Metaverse may be the word on every marketer's lips, but consumers are not yet convinced.
That's according to the latest report from Sprout Social, which found that while 67% of marketers plan to invest at least a quarter of their budget into metaverse-related efforts over the next year, interest in the metaverse among consumers is low, at 24%. Just 17% of consumers say the same about non-fungible tokens, while interest in augmented reality and virtual reality is higher, at 39%.
Despite these figures, marketers said they are planning to adopt each of these emerging technologies at a growing rate in the year to come, confident that consumers will follow.
"As consumers continue to increase their time spent on social media, marketers are making significant investments in their teams, people and technology," said Kristin Johnson, VP of content and communications at Sprout Social via email. "Our data underscores how quickly social strategy and consumer preferences can change, and for marketers, the key to success will be renewing their focus on growing their skill set and understanding the many ways in which social impacts their role and organization."
Consumers do appear to be fully on-board with short-form video. Self-reported interest in using TikTok grew from 17% in 2020 to 38% this year. Consumers have yet to move away from YouTube, even though marketers are dedicating fewer resources to the platform: 51% of consumers plan to spend time on YouTube in the next year, while only 35% of marketers plan to include it in their strategies, down from 52% in 2020.
The report also found that more than half of the marketers surveyed (52%) list sourcing talent as the biggest challenge they are facing this year. On the consumer side, trends toward supporting companies that align with their values continue: 71% said brands should take a stand on sensitive issues, a belief particularly held among Gen Z and Millennials. Consumers also increasingly expect high-quality, timely customer care on social media, and will readily share negative experiences.
Finally, this expectation of authenticity also carries through to brand partnerships with creators. Not only do consumers expect brands to choose the right creators, but 81% of consumers surveyed say they would unfollow creators who post sponsored content more than a few times per week.
Sprout Social's survey is based on responses from 500 marketers and 1,000 consumers across the US.