Marketing & Media trends
#BizTrends2023: Web 3.0 - The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for marketers
Since Bill Gates predicted a future where there is a personal computer in every household back in the 80s, the ever-shifting nature of technology continues to transform the way we consume media, and subsequently, the way marketing is approached.
Undoubtedly the most malleable entity in media consumption over the years has been the internet. For the past three decades, we have seen the internet grow from a novel pastime to a wildly disruptive media powerhouse, completely upending the traditional media hierarchy.
How we got to Web 3.0
To fully understand Web 3.0 we need to dissect the evolution of the internet.
In 1994 we were introduced to Web 1.0, the first wave of the internet, characterised by static websites aka read-only sites, literally meaning that the user could only read content on a web page, with no interaction.
Next came Web 2.0, which introduced a far more interactive user experience, while also allowing users to generate and upload their own content. Web 2.0 is also where we saw the inception of social media and its diverse offerings for both consumers and businesses.
Under Web 2.0, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube flourished, accumulating vast caches of user data in the process. In recent years, the moral implications of these tech giants mining and selling so much of their user data have come under increasing scrutiny, resulting in several civil suits, court hearings, and most notably the phasing out of third-party cookies on various web browsers.
The next generation
We are now moving into the next generation of the World Wide Web, known as Web 3.0 or Web3, which marks a shift away from the current era of third-party data targeting.
This next generation is built around a decentralised internet where the user is in control of how much data they are willing to relinquish, unlike the centralised internet of Web 2.0 where every user’s data is mined and stored on a single server. Web 3.0 will also completely automate data processing, using machine learning to create a more personalised user experience.
To be more technical, Web 3.0 involves a decentralised network built on semantic metadata and AI, providing a framework for information to be reused and shared more easily among programmes, communities, and companies.
What Web 3.0 means for marketing
A Web 3.0 environment enhances the user experience by providing rich and targeted web surfing. It will allow us to deliver ads that are more targeted to consumers based on robust first-party data. Furthermore, the Web 3.0 landscape incorporates several emerging trends such as cryptocurrencies, the metaverse, NFTs, and DAO’s (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations), and these will open up several opportunities for early adopters who are able to successfully capitalise on these innovations.
Web 3.0 is poised to take virtual communities and social connections to new heights, while also giving users more power and autonomy than Web 2.0. Web3 users will have a lot more control over their personal data and who gets to access it. This will necessitate a more transactional marketing approach that prioritises adding value to the consumer.
Leveraging Web 3.0
Some of the ways brands can effectively leverage Web 3.0 in their marketing strategy would be to:
- Research existing Web 3.0 sites and DAO’s to understand the ecosystems of these new platforms and strategise on how to effectively tap into them.
- Purchase metaverse real estate and host virtual events where consumers can enjoy immersive experiences and conduct transactions online.
- Invest in minting unique branded NFTs and tokens that users can purchase or win as incentives.
With third-party cookies on its way to digital extinction, first-party data strategies will soon be every marketer’s bread and butter in the years to come. While it remains to be seen if and when Web3 will fully swing into gear, as with all emerging technologies, the ones who plan ahead and identify opportunities early will be the first to reap the rewards.