By Prashant Sharma
Influencer Marketing works where there are people to influence, and fortunately or unfortunately, the entire generations of millennials and gen Z are entering the digital world of the metaverse. For most brands and companies, marketing becomes more effective when their target audience is concentrated at one place or one space for that matter.
The possibilities in the metaverse are endless for marketers across the world and applicable to practically any and every industry. As for influencer marketing, it is looking like it is going to thrive in the developing digital age. The metaverse now offers an opportunity for anyone to start their influencer journey, while it gives already established persons a chance to build their twin personalities in the digital space, where brands will look to cement their status of being innovative and trendy, while looking to stay ahead in the game.
Since time immemorial, people are adapted to follow trends often followed by the giants leading the game (the history of influencer marketing – pun intended). Meta previously known as Facebook, has very well established for players across the globe that the metaverse will be the future and the successor to the current mobile internet. From changing the name of the company to Meta in order to bring the metaverse to life, a huge buzz has been created especially among brands involved in a lot of digital marketing and the advertising space. Looking at some of the major brands, they have already made a move on looking into creating virtual avatars/ brand ambassadors for their companies, and using the social outreach of influencers with multiple collaborations. This entire market segment of the influencers in the metaverse is predicted to grow at a very monumental rate.
As for the marketing influencers, they will be able to collaborate and work successfully on such a platform as the usage of avatars and virtual collectibles will be used. Various types of ways to interact with the audience will enhance viewers, streamers, followers, etc. Newer communities and digital worlds will be created possessing focused audience. Interaction and engagement will be deeper, valuable and to the point.
Existing virtual influencers are seeking to move even closer to their community. Brud, the company behind Lil Miquela, a CGI model with over three million Instagram followers and a fee of about $8,500 per sponsored post, is in the process of turning itself into a DAO (a decentralised digital organisation) since earlier this year. The goal is to make Lil Miquela more community-driven, enabling fans to use tokens on the blockchain to vote on her character arc, including deciding which photos to post on social media.
In the recent light of events, the advantage of having done everything on the metaverse provides influencers to have online events where their fans can just stay at home and be part of it. With this, the outreach of the fandom and the marketed outreach of the influencer will double, and additionally, parents need not be worried about their kids going out and returning late.
The limitlessness of the online world is well illustrated by the fact that Travis Scott held a nine-minute concert at Fortnite with his avatar, which was attended by 12 million people and made $20 million. It is hard for anyone to make that much money with a single gig, and it is even harder to run a 12-million-people event. Most likely, the parents also preferred to let their children attend a concert from their room. More events, art exhibits, artists and musicians, conferences to worldwide forums are expected to go digital, enter the metaverse and drastically influence and engage people globally. Influencers will hold more and more events in the metaverse which are likely to be further customized, personal, leveraging and appealing.
While social media challenges (like the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014) still capture eyeballs, their impact is shorter-lived in the age of TikTok trends. Today’s youth is more likely to be influenced by conversations that take place on smaller, more intimate platforms like Roblox, Reddit forums, and Discord. Engagement in existing communities is extremely important. Consider this to be a form of influencer marketing.
User-generated content is crucial, and as a result, members of each community become integral pieces during the execution of varied marketing initiatives. Also, crypto influencers in 2022 are going to play a significant role in marketing metaverses. It is estimated that by 2022, brands will spend as much as $15 million annually on influencer marketing, some of which are expected to be spent on virtual influencers. The growth of this segment is very vast and as of now, it is growing as we speak. AI-generated content will be more popular and more entertaining, not only as an influencer; we might be shifting into an era where even AI shall be part of the growth of the metaverse and with the pre-existing type CGI based models and influencers, they too can be part of the community.
While 2021 has been the year of the metaverse, for all those who had been resisting entering this digital world, the ongoing pandemic has pushed them deeper with little to no escape. Having a digital version of ourselves, giving it a life we desire, allowing it to be present, speak and interact digitally instead of us, and creating a world that the community wants, is the highest level of engagement we can foresee and offer. If this doesn’t increase business then what will?
(The author is co-founder, Plutoverse. Views expressed are personal.)