The Impacts of TikTok’s Global Presence

As TikTok is driving a new wave of entertainment, is the platform reflecting culture or creating it? Or both? The worldwide ubiquity of TikTok has myriad impacts, including fascinating and unexpected benefits to society.

Here are a few insights into the Swiss audience

  • 1.7M monthly active users
  • 5.2M monthly creations
  • 8.7B monthly video views
  • 70 minutes spent daily
  • 16 daily open times

There’s No Denying the Significance of TikTok

Overall, TikTok has been downloaded more than 3.5 billion times. It is the first non-Meta app (and the fifth app of all time) to surpass 3 billion downloads. In 2021, the platform remained the most-download app globally, with 656 million downloads. The second-place app, Instagram, is rather far behind with 545 million downloads, making TikTok downloads more than 20% higher than Instagram. In the first fourt months of 2022, TikTok was downloaded more than 175 million times. TikTok is available in over 154 countries and has over 1 billion monthly active users, who spend an average of 52 minutes per day in the platform.

TikTok is Conquering the World

TikTok trends proliferate worldwide – and quickly.

Globally, TikTokers are united in their enjoyment of these new trends, driving a sort of global unity. Are people worldwide benefitting from this connection? 

TikTok takes credit for the impact the platform makes globally. “Beyond music, our platform and community impacts culture and generates trends that start on TikTok and permeate everywhere.” On 5 December 2021, The New York Times echoed this sentiment, referring to the platform as, “2021’s central vehicle for youth culture and online culture generally.”

But more recently, on 3 June, 2022, The New York Times published, “a lot of stuff posted on the platform is so goofy and weird that searching for meaning in it can feel downright idiotic.” To declare the platform as both goofy and idiotic, while also serving as a central vehicle for youth culture doesn’t bode well for the future. The scope of opinion on the platform is clearly broad, and there’s also no shortage of controversy surrounding it.

Trends – Conformity + Originality

Trends typically refer to changes towards a prevailing tendency. What’s “trendy,” is popular and becomes widespread. More people adopt the latest trend, from low to high rise jeans, verbal expressions, or types of social media posts.

Many creative influencers put their own unique spins on the latest trends. The trend merely serves as an inspirational jumping-off point. As Hootsuite writes, “Users putting their own spin on trends is the best part — and they often get rewarded (by the algorithm) for breaking conventions.” From moving moments, to experiences up to comedy and recipes, TikTok sets constantly emerging trends in various directions. Currently, the song by Lana Del Ray – young and beautiful is a trend, to which people on TikTok share fulfilling and beautiful moments with their community, whether it’s experiences from trips, vacation days at the beach, or good times with their loved ones. But also yummy recipes have made it into the trends, currently a recipe with pasta, butter, lemon and parmesan in particular is also going viral. But next to TikTok’s originality, it’s the inspirational side we do really like the most about TikTok, don’t we? It’s so much more than a trend machine, but really offers deep, meaningful, touching and emotional (in a good way) content.

TikTok’s All-Knowing Algorithm

It’s important for social media platforms to have an appealing interface and deliver an excellent user experience. A critical mass of users and content creators are also vital to keep users coming back.

But the algorithm is a massive source of differentiation.

For good or bad [or both] algorithms are powerful tools that drive the impact of a platform and shape users’ experiences. TikTok is no exception. Arguably, TikTok does a better job of this than all other platforms, as evidenced by its popularity.This all-knowing algorithm has also led to some interesting outcomes, including one social media manager who wrote, The TikTok Algorithm Knew My Sexuality Better Than I Did. Smart brands are able to harness this power and leverage the platform to connect with their audiences.

The Vital Role of Creators

TikTok has been strategic in recruiting and compensating content creators, knowing that they’re key to the success of any platform. In July 2020, TikTok launched a $1 Billion Creator Fund, through which “creators will be able to realize additional earnings that help reward the care and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas.”

TikTok has grown to be an authority on what’s hot. From songs and artists to fashion and products, the platform serves as a popularity stress test. And rewarding the creator community with creator funds is another way in which other platforms have followed TikTok’s lead, including YouTube Shorts, Meta, Snapchat, Twitter Spaces, and Pinterest.

70% of TikTok users say they feel like they’re part of a community. Beyond posting videos, creators can build and enhance community atmosphere by engaging with their audiences through tools like Stitch, Duet, Reply, and comments. Among our list of “Swiss Influencers & Content Creators to Keep an Eye On” is TikToker Julie Riess, who posts “Get Ready With Me” videos and shares with followers her decision-making process putting together outfits.TikTok promotes a variety of positive, uplifting activities. TikTok offers extensive support to content creators- even those creators who author content that’s consumed outside of the platform. Most recently, TikTok has partnered with Barnes & Noble and their creator community to launch the #BookTokChallenge, which encourages people to read new books and authors and then share their reactions.

How TikTok is Changing Marketing & The Value for Brands 

As we wrote in, “Influencer Marketing vs. Legacy Advertising,” traditional ads are a deviation from the content audiences want to consume, whereas influencer marketing fuses ads into the desired content. Recognizing this, TikTok has long advised, “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.” 

Many brands have been following this sage advice and achieving excellent results. Kantar’s Media Reactions Report ranked TikTok #1 for ad equity. “Ad equity measures the audience’s attitude and preference towards ads across media channels and premium media brands. In other words, TikTok’s branded solutions aren’t perceived as just ‘ads’ by audiences. In fact, TikTok tops the list for delivering branded content that actually resonates with online consumers.”

According to Kantar, “TikTok ad formats have the highest positive sentiment among consumers. This means that users are more receptive to TikTok ads than other media platforms.” “Of the 13 major digital platforms that Kantar compared, TikTok is credited for offering the least intrusive and most innovative ad formats.”

According to a TikTok-commissioned study conducted by Kantar, 72% of those surveyed agree that ads on TikTok are perceived as inspiring. “With innovative ad formats such as the Branded Hashtag Challenge, brands on TikTok now have the tools to become part of culture, enabling their audiences to create trends based on branded sounds, actions, effects or brand-related storylines that can travel freely across the TikTok community and beyond.” 

Kingfluencers TikTok services help brands harness this value with our unique holistic approach combining social media services, influencer marketing, and performance marketing.

Check out our blog and follow Kingfluencers for our upcoming articles.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Metaverse Part 4: Does Metaverse = Decline of Interaction & Connection?

Withdrawing from Socialization, Escaping into Online Worlds

The COVID lockdowns beginning in 2020 were likely to exacerbate growing tendencies for people to remain in their homes, eschewing socialization in favor of spending time online with social media, video games, and streaming entertainment. As written in Scientific American, COVID threatens to bring a wave of hikikomori to America. “Hikikomori, a syndrome of extreme social isolation originally found in Japan that described primarily young men who confined themselves at home rather than attend school or go to work.”

