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Are We Ready For The Metaverse? – UK Study

Global creator marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy unveiled a major study earlier this year which sheds light on opportunities offered to brands by creator marketing initiatives as we enter the era of the metaverse.

With Citi’s prediction that the metaverse economy could end up being worth $13 trillion by 2030, Big Dollar Boy set out to understand consumer, creator, and industry perceptions on the new iteration of the internet.

The Metaverse Era 

Based on interviews and surveys with UK consumers, brand marketers, and creators, ‘creator marketing in the metaverse era’ offers unprecedented insights into the metaverse and the potential opportunities that it provides, with a core focus on the role of creators.

The report included perspectives from industry contributors including Meta, Heineken, Sara McCorquodale, Scott Guthrie, The Sandbox, DXSH and CC Studios.

Consumer Perceptions Of The Metaverse

The study reveals that many UK consumers are already engaging with the metaverse (which was defined in the study as the collective term for the current and future immersive form of the internet), with young audiences the most involved, but older age groups also engaging. 

40% of UK Gen Z respondents (from the age of 16 to 24) said they were already active in the metaverse, while 32% of UK millennials (25 to 34 year-olds) said they were already active.

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

Only 22% of the respondents believed they could confidently describe the metaverse to somebody else (the figure was highest for those aged 16 to 24, at 39%), and 31% describe themselves as feeling ‘ambivalent’ about the metaverse, while 19% said they were ‘confused’.  

However, overall, UK consumers remain curious about the potential of the metaverse, with 36% of them reporting that they were keen to know more, and 28% saying they would attend brand events within the metaverse.

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

Marketers Taking A Leap Into The Metaverse

The research shows that UK marketers have high hopes for the potential of the metaverse.

55% of UK marketers stated that the brand they were working for had a dedicated in-house team or agency exploring possibilities within the metaverse, with 55% of them already having a budget set aside for marketing activity within the metaverse taken from other marketing channels, and 46% saying they were already executing marketing strategies within the metaverse.

Jonathan O’Lone, the Brand Global PR Lead for Heineken, said: “Our marketing strategy towards the metaverse has always been proactive, rather than reactive; we want to look at innovation as a source for creativity.” 

In contrast with the consumer sentiment, UK brand marketers are feeling excited and hopeful about this new era of the internet. When they were asked to choose the emotion they attributed most to the metaverse, almost a third of them (30%) chose ‘excited’ and a quarter of them (25%) selected ‘hopeful’.

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

Many brands also gave recognition to the value of creators as experts in the metaverse space, with 32% of UK marketers saying they would choose to work with creators rather than independent consultants with industry expertise. 

Furthermore, 60% of UK marketers said they would be willing to give up creative control for a metaverse campaign to work with a creator who understands the metaverse better than they do.

Creators Ready For The Metaverse

Creator sentiment about the metaverse sits somewhere in between that of consumers and brand marketers: 32% of UK creators say 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 in the next year.

The research points to the massive potential of the metaverse as a space for brands to explore new creative opportunities to immerse people into a new virtual world. It also highlights that consumers are increasingly open-minded and curious about this new space, and shows how creators will play a key role in building the metaverse and lead the way for marketers by harnessing their knack for creative innovation and their extensive experience of building loyal communities.

Thomas Walters, CEO and founder, Billion Dollar Boy, concluded: “As a space that is still yet to be built, the metaverse has huge potential for brands.”

“The creative opportunities are infinite, and unknown, and those marketers who are willing to be bold and invest now will reap the rewards.”

“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.”