The term Metaverse is most likely synonymous with fear, unpredictability and ‘robots taking over the world’, for you. Don’t worry, us too. With the term being thrown around on social media left, right and centre, it’s only right that we take the time to dig into what it really entails and how you, as a brand, can utilise metaverse influencer marketing in the coming virtual world.
The Metaverse: The Basics
Most of you would have encountered the word ‘Meta’ after Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the ‘new’ Facebook, re-branded as Meta. But what exactly is the Metaverse? Is it a term for the void we are all about to get sucked into? Or is it the dystopian future that the people outside of train stations drunkenly try to talk to you about?
In layman’s terms, the Metaverse is “a 3D version of the internet”, claims Matthew Ball, an expert in exploring this world. It runs parallel to the real world and is a place for people to live a digital life as an avatar who is able to interact with other people’s avatars. Daily activities in the Metaverse can include attending work conferences, buying land and hosting parties. While this all sounds too good to be true, it is a known fact that this isn’t actually in full swing yet. Only those who own the correct equipment—pretty much any type of virtual reality headset—are eligible for access right now.
How can I benefit from the Metaverse as a brand?
If you are asking yourself this question, then we must assume that you are an avid conductor of social media influencer marketing strategies already… in the real world, of course. If not, why not check out our social media marketing campaigns blog to get yourself up to speed.
The influencer industry is currently worth a whopping $13.8 billion, with brands expected to spend up to 15 billion USD more on influencer strategies throughout 2022. In comparison, the Metaverse is set to become an $800 billion industry by 2024. Now, these are a lot of figures to digest, but just how do you get your slice of the pie and claim some of that money for yourself?
Metaverse Influencer Marketing Tip #1: Brand Collaborations
Metaverse influencer marketing will take on a whole new form in the shape of new and improved collaborations. Brands and influencers will now be able to partner up to create fully immersive 3D experiences for their audiences. Fitness influencers could look to hosting a virtual workout in which their followers will be able to gain access and join in alongside them. This could be a successful way of increasing engagement with a brand new activewear line that the influencer has just launched. Food influencers may want to host a virtual cooking class upon the release of their new recipe book. In the Metaverse the ideas are endless and, more importantly, incredibly engaging; increasing reach and ROI.
Metaverse Influencer Marketing Tip #2: New Monetisation Structures
You’ve set up your immersive experience with your chosen influencer and your audience is raring to go, but it’s free for anyone to enter the metaverse so how will you ensure that you make money from their visit to your event? NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) are tokens that users can purchase, sometimes in the form of tickets, in order to gain access to an event in the metaverse. This is what generates revenue for both brands and influencers, upholds a brand’s image and makes customers feel even more included in such an exclusive experience.
Metaverse Influencer Marketing Tip #3: Virtual Influencers
While the Metaverse will re-shape marketing strategies for influencers in the real world, it will also see the rise of a new type of influencer entirely: an artificially intelligent one.
We know what you’re thinking. 80s sci-fi movies have probably lulled you into thinking that robots are already taking jobs away from humans. However, think of it as a new co-existence rather than a takeover. Virtual influencers are computer-generated avatars whose systems are programmed to behave like human beings with likes, dislikes and opinions. After gaining a loyal following, these artificial influencers are sought out by brands to be the face of their latest campaign and these are often the campaigns that prove to be the most successful.
Virtual influencers have existed since 2016 with popular influencer Lil Miquela being presented to the world in this year. With 3 million Instagram followers, Lil Miquela has partnered with brands such as Calvin Klein and Samsung and has become a worldwide phenomenon. Brands have even commissioned tech companies to create virtual avatars for them specifically for marketing campaigns. The first ever digital supermodel was Shudu, created for Balmain in 2018 and she now has 233K followers on Instagram.
The attraction to artificial influencers is largely based on the level of creative control that brands are allowed to have when partnering with them on a campaign. As long as the influencer’s image is upheld, the brand is allowed to run with whichever terms and conditions they wish; ultimately setting themselves up for success. Having a digital brand ambassador automatically begins the crafting of a strong digital presence in the virtual world, putting them two steps ahead of their competitors. Remember, though we cannot interact with these artificial influencers in the real world, in the Metaverse this is possible; creating a truly unique experience for customers.
In some ways Metaverse influencer marketing can be likened to regular influencer marketing, but in a virtual reality. However, the crossover isn’t as simple as that. The Metaverse offers a multitude of new campaign strategies that just aren’t feasible in the real world. As you are aware, keeping yourself up to date with current trends and updating your business strategies to remain relevant is vital to ensuring longevity. Expanding over into the Metaverse could be the key to your success.
What does the metaverse mean for marketing/marketers?
Metaverse influencer marketing is an effective way to stay up to date with a rapidly changing industry. Benefits include;
New and fully immersive brand collaborations/experiences
New monetisation structures
Virtual influencers for business growth and an increase in ROI.