Video games, social media, and TV are all popular pastimes for the Swiss as well. In Switzerland, a total of 65.4 percent of the population played video games at least several times a year in 2021 – almost a third of the Swiss play several times a week or every day. 

The Continuing Trend of Living Life Online

Living life online has been a growing trend, particularly for young people. Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has been researching generational differences for decades. “Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states… The allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents.” Jean describes how teens are substantially less likely to date, drive, and work for money outside of the digital world.

Is the growth of the metaverse merely a continuation of the decline of in-person socialization? Are we on the path to where virtual worlds will dominate our existence?

In the movie “The Matrix,” machines enslaved humans. Unbeknownst to most humans, all of their experiences occurred only in a sophisticated virtual world. Will the metaverse be similar, with the exception that people voluntarily forsake reality for a virtual world? I must confess, I find the idea repellant.

Is Virtual Socializing Actually Socializing?

Simon Hohler, technical consultant at Ewasoft, explained that the metaverse, “Can be a medium of connection. For example, when people can’t visit loved ones in person, either due to distance or illness, the metaverse can provide users an experience of presence that is deeper than a mere phone call, or even video chat.”

Dr. Alen Lipuš, PhD, R&D Manager @ Pro-Bit, stated, “There’s nothing better than physical touch, but the metaverse is the next best thing.”

The question “Is virtual socializing actually socializing?” was examined in a two-year project led by the University of Exeter. Researchers found that, “training older people in the use of social media improves cognitive capacity, increases a sense of self-competence and could have a beneficial overall impact on mental health and well-being.” Participants engaged more in social activity, and particularly enjoyed connecting with friends and relatives via video chat and email.

When Virtual Reality is Real

Virtual reality is often considered not “real.” Virtual events and meetings refer to interactions taking place online via video conference. From knitting classes and book clubs, to dance workouts and happy hours, virtual events proliferated during 2020.

Remote participation in meetings has been a valuable option prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and remains a key tool for business collaboration. Many businesses hold remote meetings with potential new clients, land the account, serve the client, and earn revenue all without ever meeting in person. (On a personal note, I’ve been collaborating with Kingfluencers’ Co-CEO Yoeri since 2018 and have never met him in person.)

The connection and value delivered are no less “real” for the meetings having occurred virtually. Likewise, when seeing the smiling face of a dear friend via Zoom, the love we feel is no less real and powerful. The intentions behind our interactions are the same, as are most of the outcomes.

Should Brands be in the Metaverse? (If it Actually Exists…)

A recent article in The Drum made the case that the metaverse doesn’t actually exist (and emphatically so, I might add.) As we wrote in The Metaverse Part 3, metaverse is defined as, “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.”

The author repeated the point that such virtual reality spaces do currently exist, but within games, and therefore “the metaverse” as a distinct entity does not exist.

Picture Source

What Should Brands Do? Balance the Innovative with the Accessible 

Dr. Lipuš recommends brands, “Try to do something meaningful and practical, and don’t just follow some buzz.” Buzz can distort both the real opportunities and the risks. This may be the case with NFTs.

While it’s tempting to want to make use of novel technologies to thrill customers with unique promotions, there can be downsides. In particular, blockchain and NFTs are still complex, and many consumers aren’t ready to overcome the hurdle. When considering an innovative promotion such as NFTs, you should also know how familiar they are with that tech.

Mr. Hohler states, “There’s still a high barrier of entry for users and using NFTs is somewhat difficult. Users must come to a site, install their crypto wallet, and make purchases with crypto currency on an exchange, which includes doing ‘Know Your Customer’ identity verification. However, this is all changing very fast, on a daily basis. We advise brands to make their promotions easy to understand.”

Mr. Hohler predicts that the role of NFTs will grow. “I believe in the future we’ll all prove ownership of items such as real estate and cars by owning an NFT in our bitcoin wallets.”

Frontrunners and Trendsetters

Brands, consumers, and influencers can build new and endless variety of interactions in the metaverse. Hospitality businesses can offer VR excursions and fashion brands can sell virtual accessories.

Far beyond B2C and B2B businesses, the metaverse can be used by NGOs and healthcare organizations. Interactions during tutoring orvirtual therapy can be enhanced with the deeper connection the metaverse can deliver.

Set a Positive, Healthy Direction Now

With the current state of the metaverse, the risks we’ve addressed remain theoretical. Although looking at other parallels, we should expect these risks to grow, but there is time to prepare.

Far beyond B2C and B2B businesses, the metaverse can be used by NGOs and healthcare organizations. Interactions during tutoring orvirtual therapy can be enhanced with the deeper connection the metaverse can deliver.

Now is the time to take steps to build a healthy environment, impeding the growth of the negative.

Organizations and associations, such as the Conscious Influence Hub (CIH), can play a role in setting the direction and advising. Based in Switzerland, CIH is a non-profit NGO with a mission of “promoting the core values of respect, empathy, and transparency in the social media influence sphere.” Working together, Kingfluencers and CIH launched a Code of Conduct with best-practice guidelines, including being a role model for empathy and respect, and dealing with sensitive issues in a particularly responsible way.

Finding Balance in the Future – Anything in Moderation

Human beings require physical exercise to stay healthy, as well as some doses of sunlight. Remaining indoors, particularly sedentary, seated in front of a screen, is a recipe for a myriad of illnesses.

However, embracing the metaverse doesn’t have to mean abandoning other active pastimes, any more than eating a cookie means we no longer eat vegetables. Additionally, unlike traditional social media platforms, people can engage physically with the metaverse, with activities such as standing to ride a surfboard after sipping a Corona beer. Physical movement can provide health and fitness benefits to users, while also deepening the connection with brands.

Balance is key.

With a mix of the metaverse and reality, we will have the capacity to live life more intensely, making a variety of deeper connections on a global scale. The distinction between online and IRL will become smaller as people strive for balance.

Check out our blog and follow Kingfluencers for our upcoming articles.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

How Can We Fix Toxic Beauty Standards on Social Media?

Ogilvy UK will no longer work with influencers who distort or retouch their bodies or faces for brand campaigns in a bid to combat social media’s ‘systemic’ mental health harms.”

While this rule is undeniably well-intentioned, it still permits influencers to alter their appearance through numerous other mechanisms such as contouring makeup, push-up bras, false eyelashes, and hair extensions. Therefore, I wonder how effective it will be in making substantive progressive towards the goal of reducing unrealistic beauty ideals.

Most agree social media promotes unrealistic, toxic beauty ideals which negatively impact people’s mental health. What can be done about this complex issue? Who should do it?

Well, we have some ideas.

