What is Metaverse Influencer Marketing?

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Metaverse influencer marketing is the new hot topic for virtually every advertising expert. As the metaverse evolves into a must-have component of every digital strategy, companies are increasingly looking for new and improved ways to connect with their audience, and generate communities.

For years, influencer marketing has stood as a valuable tool for businesses hoping to boost credibility, audience engagement, and sales. By 2030, the industry is expected to reach a phenomenal value of around $143.10 billion, with a growth rate of 33.4%.
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A significant portion of this growing market now belongs to the future of the metaverse. Not only are companies looking for new ways to showcase influencers in their “metaverse environments”, but brands are also using metaverse technologies to generate new influencer identities.
Here’s what you need to know about influencers in the metaverse, and the rise of “virtual influencers”.

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What does Influencer Marketing Look like in the Metaverse?

Similar to any form of marketing, influencer marketing in the metaverse can take on a multitude of forms. From a traditional standpoint, metaverse influencer marketing may include collaborating with celebrities and well-known public personalities on NFT collections, metaverse environment experiences, and social posts.

@LilMiquela, an AI entity created for the metaverse regularly collaborates with different brands to showcase various products, such as cosmetics:

Even traditional celebrities can get involved creating assets for the metaverse to be used by other companies. For instance, Lady Gaga released a music pack designed specifically for the “Beat Saber” VR rhythm game.

1. Short-Form Video Influencers

One common theme among metaverse influencers, and influencer marketing in general today, is the rising demand for “short video”.
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In a time when consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of content they have to view online, shorter videos are becoming more engaging and powerful. According to HubSpot, 39% of marketers believe short-form videos generate the highest level of ROI.

The @JollyGreenInvestor uses TikTok to engage with audiences about topics relevant to the metaverse, such as cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and web 3.0. The creator often uses metaverse-style effects like filters and unique backgrounds to enhance his videos.

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Logan Theobald, @Lstoast is an Instagram-based influencer who regularly produces video posts and reels showing his experience in the Metaverse. Here, we can see examples of Logan interacting with different virtual environments, and showcasing metaverse landscapes:

2. User-Generated Content from Micro-Influencers

The evolution of the internet and the rise of concepts like Web 3.0 has also allowed for the development of a host of smaller “micro-influencers”, creating user-generated content for brands. As concepts like Metaverse community development become more crucial in the years to come, many brands may begin switching celebrity influencers for everyday people.

For instance, when the HSBC banking group creates its own metaverse, it will be able to share content of people enjoying and exploring it’s virtual environment in advertising campaigns.
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Many people exploring Metaverse landscapes for the first time will be keen to share their experiences online, through community-based channels like Twitch, and YouTube. Here, we see an example of @Legendaley partying in the metaverse with his own custom avatar:
Additionally, many micro influencers and creators are beginning to spend more time showcasing the assets they’ve collected in the Metaverse. The rise of NFTs and in-game items produced by brands will lead to an onslaught of user-generated content from customers highlighting their new collections:

3. Blockchain Gaming Influencers

Influencers in the metaverse are also on the rise in the gaming industry – one of the landscapes to be most affected by the rise of new Metaverse environments. Blockchain gaming concepts have grown increasingly popular among digital communities, and many companies are taking advantage.
Chevy decided to auction off an NFT version of their new corvette in Fortnight, giving buyers exclusive initial access to the digital twin of the product in the metaverse environment. This led to the introduction of numerous videos by influencers and creators on how to unlock the car.
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There are also other great examples of celebrities and micro-influencers getting involved with the gaming side of the Metaverse. We’ve already mentioned Lady Gaga’s collection for the Beat Saber game, and various celebs have also shown themselves competing in the title:
As the metaverse continues to expand, even traditional board games are beginning to introduce their own metaverse variations. For instance, Catan VR will soon be available to play on the Oculus, giving online streamers more ways to collaborate with brands:

4. Celebrities in the Metaverse

Celebrity collaborations are nothing new to the digital advertising landscape. However, we may see some major changes in how brands and celebrities work together in the metaverse. For instance, many leading celebrities, such as Paris Hilton and Brie Larson have begun purchasing their own landscapes in the Metaverse, where they can connect with fans.
This could create an opportunity for companies to showcase their products within the metaverse “spaces” of other celebrities. Items appearing in music videos shot in the metaverse could be a subtle form of influencer marketing going forward.
Influential celebrities like Paris Hilton have already collaborated with leading Metaverse environments like Roblox, for the creation of new environments and experiences. Paris Hilton created the “Neon Carnival” and “Paris World” in the sandbox environment.
Some celebrities are even creating their own assets and accessories for users to wear and use in the Metaverse. For instance, Steph Curry released a selection of NFT sneakers for Metaverse avatars which almost immediately sold out.
The celebrity also collaborated with Under Armour in an influencer-led marketing strategy following the NFT drop, to create a range of new sneakers for collectors.
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The Rise of Virtual Influencers

Perhaps the most interesting change occurring in the metaverse landscape from an influencer marketing perspective, is the rise of a new form of “digital” influencer. In a world where hyper-realistic avatars can be created from scratch, companies don’t necessarily need to work with a living person to promote their products.

According to Virtual Humans, the website dedicated to tracking virtual influencers across the web, there are already more than 150 “digital influencers” on social media. Brands like Balmain, Calvin Klein, and Samsung have all partnered with existing digital influencers in the past.

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In fact, some digital influencers have already achieved massive acclaim in the pop-culture world. Lil Miquela, one of the most famous virtual influencers to debut in Instagram in 2016, was named one of the most influential “people” on the internet in 2018.
However, as the excitement around virtual avatars in the metaverse continues to grow, we’ve also seen an influx of companies creating their own influencers, such as:

Prada (Candy)

Prada launched its virtual influencer Candy to avoid working with specific celebrities and influencers on its future campaigns. The name of the influencer is based on the title for a perfume produced by the brand, helping the company to give its products a more human feel.
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Daisy

Daisy Yoox, created by the popular luxury discount site “Yoox”, is a fashion-forward digital influencer based on the actress Hannah Gross. This influencer has shared content for a range of different companies over the years, including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
While Web 2.0 marketing and public relations focused heavily on paid ads, banners, and celebrity endorsements, Web 3.0 is all about community building, incentivizing users to take ownership of their own branded assets, and play a part in developing the brand.
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Maya

Popular in Southeast Asia, Maya is the virtual influencer created by the Puma brand, to showcase lifestyle and clothing products. Puma partnered with UM Studios x Ensemble Worldwide to launch the virtual influencer and connect with its target audience.
According to the company, research had told them it was difficult for any single influencer to make the right impact across the full SEA region, which is why they opted for a digital alternative.
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Crowdcreate is a leading crypto, NFT, web3, and metaverse marketing agency that’s helped some of the top projects in crypto create buzz, grow a digital community, and connect with influencers & investors.

What’s Next for Metaverse Influencer Marketing?

As the launch of the Metaverse brings with it new demands for community-driven experiences, transparency, and human connections, it’s likely the need for influencer marketing will continue to grow. Businesses entering the metaverse will continue to work with human influencers and celebrities to bring life to their digital creations and environments.
However, as the tools available for creating virtual versions of human avatars continue to expand, there’s a good chance we’ll see more “digital influencers” too.
The key for most companies will be determining how to properly connect with their audience on the best possible level as they shift into the metaverse.

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