“Brands must put creators front and centre”: 55% of UK brand marketers set budget aside for the metaverse

91% of creators are keen to know more about the metaverse, with 55% of UK brand marketers already set budget aside taken from other marketing channels. Are you ready?

As we enter the era of the metaverse, and with Citi predicting that the metaverse economy could be worth $13tn by 2030, global creator marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy (BDB) has unveiled new research which sheds light on the opportunities offered to brands by creator marketing.

Global spend on Instagram influencer marketing in 2014 was $100m, according to the research. This dramatically hiked up to $7bn in 2019; it was then that a huge investment from big brands was seen across the board. That year, Estée Lauder announced they were to spend 75% of their marketing budget on ‘influencers’.

BDB set out to understand consumer, creator and brand marketer attitudes towards this new iteration of the internet: the metaverse.

Based on surveys and interviews with 4,560 US and UK consumers, brand marketers and creators, Creator marketing in the metaverse era offers insights into the metaverse from Heineken and Sandbox, and the potential opportunities it provides, with a core focus on the role of creators.

Consumers confused yet curious about the metaverse

Many UK consumers are already engaging with the metaverse, the study reveals, with younger audiences the most involved, but older age groups also engaging. 40% of UK Gen Z respondents (aged 16 to 24) say they are already active in the metaverse, while 32% of UK millennials (aged 25 to 34) say they are already active.

Despite this, the research shows that many consumers remain confused about the metaverse.

Only 22% of UK respondents believe they could confidently describe the metaverse to someone else (the figure is highest for those aged 16 to 24, at 39%), and 31% describe themselves as feeling ‘ambivalent’ about the metaverse, while 19% say they are ‘confused’.

However, overall, UK consumers remain curious and open to the potential of the metaverse, with 36% keen to know more, and 28% saying they would attend a brand event within the metaverse.

This consumer curiosity also extends to virtual influencers. Over a quarter of UK respondents (26%) state they would buy a product or service promoted by a virtual influencer, with the item they’re most likely to purchase being clothing (30% of UK consumers).

Creators are the metaverse experts for brands

BDB’s research shows that UK marketers have high hopes for the potential of the metaverse.

55% of UK marketers state that the brand they’re working for has a dedicated in-house team or agency exploring possibilities within the metaverse, while 55% already have budget set aside for marketing activity within the metaverse that has been taken from other marketing channels, and 46% say they are already executing marketing strategy within the metaverse.

In contrast with consumer sentiment, UK brand marketers are feeling both excited (30%) and hopeful (25%) about this new era of the internet.

When it comes to partnering with creators in the metaverse, UK marketers are generally open-minded, with 60% saying they would consider working with a virtual influencer.

Many brands also recognise the value of creators as experts in the evolving metaverse space, with 32% of UK marketers saying they would choose to work with creators over independent consultants with industry expertise. Furthermore,

Scott Guthrie, Director of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body said: “It’s communities not companies who hold power on Web3. And, it’s creators who can mobilise those communities”

91% of creators are keen to know more about the metaverse

Creator sentiment about the metaverse sits somewhere between that of consumers and brand marketers, with 32% of UK creators saying they are feeling ‘hopeful’ about the new era of the internet.

91% of UK creators say they are keen to know more about the metaverse and how they can benefit from it, and 29% say they are planning on operating within the metaverse over the next year.

BDB’s research points to the huge potential of the metaverse for brands. The study shows that consumers are increasingly open minded and curious about the new space; as well as highlighting the key role that creators will play in building the metaverse.

Thomas Walters, UK CEO and founder, Billion Dollar Boy, concludes: “Our research shows that consumer interest is there, but brands and creators must do their bit to help educate and guide people into the metaverse in a way that feels beneficial, fulfilling and purposeful.

“Creators are key to brands successfully entering the metaverse. They have unparalleled experience in establishing communities and spearheading innovation, and they will lead the way in this next era of the web.

“Now more than ever, brands must put creators front and centre when it comes to developing their marketing strategies.”