Growing Recognition of Social Media’s Mental Health Impacts 

“As a Gen Xer, the beauty ideals of my childhood in the ‘80s came from MTV (look it up, kids) and magazines. I have clear memories of the thin legs of the women in ZZ Top’s “Legs” video. My own legs have never been so thin, but I’ve learned to love them and appreciate their ability to cycle up steep hills in the woods,” says Megan Bozman, Content Creator at Kingluencers.

Body dysmorphia and depression certainly aren’t new developments that arose solely from social media. However, a myriad of research reveals social media use increases the prevalence of such maladies and worsens the conditions. 

The BBC states, “using social media does appear to be correlated with body image concerns.” The impact is especially pernicious with adolescent girls. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote, “The subset of studies that allow researchers to isolate social media, and Instagram in particular, show a much stronger relationship with poor mental health. The same goes for those that zoom in on girls rather than all teens. Girls who use social media heavily are about two or three times more likely to say that they are depressed than girls who use it lightly or not at all.”

People are increasingly seeking medical interventions to permanently alter their faces, inspired by touched-up or filtered photos of themselves. A 2020 survey of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) members reveals, “a surge in surgical demand not seen in recent years,” followed in 2021 by, “catapulting demand for facial plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures.” 

Does Low Self-Confidence Drive Increased Beauty Purchases? 

Do beauty brands benefit from these toxic beauty ideals? It’s certainly possible that women who have a negative self-image might spend more money on beauty products. Are brands therefore incentivized to run campaigns that damage self-image?

Of course, top line revenue shouldn’t be marketers’ only objective, and we hope most brands wouldn’t want to deliberately make people feel bad. But the issue is worth addressing since for-profit companies must prioritize shareholder value. 

The good news is that ethical behavior doesn’t harm revenue (at least in this case!) Some studies show that women with lower self-esteem use more makeup, probably to hide imperfections. However, women with higher self-esteem can also use makeup to attract attention.”

In the long run, no one wins from toxic beauty ideals.

Where Does the Responsibility Lie?

If, as a society, we want beauty ideals to shift towards natural depictions and an inclusive appreciation for the diversity of human appearance, how do we get there?

Much like with the battle against misinformation, tackling this challenge requires multiple entities taking more responsibility. Each group should play a role and serve to compensate for the shortcomings of the others. 

Social Media Marketing Specialist at Kingfluencers and Influencer Ha Vy Nguyen said,

“As an Influencer, this topic weighs on my shoulders, as one of our responsibilities is to be inspirational and set examples to our community. And if you heavily edit your photos, you’re contributing to the problem. At the same time, I have the pressure to present the perfect version myself and look a certain way. If I don’t deliver that, my engagement wouldn’t be as strong or my account wouldn’t grow as much. I would welcome a mandatory declaration, in the caption for example, stating that the photo has been edited. But to ban all photo editing I think would make too much of an impact, and not necessarily a positive one.”

Government Efforts to Combat Toxic Beauty Ideals

Conservative MP Dr. Luke Evans introduced a bill in the UK Parliament calling for advisory labels on images where influencers have digitally altered their bodies. Dr. Evans said people were “caught up in the arms race for the perfect selfie,” which was impacting mental health. He hopes “we can foster a society that aims for body positivity without physiques that are literally impossible without digital manipulation.”

A well-intentioned goal, to be sure.

But there’s a common phrase about where a path “paved with good intentions” leads. I’m not sure I agree with Dr. Evans assertion that his Digitally Altered Body Images bill is not an example of the ‘nanny state’ in action. Enforcement will be complex and multiple questions arise, such as if editing for artistic purposes would be permitted.

Brands Promoting Healthy Beauty Ideals

Brands should be trendsetters, taking the lead and setting a positive example. Revisiting the example at the beginning of the article, “Ogilvy UK will no longer work with influencers who distort or retouch their bodies or faces.” Dove only works with influencers that do not distort their appearance on social media, and has created campaigns that celebrate no digital distortion.

Dove has also launched a “#DetoxYourFeed” campaign, which includes a downloadable “Confidence Kit” and “Parents’ Guide” with academically-validated resources and tools. 

Influencers Embodying Natural Beauty

Like brands, influencers can also strive to set a positive example. Influencers can also put our below tips into practice, including partnering with other influencers who vary in appearance.

Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer, Kingfluencers, said, “This topic should also be addressed by agencies. The issue of ‘false’ beauty ideals is not a new phenomenon, nor is it unique to social media. It is a social problem that has been with us for years. On the one hand, social media intensifies this problem, but at the same time it can also be a solution. Despite all the retouching, you can find unedited, exciting faces, and unfiltered stories on topics such as beauty mania, mental health, and sexuality.

“Banning something usually doesn’t solve the problem. Put more emphasis on transparency. Divulging edits and discussing the issue are the only ways we can develop awareness and move forward together as a society.”

One of Kingfluencers clients said, “I personally welcome these developments. I believe that the prevailing situation, with selfies that are heavily edited, puts many people under pressure to meet unrealistic ideals and can be detrimental to mental health.”

Another Kingfluencers’ client said, “As the Eau Thermale Avène brand, we want to encourage everyone to feel good about their skin. Our slogan, ‘Healthy skin is confidence,’ illustrates this. For over 30 years, our skin care products have been developed by scientists and dermatologists dedicated to the life of skin, especially sensitive skin. Soothed, protected and repaired, people with sensitive skin can trust our dermatological expertise to help them regain self-confidence. Our manifesto includes the fact that imperfections are what make us unique. That’s the beauty of life.”

A Code of Conduct to Guide Responsible Influence

Based in Switzerland, the Conscious Influence Hub (CIH) is a non-profit NGO with a mission of “promoting the core values of respect, empathy, and transparency in the social media influence sphere.”

Working together, Kingfluencers and CIH launched a Code of Conduct that includes best-practice guidelines and examples. Preventing the dissemination of unrealistic beauty ideals aligns with CIH’s guidance to influencers, which includes being transparent with your community. 

France has required retouched advertising images to be marked as such since 2017. A new law in Norway will also require social media influencers to declare if they’ve modified their photos on paid posts. Swiss influencer Nives Arrigoni supports the law, ” In general, I’m for more reality on Instagram.”

Switzerland does not have such a law, although in 2019, the Swiss Compliance Commission (SLK) introduced the following in the regulations for fair and honest advertising, “It is unfair to use computer-processed images of bodies and body shapes in a deceptive manner in commercial communications in order to claim an effect or result that cannot be achieved.” The SLK has not yet received any complaints about it.

Top Tips for Brands to Promote Healthy Beauty Ideals

1. Work with influencers who vary in appearance.

It’s well known that women may use filters and digital editing to make alterations such as plumper lips, thicker hair, larger breasts, and smoother, wrinkle-free skin. Of course, plenty of women naturally have such attributes. It doesn’t help to ban digitally altered images if you then work only with influencers who naturally have the exact appearance everyone’s striving to recreate digitally.

