Written by Yuhwen Foong
In a nutshell, we explored extensively the history of content creation and how the internet and the advancement of technology have played a huge role in transforming our consumer content consumption behavior in the last 20 years. From blogging to 4K videos, they would not have been possible without great smartphones at an affordable rate and 4G internet and of course social media platforms that allow us to upload for free. But with information overload and the world moving to Web 3.0, what’s next for influencer marketing?
A quick look at the major publications and you will notice these common themes - the great resignation, work from home beyond COVID-19, decentralization and what it means to the major cities, virtual learning…etc. We do not yet know what the impact would be but it has certainly produced a whole new era of consumers and with it a very different type of marketing. This is the new working class.
For starts, these are the changes I see just in my own day-to-day habits, I prefer shopping at mom and pop grocers instead of the large supermarkets. I buy quality groceries because we are eating in more. We can’t travel so let’s just buy the Wagyu beef from Japan that we’ve been craving or the Australian peaches that are available here. We shop online now, and since I don’t go out much, why not buy better home wear? And I can’t try clothes on even if I’m at the store, so I will just buy the ones I really really like and am willing to risk (needing to come back to return/exchange). I work from home so much, let’s renovate an entire corner for work from home, oh and while I’m at it why not get a better webcam and chair? Since I don’t get stuck in traffic anymore, I have so much more free time, why not pick up piano again? Just by looking at the changes to my own life, I can see that we prefer quality, exclusivity, safety, comfort, and of course convenience. These changes were inevitable, the work from home culture or virtual learning. It was a matter of time but the pandemic just accelerated its adoption.
Coming back to our topic of influencer marketing, these creators were already live streaming, selling merchandise, and creating exclusive content, it was just intensified because now, we all have those great webcams, great phones, and gadgets and we started learning and creating content. In my case, playing the piano. As late as Dec 2021, TikTok launches its live stream shopping experience feature. Together with Facebook Shops, I believe the future of e-commerce and influencer marketing will converge. The question is, can we still work with influencers the same way we’re working with them now?
The Future of Influencer Marketing
I believe influencers are at the very forefront of a huge change. You see, the only reason we follow influencers is that they are the “happening” bunch and we want to be in the know of the latest trends. I am most assured that while some influencers would maintain “in their human form” to cater to an offline clientele (we do still live in the real world), there will be a revolutionary bunch of influencers who will be AI-powered. There will be a rise of virtual influencers. These virtual influencers are your gaming avatars and your 3D metaverse-ready self.
Meet Nouns #7059. This is my 3D NFT self. Just when we thought the whole he/him, they/them binary/non-binary gender agnostic thing is hard, welcome to virtual heart-faced me. I’m still not sure if he/she/they is defined. It is not easy trying to keep up with the times.
Influencers will also be your entrepreneurs. Gone are the days when we want mass production. Today we crave exclusivity and quality. We want creator exclusive content. Influencers will be the future of e-commerce as partners. Cutting a deal directly with factories because they can. The growth of this sector manifests itself as live-streamers in China but how it will unfold for the rest of the world is yet to be known. Imagine live stream but with a heart face virtual avatar? Mind blown! Why do I think this is very likely? I built SushiVid 7 years ago and at that time, my 7 year old niece use to say, “when I grow up, I want to be a YouTuber”. Three years ago, when you go to a shopping mall, you will see 7 year old children dancing with their phones in hand making short clips on TikTok. Today, if you have a 7 year old kid, they will tell you they want Robux (Roblox Coin) for Christmas.
Roblox is a global platform where millions of people gather together every day to imagine, create, and share experiences with each other in immersive, user-generated 3D worlds. The types of gameplay on Roblox are just as limitless as the imagination of the creators themselves.
Are you ready for the next 7 years? I look forward to seeing what the future holds for influencer marketing. In the meantime, if you have enjoyed this article and would love to provide me with feedback or discuss this in further detail, I’d love to be in touch - hit me up at email@example.com
*Disclaimer, prior to our existence, there were a couple of traditional players who function more like a talent agency.