just the way they’d receive advice from a Google search or a rec from a friend. 

As a result, brands play an even bigger role in guiding customers through their shopping journey. Where once consumers had to email or call a brand about questions, now they can direct message them or interact with them during a live shopping event. Sprout Social’s research found that more people discover a product directly from the brand that sells it than they do through their own research, peers and influencers.

Finding the perfect purchase while using social media is as seamless as it seems. The most common ways consumers are finding those products are by seeing a targeted ad (49 percent), organic post by a brand (40 percent), doing research on social media (34 percent), seeing a friend’s post (34 percent) and hearing about it via tags and direct messages (22 percent).

Sprout Social also found that in 2022 consumers intend on shopping through the social platforms where they feel most comfortable and spend the most time. Gen Z social shoppers are most excited when it comes to visual-first social networks like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Baby boomers are more inclined to use Facebook to make purchases while women look forward to shopping on TikTok and Pinterest. Men will be spending their social shopping time on Twitch and Twitter. Don’t be surprised at not seeing Facebook at the top of any of these cohorts’ lists—only those above age 57 anticipate using it to make an online purchase this year.

When people shop via social, they turn to friends for recommendations—especially those aged 18 to 40—consider comments or product reviews, assess their familiarity with the brand and consider their significant other’s recommendation – in that order.

During lockdowns, Gen Z, millennials and Gen X started trusting influencers as much as they trust their friends. According to associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago Dr. Jenna Drenten, these “parasocial” relationships between consumers and influencers have grown to be a key driver of purchase intention, especially given influencers often cultivate communities of trust and shared passions. 

Baby boomers haven’t incorporated influencers into their decision-making the way they have friends and family. For all cohorts of consumers, a lack of established trust may be why strangers’ product reviews and crowdsourced comments have such little impact on purchase decisions.

Inclusivity is another important driver of social commerce. As much as 60 percent of consumers report being more likely to buy from a brand with inclusive marketing. Inclusivity is particularly important for Gen Z (73 percent) and millennial (72 percent) shoppers while consumers over the age of 41 are more likely to remain neutral about the extent of which inclusivity matters.

The features that consumers use currently and expect to use more frequently into 2022 include watching live streams (61 percent and 53 percent), in-app shopping (41 percent and 46 percent) and commenting and engaging on livestreams (35 percent and 33 percent). Only 16 percent of respondents reported using virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) through 21 percent hope to use it more this year.

Livestreams are the most popular feature on social media platforms. About 71 percent of livestream watchers have bought something on social while 48 percent expect to buy more through in-platform features in 2022. 

Note that audience matters here – 61 percent of Gen X shoppers and 44 percent of Gen Z shoppers expect to watch livestreams this year. Additionally, 45 percent of shoppers are excited about buying directly via their favorite social platforms. That number rises to 52 percent for Gen Zers.

Early adopters of AR and VR are prepared to spend more, with 85 percent of consumers who currently use AR and VR saying they’ve already started social shopping.

By 2025, social shopping is set to become a $1.2 trillion channel. Brands seeking to capitalize on the trend should prioritize a streamlined in-platform shopping experience.

NBC Today Show Teams With Ad Council For She Can STEM Super Bowl Spot

Among the celeb-filled and comically irreverent ads that aired on Super Bowl Sunday, one stood out for its important message to the next generation of scientists, computer programmers, biochemists, web developers and other STEM professionals.

NBC’s Today Show debuted a public service ad (PSA) featuring the show’s anchors to encourage girls, non-binary youth and trans youth to pursue their interests in STEM. Part of the She Can STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) campaign, the 30-second spot was created by Deloitte Digital together with Ad Council and If/Then.

It opens with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in the Today Show studio saying bye to their virtual show guests – Karina Popovich, chief executive of Makers for Change; Mitu Khandaker, chief executive of Glow Up Games; and Tiffany Kelly, founder and chief executive of Curastory. All three women are STEM role models from the AAAS If/Then Ambassadors Program.

After a rueful Guthrie says, “I wish they had those cool kinds of careers when we were growing up,” we’re taken back in time to her classroom in the ‘70s where she and fellow anchors Kotb, Al Roker, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly are students. When the teacher asks what everyone wants to be when they grow up, young female classmates name careers you can pursue through STEM, with responses ranging from “I want to make immersive video games” to “I want to analyze data from the cloud.”