Give the smaller-breasted lady a chance. Partner with the influencer with wrinkles. Let the short-legged woman model your dresses. Everyone likes to see themselves represented as people are so individual and special in their own way and come in all shapes and sizes.

2. Be transparent about your policies.

Make it clear that you either ban or at least discourage significant “face-tuning.” Clarify your position on using models and influencers who vary in appearance.

3. Reveal the power of non-digital visual alterations.

Makeup, lighting, and posture can all have significant impacts on people’s appearance. Show some “before and after” to give people a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Such transparency adds further authenticity to your social media presence.

4. Actively encourage mental health & wellness.

Encourage your community to take steps to improve and maintain their wellbeing, such as spending time in nature, exercising, and socializing in person. Back up words with actions. For example, make monetary contributions to charities such as Girls on The Run, or give staff a paid day off to volunteer building parks. Be part of the solution.

Cultivate Positivity and Brand Love for Longterm Revenue

Consumers aren’t eager to patronize brands that obviously strive to get their money via any means necessary, including deliberately making them feel bad. Fortunately, brands can clearly stand in opposition to this approach, and influencer marketing is a powerful tool for building such positive connections.

At Kingfluencers, we believe effectively matching brands and influencers drives value. Brands benefit from partnering with influencers who focus on positivity and realness, and who build a sense of community among their followers. Done well, influencer marketing can contribute to consumers feeling as though a brand adds value to their lives and understands them. Ultimately, cultivating positivity can drive brand love, resulting in long term revenue growth. 

Take the high road. Not only does it feel good, it benefits the bottom line.

Next Steps for Brands?

If you need influencers to represent your brand while authentically demonstrating uplifting beauty standards, contact Kingfluencers. We can help you select influencers and design campaigns so you can be part of the solution, while simultaneously achieving your business goals such as increased reach.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

The Metaverse Part 3: The Opportunity to Take Connections to The Next Level

Welcome to part 3 of our dive into the metaverse. In part 1, we covered what the metaverse is and how it changes the social media landscape. Part 2 explored what it means for brands, consumers, and society. Today, we’re looking at the metaverse’s impact on marketing overall, including changes for influencers and brands.

Metaverse is defined as, “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.”

Brands Can Leverage the Metaverse to Build Deeper Connections

With its immersive qualities, brands can leverage the metaverse to build deeper connections with consumers and boost loyalty. Metaverse activities can encourage people to engage physically, such as standing to ride a surfboard after sipping a Corona beer, further deepening the connection with brands.

Additionally, interactions in the metaverse enable brands to gather more expansive insights by monitoring details such as what users look at the longest. By gathering and analyzing these deeper insights into consumers’ preferences, brands can drive improvements in product development as well as advertising.

Furthermore, the metaverse also removes geographic boundaries. Virtual events, such as concerts, enable hospitality brands to expand their potential customer base to the entire world. 

Opportunities & Threats for Influencers in the Metaverse

Influencers can benefit from many of the same advantages the metaverse bestows on brands and consumers, including the ability to build deeper connections and engage with consumers worldwide and be ‘present’ anywhere at any time, joining their communities in a range of events in the Metaverse for example – something that in the real world would be absolutely impossible.

Influencers should embrace this amazing opportunity and allow their imaginations to run wild. Take the best of you and amplify it as your digital avatar. Engage with your audience in any way that you find thrilling, such as flying over the forest. Promote products not only in new ways, but offer entirely new types of promotions, including new digital goods and events. 

The metaverse lets us be anywhere, at any time, and offer anything, so dream big. 

Virtual influencers are already growing in popularity, with the richest virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, reportedly earning 10 million Swiss Francs a year. But in the metaverse, all users participate as avatars, eliminating the distinction between traditional and virtual influencers. Without this point of differentiation, current influencers may have additional difficulties competing with CGI Influencers.

In an interesting twist, existing virtual influencers are now facing competition from brands, who are launching their own computer-generated avatars. Additionally, virtual influencers will need to tackle new challenges, such as character management if they choose to interact live with fans in the metaverse. 

Although NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are already being sold on existing social media platforms, interacting in a virtual world should increase demand for NFTs, presenting influencers and brands alike with an opportunity to increase revenue.

Growing Chasm Between Engaging & Annoying Advertising

In part 1, we stated that the chasm between the metaverse and other platforms will be a much larger distinction than the current differences between Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. We expect to see yet another chasm within the metaverse itself: between modern and legacy advertising.

The metaverse can change advertising dramatically. Rather than being concerned with having nice banners, brands need to change their game completely. One early innovation is Justin Bieber’s partnership with entertainment company Wave to provide an interactive, virtual event merging gaming, real-time motion capture, and live musical performance. General Mills introduced a new way to tailgate with the launch of the virtual “homegate,” which brings the gameday excitement straight to fans at home, through an interactive virtual kitchen and backyard.

In the metaverse, advertising can be more thrilling and exciting. TikTok advises, “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.” Similarly, rather than making ads in the metaverse, brands should make immersive experiences. With limitless options, things that were the pure domain of science fiction and fantasy can come to life. Yes, it’s a “virtual” life, but users can experience these collaborations.

We hope that more marketers will go in a different direction and embrace these new opportunities to create value. Give your audience immersive experiences instead of stalking them with text to read.

  • PREDICTION: Brands will be challenged with accepting the opportunity to provide something better. Innovative brands can rise above competitors and build customer loyalty, even brand love.

An Escape from Phobias

This freedom could also enable users to escape the burden of phobias. People with fears of social interaction could overcome their anxiety and engage socially in new ways. Likewise, common phobias such as heights, public speaking, or spiders may have less power to constrain interactions. Perhaps the opportunity to ride a giant spider galloping along a cliff’s edge can help reduce the power of phobias upon returning to reality. We’ll stop short of making a prediction, but it’s an interesting theory to ponder.

Brands Dream Along with Consumers as Partners

The metaverse enables people to be whoever they want to be and do anything – all without having to face their fears or doubts. Many social media users portray a carefully curated life that doesn’t accurately reflect their personal reality. The metaverse enables people to continue this practice while inhabiting their online persona more deeply. In the metaverse, users can become who they fantasize they could be, while abandoning the awkwardness of pimples or bad hair days.

  • PREDICTION: The freedom the metaverse provides will be very popular, particularly with young people. Savvy brands will embrace this creative freedom, with offerings such as NFTs for unique clothing and accessories.

As Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “the metaverse will not be created by one company.” Brands, along with consumers, influencers, and tech companies, all have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the metaverse. Forward-looking brands should start thinking now about who they want to be in the metaverse. Brands have the potential to shape consumer experiences, progressing toward the goal of having consumers see your brand as part of their lives.

  • PREDICTION: Winning brands will dream along with consumers and become their partner in helping them achieve the metaverse identity they want. In doing so, they’ll build even stronger relationships both within and outside of the metaverse.

