Can Market Research Lead Marketing Into ‘The Metaverse’?

Can Market Research Lead Marketing Into ‘The Metaverse’? 4752 3168 StJohn Deakins

CitizenMe’s Ethical Human Data Marketplace Enables Marketers To Illuminate The Path To Mass Market Web3 And The ‘Multiverse’ Future


The term ‘Metaverse’ is receiving heaps of hype, but definitions are multiplying almost as quickly as the controversy about the awkward reality of how empty virtual reality really is in… reality. Even the Iceland Tourism Board have their own ‘Iceland-verse’.

What is certain though is that our use of digital devices continues to accelerate, and our real life world is already fusing with digital ones. As the adoption of smart watches and bio-wearables goes mainstream, they will soon be joined by visually augmented and virtual worlds that we’ll all move between seamlessly. This digital activity is creating exponential increases in the volumes of highly sensitive personal data. 

A Multiverse of Marketing Challenges (And Exponential Data Risks)

Meanwhile, marketers are being called on to deliver ever more accurate personalised messages at the right time, digital space and context to grow ROI and delight their customers. All while coping with an explosion of new local, national and supra-national privacy regulations. Indeed, according to Sitecore’s 2022 Perceptions of the Metaverse report, while 50% of Marketers plan to spend more than 10% of their budget on ‘the Metaverse’ in 2023, over 75% of their Marketers are concerned about personal data transfer risks in these emerging connected, augmented and virtual worlds. 

The CitizenMe Marketplace platform solves these challenges. It is a consented zero-party data platform with all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) held, verified and processed on the edge by ‘Citizens’ in their own smartphone, and only shared anonymously and directly with their explicit permission. Customers at launch include: GSK/Haleon, Mastercard, Sports Direct, Verizon and The UK Government. 

Ethical Human Data In The Metaverse

The platform currently offers a broad range of ‘Web2’ behavioural data connections including: social media, mobile app usage, media streaming (Spotify & YouTube) and Smartphone health data such as daily step-count. This is combined with a state of the art self-service market research platform including a full suite of questions types and formats plus advanced features such as photo uploads and digital product prototype testing.

On the road to web3 (and whatever the multiverses may evolve to become) the data that’s generated by everyone will become increasingly sensitive. This already includes eye tracking, iris scanning, sweat monitoring, gait analysis and non-verbal communication, and will only expand. As Catherine Louveaux, Chief Privacy Officer at Mastercard recently put it “The metaverse will be data collection on steroids.”

This initial roll-out of the platform provides access to 420 data types, account tiers and advanced research functions. Additional phases include access to 155 million respondents and many more smart integrations. These new phases will roll-out every 6 weeks. 

Shaun Richards, CitizenMe Head of Insights says: “We’re excited that Market Research is now able to provide digital pathfinding for Marketers and help transition us all into a more human centric world of Web3 and the Metaverse. This initial rollout combines a best in class and easy to use market research platform and provides a suite of digital human data that is not available anywhere else. Together, they help to bridge the ‘say/do’ gap as our society’s always-on connection through technology grows.” 

Where We are Today – And Where We’re Headed

Smart device usage is expanding at pace. In just over a decade, there are now 6.6Bn people with Smartphones, which is 83% of humanity (Ericsson), Smart watch adoption is growing fast (Counterpoint) and at almost 20% in the USA (Kantar) and VR/AR adoption is forecast to reach (Statista). Beyond this: Smart Meters, Smart Speakers, Smart Home, Wifi enabled washing machines, and health wearables are all quickly becoming mainstream devices – and all generating new streams of valuable personal data.



Data is only as valuable as the results of its use. In this case, the insight gained by marketers and the actions and results it facilitates. Ethically and legally. Marketing ethics are nothing new to market research, but the next evolution of this is already here; people choosing to share life data from both real and virtual worlds – all in the moment. It provides a unique understanding of how consumers really behave when it comes to sharing their data. Real people, real behaviours, sharing real data.

AR Glasses Mockup 9to5Mac

There is a lot of BS around web3 and the ‘metaverse’, however it’s clear that we are seeing a new phase of always-on and fully immersed digital life emerge. Ubiquitous mass market smart devices will soon be joined by personal Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, with always on bio-data and psychometrics used to hyper-personalise these immersive experiences.  Marketers and researchers will be called on to map and navigate this rapid and ongoing transition, as it happens. The CitizenMe Marketplace provides them with the tools to do this and succeed.



CitizenMe is the world’s ethical data pioneer and has been building privacy enhancing technology since 2013. Its mission is to empower humanity with data for a more sustainable digital future. This includes enabling people to gather their own data and safely share it with the brands that they care about for better life and societal outcomes. To date, almost 500,000 Citizens have set up CitizenMe accounts and have safely transacted their data over 12 million times. 

If you would like more information about this topic, please email or call +442032891984

StJohn Deakins

StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.

All stories by: StJohn Deakins