You can’t read business news nowadays without coming across thoughts from Metaverse influencers. Whether it’s Mark Zuckerberg declaring that Facebook will become a Metaverse corporation or Satya Nadella declaring that the Metaverse is one of Microsoft’s ambitions, the Metaverse is everywhere these days.
While the Metaverse is still being defined and developed, a number of prominent personalities have emerged as leading voices in the effort to educate, advise on and build the next generation of the mobile internet.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a collection of 3D virtual environments created to stimulate social interaction. In futurism and science fiction, it is frequently defined as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is aided by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets.
In the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, the term “Metaverse” was developed as a mix of “meta” and “universe.” Various metaverses have been built for public use, such as virtual world platforms like Second Life. Integration of virtual and physical locales, as well as a significant interest in the evolution of virtual reality technology, is prevalent in various metaverse incarnations.
The term has been widely used as a marketing buzzword to exaggerate development progress for a variety of related technology and initiatives. Information privacy, user addiction, and user safety are just a few of the problems raised by metaverses, which derive from the social media and video game industries as a whole.
The Metaverse & influencer marketing
Since the Metaverse has the capacity to totally reshape our lives, it is evident that it will alter the social media landscape and reshape influencer marketing.
Marketing and the creative economy are two of the most exciting and promising careers in the new world. Advertisers have significantly more data at their disposal than ever before, and sophisticated targeting will reach new heights. More precise and relevant data will be available than ever before. Brands will be forced to create digital twins and either follow or set new Metaverse trends. Influencers will have to consider building avatars and collaborating with brands in the Metaverse, as some have already begun to do.
The Metaverse provides artists with a whole new level of interaction and communication, not only with their audience, but also with their other influencer peers. Food influencers will be able to cook together. Travel influencers will be able to share their adventures. Sports influencers will have their fan base in the audience, and so on. It’s a playground with almost no restrictions right now, allowing all players, both influencers and corporations, to be pioneers, inventors, and creative geniuses. Another question that has arisen is whether Metaverse influencers need to be real people or whether avatars can also be influencers.
How to activate an influencer marketing strategy in the Metaverse
If you asked someone strolling down the street if they’d heard of the Metaverse a year ago, they’d probably say no. Throughout the year 2021, Google’s search statistics reflect a very modest level of interest in the metaverse, until a big and noticeable surge near the end of the year. Now, it’s all everyone can speak about. Whether you like it or not, the Metaverse has made its way into mainstream life, thanks in part to Facebook’s rebranding in October of last year.
The Metaverse is expected to be worth $800 billion, so where does influencer marketing fit in? Brands can use the power of influencers and creators to engage with consumers, and the Metaverse provides the latest opportunity to do so.
Nobody has yet conquered the space, but there are strategic methods to use influencer marketing in the Metaverse if you keep an open mind.
We went through the same craze when social media first became a thing: a new technology and a new means of connecting people and brands. Likes, comments, pages, profiles, tweeting, creating groups… all of these things initially caused widespread panic. Now we have NFTs, crypto-whatevers, block chains, and everything else… it all sounds very complicated. Panic has spread over the world once more.
When new technologies appear, we just need to view them as a new arena in which to apply established principles.
In the field of influencer marketing, an influential person does something on behalf of a business to impact a consumer’s purchase intent or respect. Influencers might either physically come to an event or share content that showcases your brand or project in a positive light. They now have the opportunity to interact with customers in a Metaverse setting.
Keep in mind that we’ve previously been exposed to a subset of the Metaverse. People can connect electronically through online games like Red Dead Redemption, Call of Duty, and Fortnite. Simply said, blockchain has made online games and worlds more open and accessible to everyone, including businesses.
The Metaverse is fascinating, but no one is quite sure how to use it yet. That’s the beauty of it: it allows consumers and brands to connect in even more ways. It may appear daunting, but it’s critical not to overcomplicate things.
Before being unwittingly sucked into the hype rollercoaster with no means to stop, brands must question themselves: what are they aiming to achieve with the Metaverse? Are they attempting to generate a Metaverse experience or activation that they will need to publicize through other channels? Or are they leveraging the Metaverse to encourage channel activation in their ecosystem? Or perhaps both?