Influencers in the Metaverse 

Influencers must also consider who and what they want to be. In the metaverse, there are no limitations based on what you were born with. Influencers have the freedom to stick with the identity they’ve already developed on legacy social media platforms or build an entirely new one. Influencers could exist with only a digital persona, and never reveal their actual identity in the real world.

The explosion of options for everyone results in more opportunities for creative influencers, as well as increased competition, making it tougher to stand out. These decisions can also be made repeatedly, as influencers could create multiple avatars and compete with themselves.

Like brands, influencers must also reevaluate who they want to be and how they will add value to followers and brands. They will have to decide how to interact with their communities and how to exert real-world influence in the digital world.

  • PREDICTION: Similar to today, strictly digital influencers will exist, and some may gain great popularity. However, authenticity will reign, and most influencers will retain their same real-world identity.

The Metaverse is considered the next milestone in digital transformation – contact Kingfluencers to learn how your brand can benefit from using virtual reality. 

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Free Ebook – Connecting the Dots: Guide to Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Although the term “storytelling” is (over)used non-stop in marketing circles, it sometimes feels like a mythical creature many talk about but few ever really see. One thing we know is that stories work.

In our Ebook about Omnichannel Storytelling, you will find every important aspect to step up your storytelling game to connect even more with your audience.

Downloadable Content

e-book

Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing and here for our social media services.

Swiss Influencers & Content Creators to Keep an Eye On

Switzerland is filled with innovative, fascinating influencers who create informative and entertaining content every day. Kingfluencers has had the pleasure of working with all of the following, and we’d like to highlight some particularly fantastic examples for you to keep an eye on.

Swiss Influencers Who are Leading Trends

Kingfluencers recently published, “13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now,” and we’re categorizing our top Swiss Influencers according to who’s excelling at a few of selected trends. Download the eBook for an in depth look at all the trends.

More Love For Nano and Micro Influencers

For influencer marketing campaigns, brands focus more and more on engagement rates than other metrics, such as total followers. According to a report from Later and Fohr, nano and micro influencers (<25K followers) have the highest engagement rate, averaging 7%, which is more than double the benchmark of 3.21%.

Professional soccer player for FC Basel Alayah Pilgrim is a micro influencer who posts about fashion, fitness, and soccer, of course. She also shares a TikTok account with her boyfriend.

Picture: Alayah Pilgrim

Video is Dominating

Over the next 18 months, video content will continue to increase in relevance and importance. As video becomes the dominant medium, other formats are even less likely to be noticed and brands will have to produce more video content to share.

Alessandra Spataro is well known for her professional and creative videos on TikTok. She often shows ‘behind the scenes’ how she created her videos, and also shares ‘fails’ when things go wrong. Alessandra’s videos have great variety and stunning visual appeal, such as the popping of water balloons with different color dyes.

The success of TikTok is accelerating the move towards video. TikToker Julie Riess frequently posts a variety of videos and is relatable in exhibiting authenticity. In addition to TikToks about food and thrift store shopping, Julie posts “Get Ready With Me” videos and shares with followers her decision-making process putting together outfits.

Creator Economy Will Boom as Content Becomes Currency

The growth of the value of content is driving numerous trends. In particular, more people will try to capitalize on their content, opinion, and voice, making everything more crowded. Brands as well as social media platforms will be actively seeking and soliciting content creators.

Kingfluencers has frequently worked with Fabio Zerzuben, a creator who puts a lot of emphasis on his content and creativity. Fabio is famous for his creative and captivating reels.

As influencers are pressured to create more content even faster, they’re also staying active on multiple social media platforms, as well as traditional media. One of Switzerland’s biggest influencers, Xenia Tchoumi, posts on Instagram about beauty, fashion, and travel. In addition to social media content creation, Xenia wrote the book, “Empower Yourself,” and has given 4 TEDx talks. Swiss comedian Aditotoro is active on TikTok as well as Twitch and YouTube. This prolific content creator has recently become more well known outside of Switzerland.

Influencers Face Increasing Pressure to Innovate

Leo Monferini created a character with funny glasses which went viral on TikTok. As one of the biggest TikTokers from Romandie, he is very popular and Kingfluencers’ clients like working with him. His humorous content is what people are looking for on TikTok.

Consolidation in Influencer Marketing

The influencer marketing industry will experience increasing consolidation in technologies, agencies, and service providers. More influencers are teaming up to form clans to promote their services to brands. 

Founder of the “SKRR SQUAD,” Dario Scheurmann is known for portraying a wide variety of Gen Z situations in a fun way. His TikToks exhibit a sense of childlike whimsy and humorously portray the different ways women and men do things like answering the phone and getting into the car to drive. 

Jean Carly Réveil posts humorous videos on TikTok, often collaborating with numerous other TikTokers. Frequent themes include interactions between couples and friends. Laura Bante creates comedy TikTok videos, with themes such as beauty and fitness, and often collaborates with her friend Margaux Seydoux.

The Headz Agency represents numerous influencers who put a lot of effort into constant content creation, including Simo Bonito who makes funny videos, some of which feature his Italian “Nonno,” whom he plays himself. Ericwdrae also creates comedy content on his own or with his friend T-Ronimo, where they often present two female characters, Bresha and Selina, in funny situations. T-Ronimo posts about soccer, cars, and work, in addition to humor, and sells merchandise such as t-shirts and hats.

Long-Term Partnerships Between Brands & Influencers

To retain credibility, it’s important for influencers to work only with brands they genuinely love and ideally, engage in long-term collaborations, which benefit both brand and influencer. Many of Kingfluencers’ brands conduct year-long campaigns with influencers. For example, we’ve done many campaigns with Minea Jud, who we view as “our sunshine.” She is always smiling and creates high quality lifestyle, fashion, and beauty content.

Kingfluencers has also worked with the following influencers on an ongoing basis to build successful long-term collaborations for L’Oréal: Dilara Tortumlu & Fatjona Muji, Margaux Seydoux, and Jean Carly Réveil, who has also had a long term collaboration with skincare brand CeraVe, plus Lina Senn, who is known for creating humorous lifestyle content and funny relationship situations with her boyfriend, Leonard Stucki, also an influencer. Additionally, Lina hosts the TV show, “First Dates Switzerland.”

All About Gen Z

The existing focus on Gen Z as a coveted demographic will continue, particularly as they’re entering the workforce. Beyond their status as a significant spending group, Gen Z will set new cultural trends in multiple areas such as music, art, work, and ethics.

Also represented by The Headz Agency, Zimmi is a popular Gen Z TikToker who often posts funny skits involving interactions with teachers. The majority of Gen Z are still students, making the education settings highly relatable.

Gen Z TikToker Emma makes funny posts about relationships, school, beauty, and caring for her horses.