Like the spot’s closing message notes, STEM has come a long way. Still, women make up half of the total college-educated workforce in the US yet they only account for 27 percent of the STEM workforce. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, a path that continues through high school and college and ultimately leads to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.

“If you’re watching television and you see role models who look like you doing groundbreaking work, you begin to believe, `If she can do it, then I can do it,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the If/Then Initiative.

Since Ad Council launched She Can STEM in 2018, the campaign has aimed to dispel stereotypes that discourage girls from joining STEM careers and inspire them to explore and stay in STEM. By sharing stories of role models who have influenced technologies that impact our lives today and providing educational resources to kickstart their path in STEM, Ad Council helps girls see themselves in these industries and prepares them for their own STEM journeys.

NBCUniversal donated airtime for the spot to air twice on Super Bowl. Before and after game day, the Today Show featured the PSA in two segments, including a behind-the-scenes “making of” segment with the anchors, and a segment with Mitu Khandaker discussing her experience as a STEM role model and the importance of women in STEM. 

The spot will be distributed to NBCUniversal stations nationwide for future airings throughout 2022. NBCUniversal is also featuring content about the PSA and the importance of STEM for girls on

To learn more about She Can STEM, click here and follow @shecanstem.

CNN Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust Resigns

This week in leadership updates, CNN marketing chief Allison Gollust steps down, the Crypto Council for Innovation names Sheila Warren chief executive, The Wing promotes Jen Cho to chief executive and more.

CNN Chief Marketing Officer Allison Gollust Resigns

Allison Gollust, CNN’s chief marketing officer, has stepped down. The resignation was first shared via the chief executive of CNN’s parent company in a memo to employees.

The move comes after a company probe concluded that Gollust, Chris Cuomo and former CNN president Jeff Zucker violated news division standards.

Gollust addressed her exit in a comment on Tuesday night:

“WarnerMedia’s statement tonight is an attempt to retaliate against me and change the media narrative in the wake of their disastrous handling of the last two weeks,” she said. “It is deeply disappointing that after spending the past nine years defending and upholding CNN’s highest standards of journalistic integrity, I would be treated this way as I leave. But I do so with my head held high, knowing that I gave my heart and soul to working with the finest journalists in the world.”

Crypto Council For Innovation Taps Sheila Warren As Chief Executive

Sheila Warren has been named chief executive of global lobbying group Crypto Council for Innovation, according to

The cohost of Money Reimagined, Warren counts head of blockchain and data at the World Economic Forum, senior executive at TechSoup and executive director at NGOsource as previous experience.

The Wing Elevates Jen Cho To Chief Executive Officer

Women-focused co-working space The Wing has promoted its marketing head Jen Cho to chief executive.

The appointment comes on the heels of the company’s new flexible membership options, planned Europe expansion and emphasis on a code of conduct for members, guests and staff.

Cho succeeds Wing co-founder Lauren Kassan, who will advise Cho in her first few months.

Wing co-founder and previous chief executive Audrey Gelman resigned in 2020 after complaints of staff mistreatment and the closure of 11 of its locations at the start of the pandemic.

RentSpree Names Channing Fleetwood Chief Marketing Officer

Marketing exec Channing Fleetwood has joined RentSpree as the company’s marketing chief.

Fleetwood joins RentSpree from Laserfiche where he most recently served as vice president of marketing.

Rental Escapes Appoints Willie Fernandez Chief Marketing Officer

Rental Escapes has hired travel and hospitality veteran Willie Fernandez as its new chief marketing officer as part of its initiative to grow brand awareness and drive new strategies.

In his previous role as vice president of sales and marketing at Travel Leaders Group, Fernandez started the company’s first ecommerce site and raised sales by more than $50 million over the course of three years.

Most recently, he was vice president, general manager of the luxury villa rentals division at World Travel Holdings.

Island Records Promotes Sharon Timure To Senior Vice President, Head Of Marketing

Sharon Timure has accepted a promotion as Island Records’ senior vice president and head of marketing, reports Variety.

Timure’s tenure at Island’s parent company Universal Music spans more than 15 years. She most recently served as Island’s vice president of marketing since 2015, working closely with Shawn Mendes, Bon Jovi and others.

Vanguards Fashion Group Hires Christopher Morency As Chief Brand Officer

According to WWD, Vanguards—the parent company of fashion labels Nanushka, Sunnei and Aeron—has hired former editorial director of Highsnobiety Christopher Morency as its chief brand officer.

Morency will be responsible for leading Vanguards’ global brand strategy and identifying new investment opportunities.