Within the Metaverse, influencers can be employed effectively for both. Influencers who are more comfortable with virtual worlds, such as Decentraland, might be used by brands to co-create a virtual experience, which could then be pushed through the influencer’s more traditional Instagram and YouTube channels. Alternatively, they may have influencers dress up as avatars in virtual apparel to promote a new line the firm is launching in the real world.
Both are viable alternatives; marketers need only make sure their goal is crystal clear before plunging in. As with social media, places in the Metaverse can become an important aspect of a brand’s ecosystem.
At the moment, there’s a lot of buzz about virtual influencers because they’re new, fictitious, and unknown. Brands think that by collaborating with them now, before the boom, they may build some buzz. This is most likely a true story. Virtual influencers are ‘influencers’ nonetheless.
They are people with whom brands can work in a genuine way to gain respect or purchase intent. The method of leveraging them is the same as with physical influencers. This is true regardless of whether they create their material by programming a computer-generated image or shooting it in real life with a smartphone.
Top 25 Metaverse influencers in 2022
1) Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson is a well-known science fiction author. In his post-cyberpunk novel “Snow Crash,” published in 1992, Stephenson is credited as being the first author to use the term Metaverse. Stephenson explores Math, Cryptography, Linguistics, Philosophy, Currency, and Science History in his work. He was an advisor at Blue Origin, a firm formed by Jeff Bezos. From 2014 to 2020, he was the Chief Futurist at Magic Leap.
2) Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball is a well-known futurist, strategist, essayist, investor, and counselor. Ball is the Managing Partner of EpyllionCo, which has a pre-seed and seed venture fund as well as a venture and business advisory division. Ball has introduced The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF alongside Genvid Technologies CEO Jacob Navok and Roundhill Investments. People can invest in companies that are making the Metaverse happen now or are poised to do so in the future through the ETF.
3) Cathy Hackl
Cathy Hackl is a well-known tech futurist and business leader who has worked with businesses such as HTC VIVE, Magic Leap, and Amazon Web Services on Metaverse-related projects. She founded the Futures Intelligence Group, where she consults Fortune 1000 and top luxury fashion firms on Metaverse growth strategies, NFTs, and how to extend their brands into virtual worlds. She’s a well-known consultant, speaker, and media figure. Hackl is a Forbes contributor who has recently been featured in 60 Minutes+, Bloomberg, and Cheddar’s coverage of the metaverse. She’s working on a book about the Metaverse’s commercial potential, which will be published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
4) David Baszucki
David Baszucki, the Founder and CEO of Roblox, has been working for years to integrate the game business into the Metaverse. In 2004, he founded Roblox with the goal of connecting the world. Roblox now has an estimated total subscribed user base of 20.82 million, with roughly 400k new players joining every day. Roblox is now working with well-known brands like Gucci to develop immersive gaming experiences. Roblox just started a podcast called “Roblox Tech Talks,” the first episode of which is titled “Step Into The Metaverse,” and features Baszucki and Roblox’s CTO Dan Sturman.
5) Tim Sweeney
Tim Sweeney is the creator and CEO of Epic Games, which is responsible for one of the most popular video games in the world, Fortnite. Sweeney is also the developer of the Unreal Engine gaming platform. He has garnered numerous honors for his contributions to the gaming business, including the British video game industry journal MCV’s “Person of the Year” award in 2019. Sweeney was also named “Person of the Year” by Forbes Media Awards in 2020 for creating and transforming Fortnite into a gaming social network that conducts online events such as Travis Scott’s in-game concert, which drew 28 million spectators. Fortnite teamed up with Ariana Grande to host the “Rift Tour” concert gameplay on August 6, 2021.
6) Jensen Huang
NVIDIA Corporation’s CEO is Jensen Huang. He founded NVIDIA to address the issue of PC 3D graphics. Nvidia then moved on to the next phase of computing: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Huang reached out to the Metaverse, which is behind NVIDIA’s Omniverse, which is presently in beta. NVIDIA Omniverse is an open, cloud-native platform that enables real-time collaboration and process acceleration. Omniverse allows designers, engineers, and researchers to work together in interconnected virtual environments.