Keeping an Eye On Rising Stars and Important Trends

Brands and influencers alike are benefiting from increased opportunities to connect with audiences and generate revenue. Unfortunately, these opportunities are accompanied by the challenges of increased complexity and competition. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on trends and news, and contact Kingfluencers for help building coordinated campaigns.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

A Look into Meta & the Metaverse Part 2 – What Lies Ahead for Influencers & Forward-Looking Brands?


In part 1
, we covered what the metaverse actually is, and made some predictions to questions such as “will immersiveness dominate,” and “who will win & lose?” Here in part 2, we’ll focus on the metaverse’s impacts to brands as well as influencers and consumers.

Impacts of the Metaverse on Consumers

An article on the Meta Newsroom describes the metaverse as, “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.” Consumers can try on new clothes, test drive cars, and experiment with new hairstyles. Metaverse activities can encourage people to stand up and move, which is beneficial for health and can lead to increased steps counts and even improved fitness.

Verity McIntosh, a VR expert at the University of the West of England, told the BBC that the granularity of data available from the use of VR/AR is an order of magnitude higher than on screen-based media. “Now it’s not just about where I click and what I choose to share, it’s about where I choose to go, how I stand, what I look at for longest, the subtle ways that I physically move my body and react to certain stimuli. It’s a direct route to my subconscious, and that is gold to a data capitalist.”

The implications for manipulating people are thus orders of magnitude higher as well. If misused, with algorithms that present users with media that angers them, the metaverse could have a negative impact on society, leading to increased division. Protecting privacy will remain a difficult, ever evolving challenge.

The Blurring Lines Between Metaverse and Reality

The metaverse is a world on its own where people exist and interact, as opposed to passively viewing a web page. There are much bigger similarities between the metaverse and the real world, and the lines between the two will increasingly blur.

PREDICTION: Brands will be able to generate cross-over effects, driving real world behaviors through metaverse marketing and even vice versa. Spillover effects could include digital products promoted in the metaverse becoming more popular in real life as well.

The Role of Brands in Defining the Metaverse

According to a deep dive by The Drum, “We know that marketers have a huge role to play in defining the future of the metaverse, from creating the event spaces within platforms to selling consumers on the tech that allows them to experience it.” Luxury brands are selling digital-only products in the metaverse. According to Morgan Stanley, digital demand for fashion and luxury brands is expected to grow and could reach $50 billion by 2030.

Users have the potential to become who they fantasize they could be. In Part 3, we’ll delve into the enticing freedom of the metaverse. Winning brands will dream along with consumers and become their partner in helping them achieve the metaverse identity they want.

Transformed Opportunities to Interact

Advertising is often viewed as something negative, an interruption. It’s possible that legacy, annoying ads will be copy/ pasted onto the metaverse, and users will be bombarded with irritating digital billboards and flying banners. Writing for Cointelegraph, Tom Mitchelhill captures the bleak possibilities. “Now, Stephenson’s striking fictional depictions of a Metaverse over saturated with the neon glow of commercial advertising rings truer than ever as Web3 designers and marketers gear up to begin advertising in the emerging Metaverse(s).” Digital entertainment and media platform Azerion recently partnered with Bidstack, in-game advertising and video game monetization platform. Bidstack Founder and CEO said the contract, “signals a realization that brand advertising within the metaverse has truly arrived.”

However, the metaverse provides brands with a whole new set of tools to connect with customers. Currently, digital and physical experiences are often very disconnected, but the metaverse generates new opportunities to add value to customers with immersive, engaging experiences and new products in the form of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Influencers also have more opportunities to engage with their communities, such as being present at a concert or virtual store.

PREDICTION: The sale of digital goods will become important for brands and influencers alike. Digital goods can be leveraged both in marketing campaigns as well as sold to generate new revenue streams.

What Should Brands Be Doing?

New features are being built, investments are being made, and people are experimenting. The Metaverse is currently a huge green field with many opportunities as well as many unknowns. Meta Reality Labs (a sibling unit to Facebook) has committed to spending at least $10bn a year on developing experiences that fuse augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) hardware with software and content.

Brands may wonder if they should already be developing plans to get into the metaverse. The immersive experience of the metaverse enables brands to promote their products in new and innovative ways. For example, fashion brands can sell or give away digital versions of their clothing and accessories. Those in the hospitality industry can recreate the architecture of their venues and host virtual events.

Time to Start Experimenting

Meta’s Reality Labs division, the segment of the company tasked with building the metaverse, lost more than $10 billion in 2021, and the losses keep growing. Executives said it could take up to 15 years to fully realize their vision. With a timeline of “up to 15 years,” there isn’t a big rush. But now is a good time to start the process of creating metaverse experiences.

In the Metaverse, brands and influencers have the opportunity to innovate, experiment, and adapt to improve outcomes, establishing leading positions in advance of Metaverse’s growth into the mainstream.

Although NFTs are already being sold on existing social media platforms, interacting in a virtual world should increase demand for NFTs, presenting influencers and brands alike with an opportunity to increase revenue.

  • PREDICTION: NFTs will be a big opportunity for brands as well as digital artists and content creators to monetize content in a new way and build new revenue streams. Developing smart strategies will be crucial for brands and influencers.

Are You Already Behind the Curve?

We don’t think brands need to worry about falling behind just yet. For a marketing channel to deliver positive ROI, brands must be able to reach their target audience. Achieving this objective in the metaverse will require necessary saturation, with a certain quantity of active users. The critical mass isn’t there yet, so brands aren’t at risk of falling behind competitors.

  • PREDICTION: We’re not close to this point yet, but nor is it in the distant future. It’s just beginning, with a critical mass of users being three to five years away.

But on the one hand, it’s good to start planning. Now is the time to start acquiring knowledge and building those skills, including getting the support of knowledgeable marketers, so you’re ready.

One thing is certain, the metaverse will require marketers to frequently adapt and re-strategize. Selecting influencers and building an influencer network will become much more complex.

  • PREDICTION: The guidance of experts and support from agencies will be more critical than ever.  

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Free Guide – 13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now

Looking at the title of this guide, you might be thinking: trends come and go as fast as Instagram Stories. Why should my brand keep up with social media/influencer marketing trends?

As Facebook (now Meta) founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “If we can figure out what the next big trends are, we’ll know what to focus on.” Predicting upcoming trends can be one of the most important factors in planning your next digital marketing campaigns. Kingfluencers experts and their content creators have selected the top 13 social media trends brands should pay attention to.

Downloadable Content

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Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing and here for our social media services.

Influencer Marketing vs. Legacy Advertising – Put Your Brand into The Inner Circle

Traditionally, advertisements have been a deviation from the content audiences want to consume. A pause in the TV show. A break in the article. A stop to the music or podcast. Ads and content were distinct.

Influencer marketing (IM) breaks this paradigm. IM is a different game altogether, and not just another media channel to reach your audience. Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.

