Last week, The Drum delved into the world of cryptocurrency advertising as it faces a moment of reckoning. Now, new YouGov research suggests marketers will need to walk a fine line when targeting the crypto-curious. Its head of finance, Emma McInnes, digests the data.
Cryptocurrency has been a staple news item over the past 12 months. Amazon recently posted a job ad for a ‘digital currency and blockchain product lead’; the chancellor of the exchequer has indicated that a ‘Britcoin’ digital currency could be offered to the public alongside cash; and Elon Musk has announced that Tesla would be accepting Bitcoin, not accepting Bitcoin, and possibly accepting it all over again as a form of payment.
But what do the public think?
Those who say they are at least somewhat likely to use cryptocurrency in the next 12 months amount to just 12% of Britons, with 88% saying they’re not very likely or not at all likely to use it.
Crypto-curious Britons (i.e. the 12% who are at least somewhat open to using it) are overwhelmingly younger: nearly two-thirds (64%) are aged 18-34, with three in 10 (31%) aged 35-54. A mere 5% are over-55. The 88% of crypto-cynical Britons are more evenly split: 36% are 18-34, 36% are 35-54, and more than a quarter are over-55.
The crypto-curious are also more likely to have a higher level of disposable income: two in five have over £500 a month (41%) left over after taxes and living expenses, compared to one in five crypto-cynics (19%). And while two in five crypto-curious Britons also have less than £500 in discretionary funds available every month (39%), this rises to half of crypto-cynical Britons (51%). So people who are interested in these currencies are younger and have more money to invest.
They’re also more open to risk – which can be a double-edged sword, as people who invest in cryptocurrencies are at the mercy of high volatility. While nearly two-thirds say they don’t mind taking risks with their money compared to 20% of crypto-cynics, this group is also more likely to agree that they find financial matters confusing (55% v 38% of crypto-cynics). Finally, while they’re open to investing in it, they don’t necessarily fully comprehend it: 64% of the crypto-curious say they don’t really understand it (next to 74% of crypto-cynics).
On the whole, this is a group that is less educated about financial matters – to the point where many, for all their excitement, may not even know how cryptocurrencies actually work. It is perhaps no surprise that our data shows that seven in 10 crypto-cynics say they’ve never been victims of a scam (69%) compared to just 37% of the crypto-curious.
Marketing and advertising to crypto-curious Britons
Marketers and advertisers working in the cryptocurrency space can’t just think about their commercial responsibilities: they may have a responsibility to an under-informed and potentially quite vulnerable audience.
It is especially important to take a sensitive approach because the crypto-curious are particularly sensitive to marketing and advertising. Half of this group are more likely to say that they trust the advertisements they have seen on posters or billboards (50%) next to just one in five (21%) crypto-cynics – while three in five say that they often search for products and services on their phones as a result of seeing these ads (62% v 27%). This group is also more likely to engage with ads that they see on social media compared to ads they see on regular websites (56% v 22%) – and with ads of all kinds that are tailored to them.
Perhaps most importantly, crypto-curious Britons are more than twice as likely to agree that advertising helps them choose what to buy (64% v 31%).
So marketers, then, have to walk a fine line: there is an obvious commercial upside to targeting a young, engaged audience with money to spend and an uncommon interest in advertising. But given this audience’s lack of financial savvy, there is perhaps an even greater need than usual to present campaigns as scrupulously and accurately as possible – especially given reports of regulators cracking down on misleading crypto ads.