7) Philip Rosedale
Philip Rosedale is a lifelong entrepreneur who envisions a virtual world that is open-ended and connected to the Internet. He was a driving force behind the development of Second Life, a virtual civilization. In 2013, he co-founded High Fidelity, Inc., which offers a Spatial Audio API that provides immersive, high-quality voice chat in a tailored 3D audio stream for any application and any group size.
Mike Winkelmann, also known as Beeple, made history in March 2021 when he sold his “Everydays: the First 5000 Days” NFT collage everyday series for $69,400,00 at Christie’s auction house, making it the fourth-most expensive artwork by a living artist. “A visionary digital artist at the vanguard of NFTs,” according to Christie’s
9) Avery Akkineni
Gary Vaynerchuk is a force in the NFT world. As President of VaynerNFT, he has picked Avery Akkineni to oversee his team. NFTs, according to Akkineni, may both enhance brand value and provide community value. VaynerNFT is a company that was founded to assist the world’s top intellectual property owners in navigating the NFT arena. Budweiser has signed on as VaynerNFT’s flagship client to develop a public relations strategy to build excitement and engage with consumers through innovative experiences.
10) Krista Kim
Techism was founded by Krista Kim, a modern artist. Techism is an art movement that brings together technical progress and artistic production. Kim’s work has been displayed in the Palais de Tokyo Museum’s renowned square as well as the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. She is currently the SuperWorld ambassador, an augmented reality virtual environment that allows users and companies to create, discover, and monetize content.
11) Jamie Burke
Jamie Burke is the founder and CEO of Outlier Ventures, one of Europe’s leading venture funds and a platform focused on blockchain and Web 3.0 technology. Outlier Ventures has created an award-winning Web 3 accelerator that works with 30 pre-seed firms over the course of a year, assisting them in raising more than $130 million in growth capital. Outlier Ventures launched The Open Metaverse OS in February 2021, a shared and open operating system built on blockchains and crypto-assets that builds on the success of decentralized protocols such as DeFi and NFTs that have emerged in The Web 3 Stack.
12) Ryan Gill
Ryan Gill is the co-founder and CEO of Crucible, a cross-industry coalition working to forge the Open Metaverse based on open standards. The Emergence SDK is Crucible’s core offering, which gives game engine developers a way to access new Web 3 technologies while also providing them with a portable digital identity and in-world tools to manage their digital life across the Open Metaverse. The Direct-to-Avatar (D2A) business paradigm was created by his company. Crucible is establishing a market network of empowered gamers, modders, and artists in preparation for the new digital renaissance that will be ushered in in a few years by people who are inventing the future through gaming engines.
13) Marjorie Hernandez
Marjorie Hernandez co-founded LUKSO with her partner Fabian Vogelsteller. LUKSO is a lifestyle-focused blockchain platform that provides decentralized innovation and trust infrastructure for fashion businesses, entrepreneurs, and customers.
Hernandez also co-founded THE DEMATERIALISED with Karinna Nobbs, an educator, and connector. THE DEMATERIALISED is a virtual products marketplace that provides the fashion industry with new experiences and revenue sources.
14) Akash Nigam
Akash Nigam is the creator of Genies, an avatar-building platform that allows users to express themselves and connect with others. Nigam came to the Metaverse with the idea of using avatar creation to help individuals deal with mental health issues and find a place where they can fully be themselves. Genies secured $65 million in May 2021, led by Mary Meeker’s investment firm Bond, with the goal of expanding the NFT Marketplace, which allows users to create and sell tokenized avatars, apparel, and accessories.
15) Benoit Pagotto
Benoit Pagotto is the co-founder of RTFKT studios, a Metaverse-focused firm for next-generation footwear, fashion, and collectibles. RTKFT is a gaming and fashion platform that combines augmented reality, NFTs, and blockchain authentication. According to Pagotto, brands need to refocus their marketing efforts on Generation Z. RTFKT studios received $8 million in seed funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in May 2021. These funds will be used to grow the company’s global team and nurture new digital projects.
16) Sebastien Borget
Sebastien Borget, the co-founder and COO of The Sandbox, has extensive experience in blockchain technology and the mobile gaming industry. On the PoS blockchain platform, which minimizes the carbon footprint of NFTs by up to 99%, the Sandbox is a virtual environment where users can create, own, and sell their own voxel game experiences. The Walking Dead is now being brought to The Sandbox by Animoca Brands and Skybound Entertainment.