Influencer Marketing Fuses Content and Ads

Influencer marketing abandons the traditional deviation and instead, fuses ads into the content the audience seeks. Recognizing this, TikTok advises, “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.” The social media giant describes this guidance as, “an invitation [to brands] to be more creative, more authentic, and to create content that truly speaks to people.”The continuing growth of influencer marketing is part of an ongoing shift away from traditional channels to digital advertising. According to Media Focus’s 2021 annual summary, internet is now the dominant media group in Switzerland, with a 30% share of the media mix 2021, replacing TV.

Influencer marketing is never a standalone measure. For the best outcomes, it’s crucial to carefully sync timelines between media and influencer marketing campaigns.

— Martina Klieber, Publicity Manager at Universal Pictures Switzerland

The Proximity of Social Friends Makes Influencers Relatable

People follow influencers because they genuinely like the person, or at least their content. Our social media friends may not always be in close physical proximity, but we feel close to them. Connections make digital friends, and social media serves as a direct channel into their lives. Many influencers are living normal lives that their followers can relate to. They might shop at the same stores, visit the same restaurants, and wear the same clothes. We could even imagine running into them in real life.

While influencers are people we admire, they are still living lives that are attainable, as opposed to hugely distanced celebrities. “Influencers are per se already more authentic than classic celebrities because they interact with and are connected with their communities, which they built up on social media from day one,” said Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer at Kingfluencers.

Classic celebrities conduct monologues, whereas influencers conduct dialogues. “Engagement and interactivity are much more possible with influencer marketing which is something that traditional advertising can never achieve,” said Yoeri Gabriel Callebaut, Co-CEO and Chief Growth & Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers.To their community members, an influencer can feel like part of their friendship circle, helping drive high levels of engagement. TikTok influencers are particularly close. Even smaller influencers have engagement rates of 17.96% on TikTok, as opposed to 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube.

Although celebrities are more popular for advertisements due to their recognizability, influencers, on the other hand, would get direct feedback from their communities, positive and negative.

— Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer

All in all: “With influencer marketing, you can really reach specific communities that might be hard to reach with regular advertising,” said Yoeri.

Influencers Bring Brands Into People’s Inner Circle

Traditional ads always feature a product for purchase. Typically, the people featured are actors, and even when real spokespeople are used, it’s obviously advertising.

But IM is a distinct approach from regular advertising.

Partnering with influencers gives brands an authentic and relatable representative. Influencers can serve as a true face, a real person within settings that people relate to. These attributes make IM special, and the result is to bring brands into people’s inner circle. 4 in 10 millennial YouTube subscribers say their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends.Influencers are remarkable storytellers who are uniquely able to bridge the space between brands and people in order to establish powerful connections. Brands have the ability to select influencers who are already talking about their type of product. Careful selection results in ideal matches for seamless brand and influencer connections.

Another important aspect to look out for as a brand is the target audience of the influencer/s. If a female influencer’s audience is 80% male, an influencer marketing campaign for a women’s perfume would not work too effectively. If an influencer’s audience is 70% teenagers and students, an influencer marketing campaign for a designer bag would not deliver a great ROI. An influencer who doesn’t drink alcohol would not accept an offer for a beer campaign. The brand’s target audience should match as closely as possible with the target audience of the selected influencer/s. 

Influencers Affirm Trust by Displaying Authenticity in Approach to Ads

In a wonderful display of transparency, Danish influencer Kellylouisekilljoy, acknowledged the stigma of influencer ads and expressed her appreciation for her community’s positive reception of ads. “It makes me so extremely happy because for me to continue to do content full time, it means I have to do ads…We don’t have Creator Fund in Denmark or any of the Nordic countries. Even if we did, it still wouldn’t be enough to make a standard my-adult-bills-are-paid salary.” 

Kelly promised that the brands she works with are carefully selected and stated, “My mission is to make ads for you which both look and feel like my regular content. I refuse for you as my audience to feel like there are ad breaks when you scroll through my content page.”  Such an honest overview of her approach to ads contributes to authenticity. Acknowledging her appreciation and respect for the audience helps build and solidify their trust.Writing for MarTech, Kim Davis states, “The growth of interest in short-form video and engagement with social channels that host it … Put that together with the soaring importance of social commerce, and the appetite among audiences for authentic content rather than just ads, and it’s easy to see influencer marketing as a mainstream marketing channel and not just an interesting add-on.”

Anja’s Top 9 Tips: What Brands Should Look Out For Regarding Influencer Selection

  1. Main message: What are the influencer’s main messages and do they align with your brand’s mission and vision?

2. Target group: As obvious as this sounds, it is crucial that the influencer’s and your brand’s target audiences align as closely as possible to ensure campaign success. Look at their active followers closely and be sure to ask the influencers for their stats. Also, make sure that the locations of the followers match with the locations of your target audience. There are many amazing Swiss influencers that have huge international followings but if you are a Swiss company that sells products in Switzerland only, make sure you select influencers with a high Swiss reach. 

3. Authenticity: One great advantage that influencers have over classic celebrities is their authenticity. In most cases, influencers actually use the products or services that they make branded content for. Make the most of this and let your brand actually connect with the target audience instead of just bringing awareness. 

4. Brand fit: Would the influencer likely use your products or services or do they already use them? It doesn’t even have to be an obvious choice, i. e. a beauty influencer for a face cream. A comedian, for example, could also participate in a campaign for the newest face cream. Be unique with your approaches while still making sure that the goals and objectives align.

5. Content & style: Look out for influencers that publish great quality content that also fit the brand/campaign. Most of the time, the quality of the content is better than the quantity of followers that the influencer has. You will be surprised: We know many micro and nano influencers that publish amazing branded content that are then used in the brands’ other marketing mediums, such as newsletters. 

6. Community engagement: As important it is that the influencer’s target audience matches with your brand’s, it is important to also consider their engagement rates. What’s the point of an influencer’s target group that fits perfectly with yours but isn’t very active and therefore might not even notice the branded content from that influencer?  

7. KPIs & stats: Before the customer searches and selects an influencer, they must know what requirements and expectations they have of the influencer. These must be clear and, above all, related to the medium of influencer marketing and not simply taken from classic advertising. Because with influencer marketing, you work with people and a community, not with machines or models.

8. Format & medium: Is your selected influencer in the platforms where your brand wants to be present? Is the influencer able to create the desired content in the right form? Does your brand want to use the content generated from the influencer marketing campaign in other medias? If so, then brands should brief the influencers accordingly to ensure the correct format and quality of the images/videos. Make sure that the influencer is familiar with that particular format, i. e. don’t expect high quality and artistic images from an influencer that mostly posts Reels or TikToks and vice versa. 

