Notes for CMOs: Is crypto a trend to cash in on?

Written by
Fifty Team

Insights by
Josh Tompkins

30 Sep, 2022

Cryptocurrency has come a long way since the first Bitcoins were mined in 2009. Once considered to be a niche interest of cyber-anarchists and libertarians, cryptocurrency has hit the mainstream in recent years – at least in awareness. With regular news reports about the highs and lows of the crypto market, and other Web3 mechanisms like blockchain, the metaverse and NFTs growing in popular discussion, we wanted to understand: can marketers afford to ignore the crypto hype or could there be hidden opportunities within crypto audiences?

We recently attended Zebu Live, London’s biggest Web3 conference, where we unpacked the top insights for marketers considering whether crypto audiences are right for them.

Yes, crypto has gone “mainstream”

Figure 1: Audience comparison of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Memcoins and Altcoins.
Figure 1: Audience comparison of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Memcoins and Altcoins.

You can take our word for it, cryptocurrency has entered mainstream consciousness. Using the Fifty platform, we studied the audience of major coins and altcoins (like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana) between 2019 and 2022 to understand how it has evolved.

In 2019, the two top tribes – Core Crypto Investors and Tech Startup Leaders – made up 80% of the audience but in 2022 that figure dropped to around 25%. In the last three years, the conversation around cryptocurrencies has expanded beyond people heavily invested (literally and figuratively) in crypto to broader culture. Young Males, with mainstream interests such as sports, fitness and music, alongside Urban Culture Fans, who coalesce around hip hop culture and music, are now some of crypto’s biggest audiences. This means marketers working in these fields may be missing out on key activation opportunities if they ignore strategies that include cryptocurrency.

But mainstream doesn’t mean everyone

Figure 2: Evolution of the crypto audience from 2019 to 2022.
Figure 2: Evolution of the crypto audience from 2019 to 2022.

While crypto has become more widely known, in this context mainstream is not necessarily mass pop culture. Rather, the audiences’ are specifically interested in cultural touch points like sports, music and gaming over other touchpoints like theatre or literature. Mainstream here also refers to the broadening interest of business audiences.

While in 2019, crypto professionals and technology investors were the business audience most interested in crypto, in 2022 it now includes mainstream business audiences such as Informed Professionals, who are also interested in government, social impact and politics. Other large business tribes included Design Creatives, Creative Professionals and those working in property. This indicates that businesses across the board are becoming interested in learning more about cryptocurrency – so reaching them outside of the usual trade publications could be a novel activation strategy. 

Crypto is the gateway to Web3

Figure 3: Comparison of the three key themes within the Web3 audience: Crypto, NFTs and the Metaverse.
Figure 3: Comparison of the three key themes within the Web3 audience: Crypto, NFTs and the Metaverse.

Lastly, cryptocurrency and Web3 often get conflated but they are part of a wider conversation around the changing way we interact with digital. Other elements of Web3 such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and the metaverse are still more niche than crypto, but look to be going in the same direction. When we did a comparison of cryptocurrency audiences versus NFT audiences and metaverse audiences, we noticed both NFTs and the metaverse have larger specialist audiences – in both studies, crypto and tech communities make up about 40% of their audiences. But they are already showing signs of going in the same direction as crypto, with mainstream audiences like Avid Gamers and Urban Culture Followers beginning to pay attention to these other facets of Web3.

What does that mean for marketers? If they want to get ahead of the curve, they need to be not only studying Web3 to find their audiences there but then ensuring they activate this space appropriately. It might be that your marketing budget is better suited to placements around NFTs rather than the metaverse, or vice versa. What will be crucial is not only having that audience understanding, but also the ability to activate it so you can reach your audience as Web3 grows in cultural conversation.

Need help understanding where to best spend your marketing budget? Fifty’s unique combination of audience insights and activation strategies can help. Get in touch with our team today.

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