17) Andrew Bosworth
In addition to his role at Facebook Reality Labs, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is the Vice President of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality at Facebook. Bosworth is an essential piece in Facebook’s new step into the Metaverse.
A week after Mark Zuckerberg publicly stated that Facebook would become a metaverse firm, Bosworth announced the formation of a metaverse product team at Facebook in a blog post. Boz also hosts a podcast called Boz To The Future, in which he interviews Facebook executives about the company’s future plans.
18) Carolina Arguelles
Carolina Arguelles is the Group Product Marketing Manager at Snap, where she oversees a team responsible for the company’s augmented reality, visual search, computer vision technologies, augmented reality creator ecosystem, commercial augmented reality products, and camera developer SDKs. Her vision for how 5G will revolutionize augmented reality and fashion has resulted in exciting projects for Snap Inc’s Snapchat, including collaborations with well-known fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren and Dior.
19) Emma-Jane Mackninnon-Lee
Emma-Jane Mackinnon-Lee is DIGITALAX’s founder and CEO. This Web 3.0 digital platform creates the world’s first digital fashion operating system, leveraging web architecture to integrate fashion, gaming, modding, NFTs, DeFi, DAOs, virtual reality, and other 3D content environments. Diggyfizzy, a metaverse magazine, was developed by Digitalax to spotlight emerging producers and voices in the NFT business. The Web3 Fashion Week, a collaboration between Digitalax and Web3 Fashion, is the company’s next project.
20) Dirk Leith
Dirk Leith, a serial entrepreneur who has founded businesses in Europe and the United States, co-founded Upland. Upland is a property trading and NFT Metaverse game with a decentralized economy. It consists of a blockchain-based world-building platform in the Metaverse where users may earn money by buying, selling, trading, and developing virtual properties.
21) Evelyn Mora
Evelyn Mora created The Village Protocol Social Blockchain User Interface. She also established the DIGITAL VILLAGE. This is a social Metaverse using community-led Blockchain technology that prioritizes social and digital sustainability, digital land, and a marketplace for digital assets.
22) Teddy Pahagbia
Teddy Pahagbia founded BLVCK PiXEL. BLVCK PiXEL is a digital innovation company that helps brands and organizations adapt using augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, blockchains, AI, and advanced data management systems. The vision of BLVCK PiXEL is to accomplish corporate success via the use of technology while maintaining a human-centered approach to purpose-driven innovation.
23) Amber Allen
Amber Allen is the founder of Double A Labs, which provides everything from cutting-edge augmented and mixed reality experiences to spatial computing, photogrammetry, holograms, and projection mapping. Through their Phygital World, Double A Labs creates virtual experiences for brand consumers to watch, create, play, and shop, putting companies’ content into dynamic environments and experiencing unique and engaging experiences. Double A Labs has worked on projects for well-known companies such as AT&T, Twitch, and Dell.
24) DCL Blogger
Matty, also known as DCL Blogger, discovered Decentraland, a virtual world-building platform, a few years ago. He recognized the advantages of a community that was actively buying and selling NFTs for money, so he decided to turn it into a full-time job. As a result, he decided to start DCL Blogger to keep track of his Decentraland and NFT thoughts and discoveries. DCL Blogger is the creator of the Metakey, a token that can be used to convert into avatars, game goods, course material, virtual territories, and much more across numerous platforms.
25) Evo Heyning
Evo Heyning is a collaborative workflow and network designer who specializes in spatial interfaces, engagement strategy, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality. She founded Light Lodges, an interactive and immersive media agency and studio that creates mixed reality and virtual reality experiences and channels. She is also the CEO and Executive Producer of PlayableAgency, a firm that develops immersive and interactive events with playable cities and venues. Heyning has been the Co-Chair of the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group, an open and public Metaverse media network enabling communities to create new worlds, since June 2021.
Influencers have been around for quite some time, ever since the establishment of monetization on social media platforms. While some may question the need for these individuals, they are the people who “influence” the public on important topics regarding their industry. While the Metaverse is still a new concept, the influencers who fall under this category have existed in the digital world for quite some time. With their expertise, anyone looking for information regarding the virtual world will have everything needed to understand the concept.