9. Recognizability (for larger campaigns): As previously mentioned, the advantage that celebrities have over many influencers is that their faces are recognizable by the masses. Nowadays, many macro influencers are more recognizable and some even have celebrity status in their areas or even multinationally. Take advantage of that and add a few macro influencers in your influencer selection that fit your brand to spread awareness quickly and effectively. Macro influencers have not gained their success for no reason after all. Also, thanks to platforms like TikTok, new breakout-stars emerge weekly, due to viral contents that get pushed by the platforms’ algorithms

CASE STUDY: Feel-Good Stories Shared within The Inner Circle

Kingfluencers worked on campaigns to promote V6 chewing gum. To highlight the unique health and well-being benefits of V6, the team chose influencers focused on health, nature, and an overall positive outlook. In one campaign, influencers shared a story in which they received the most beautiful compliment and why it made them smile, then encouraged their communities to share their own stories, achieving an engagement rate higher than average on Instagram and Facebook.

Picture: Zoe Torinesi for the V6 campaign

The Future of Advertising

Within the last few years, there has been a clear shift in advertising mediums: Advertisers are investing less in traditional media and more in digital, especially mobile. According to GroupM’s global mid-year report (June 2020), traditional ad format spending is expected to fall by 20.7% while digital advertising will have up to a 67% market share by 2024 already. 

While digital and mobile advertising has been continuing to rise, new formats have been trending. Live shopping and social selling are currently trending topics. To find out more about these two digital advertising formats as well as other predictions in social media and influencer marketing, click here for our free downloadable guide and click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

A look into Meta and the Metaverse – Part 1

Last October, Facebook changed its name to Meta. Upon hearing the news, it’s tempting to suspect the name change is an effort to escape the recent stains to the platform, as raised by the whistleblower. Of course, changing the name won’t undo any damage. Gartner vice president and analyst Chris Ross noted in calling it “a classic lipstick-on-the-pig scenario.” Whether that is in fact what it is or not, the future will tell. But one thing is sure, there is a whole lot of strategy and thinking behind the Metaverse and name changes aside, something big is in the making. 

However, the Facebook social network is not changing its name. Instead, the company owning the social network changed its name to better represent the larger scope of their offerings. In his keynote address at the company’s annual “Connect” event on 28 Oct, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “From now on, we’re going to be the metaverse first. Not Facebook first. Facebook is one of the most used products in the world. But increasingly, it doesn’t encompass everything that we do. Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we are doing.”

Currently, Meta owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, as well as online payments and hardware businesses.

So, Just What Is The Metaverse?

The term metaverse was coined originally by sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson to describe a virtual world people escape to from a dystopian, real world.” The word metaverse, “has become popular among some venture capitalists in Silicon Valley [and] refers to tech services as virtual interconnected worlds.”

If you saw the latest Spider Man movie, don’t confuse the Metaverse with Multiverse, although the two are similar in that we could be seeing the start of a world where two realities coexist in parallel, with one living inside the other. If you haven’t seen the movie, think of The Matrix, but hopefully without the evil machines or social media companies sticking tubes in us to feed off of our dreams – yikes! All jokes aside, it feels a little bit like reality is taking a new turn with the birth of the Metaverse and it might just do exactly that.

An article on the Meta Newsroom describes the metaverse as, “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.” The Verge describes the metaverse as, “partly a dream for the future of the internet and partly a neat way to encapsulate some current trends in online infrastructure, including the growth of real-time 3D worlds.” 

The Growth of Immersive Experiences – In It, Not Looking at It

Discussing the evolution of the internet, Zuckerberg wrote, “The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.”

“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.”

The founder’s letter includes a link to a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day, which includes being able to teleport instantly as a hologram.

The Metaverse Will Not Be Created By 1 Company, But By Multiple Creators & Developers

Zuckerberg wrote that, “the metaverse will not be created by one company… Our role in this journey is to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through our social media apps.”

Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees building consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as ubiquitous as smartphones. In order to make their services accessible to as many people as possible, Meta plans to sell their devices at cost or subsidized to make them available to more people. Meta has discussed opening physical stores to showcase its virtual reality and augmented reality devices.

Zuckerberg acknowledged the need to build privacy, safety, open standards, and interoperability into the metaverse from day one.

Will Immersiveness Dominate?

It’s strange to think of TikTok and Instagram as being “traditional” or “legacy” media, but the fact remains that these platforms, in their current iterations, lack the immersiveness of the Metaverse. In the future, will there still be space for such platforms or will they have to provide different experiences? Could it be that TikTok videos are almost out of date already?

As a successful international social media juggernaut, we certainly expect TikTok to stay relevant, so the real question becomes, how much will they have to change to maintain their dominance? Empowered with their current advantages such as high revenue and large audiences, TikTok could even potentially beat the Metaverse at their very own game.

  • PREDICTION: TikTok will offer increasingly immersive experiences and remain a formidable competitor to Meta. They will not cede their large share of audience time, nor their dedicated community of content creators.

The Battle for The Customer

While the battlefield will continue to change, the prize being fought for remains the same:

The Customer’s Attention

Content creators and brands alike need to earn the attention of customers, as well as their trust and fondness to retain that attention over time. If the Metaverse succeeds in capturing sizable portions of customer attention, all brands will need to enter the fray and compete within that arena.

Will AR and VR – at minimum – be required to win audiences? Even if there’s room for various platforms, should they adjust their formula accordingly or launch their own version of the metaverse? In particular, will brands be able to continue advertising within social media platforms in the current manner?

  • PREDICTION: Rather than one platform dominating the others, audiences will become increasingly fragmented. Within various narrow “tribes,” a given platform may be most popular, but increasing fragmentation leaves adequate space for multiple platforms to succeed.  

Who Will Win & Lose [or Will There Be Space for Everyone]

Consumer preferences shift overtime and those who get it wrong will lose important ground and face dwindling audiences. As the battlefield shifts, it will also expand. New social media formats will inevitably bring new audiences. But, of course, there will also be some cannibalization of existing audiences.

  • PREDICTION: The net result is that some will lose out. There may be space for everyone, but only those who adapt and keep providing content and experiences their audiences want will survive.

Rethinking the Definition of Social Media Engagement

Currently, engagement rates are measured with interactions such as likes and comments. But the Metaverse will inevitably alter these metrics. The Metaverse allows different types of engagement that are more sensorial and intense. Our whole notion of measuring social media activities, engagement, and success must be rethought.

  • PREDICTION: There’s no doubt that measuring success within social media will become more complex and challenging. This complexity will lead brands to increasingly rely on agencies, and for all players to rely on robust SaaS analytics platforms. DIY spreadsheets won’t cut it.

The Growing Chasm

Finally, the chasm between the Metaverse and other platforms will be a much larger distinction than the current differences between Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. In parts 2 and 3, we’ll explore what this all means for the social media landscape and influencer marketing overall. In particular, what the impacts might be for the various players including brands, influencers, and consumers.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing