Many people say that we live in a brave new world, but I believe that humankind has always lived in a brave new world, as they have been creating the future for millions of years. Every day from the past, hundreds of thousands of years, humans are creating, inventing and discovering something new and working hard to make everyone’s life safe, easy and enjoyable.
Web 3.0 and its applications are the talk of the town from the past few months and everyone is guessing about its future. While some of them have completely written off Web 3.0, considering the recent performance of crypto-currency industries, others think that it is still a distant future. But whatever the public notion is, it is a fact that Web 3.0 is upon us, and will be the future of the internet and how we connect and socialise with others.
Web 1.0 or the first version of the world wide web was about connecting the users, providing the information required to them at the click of a button which is free (almost), instant and easy to access. This was the time where websites or webmasters used to control the content available on the internet.
Then came Web 2.0, where the power was taken from the websites by the users, where the content creation was done by the users instead of the websites or webmasters. This is the era we have been living in, the era of Facebook, Youtube, Google, Amazon etc. where while the content creation is done by the users, it is controlled by these behemoths.
Now Web 3.0 is the first step towards bringing the power back in the hands of the users. It is the users who are creating the content, sharing their personal data, consuming the content and having a say about how they do it and how it affects them.
With the power of distributed networks and de-centralisation, the users own their content and can monetise using decentralised finance and crypto-currencies. The users control their PII and their other data. They can decide if they want to share it with someone else or not and the users will control the internet as much as the founders of these walled gardens.
While it is a good step towards making the internet a level playing field, it comes with both challenges and opportunities, the trends that the marketers should look out for, as it affects them the most.
Metaverse - This is the biggest opportunity that marketers can leverage. Multiple virtual worlds like Second Life, Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite have been around for a long time now. But, they have always been around gaming with the primary source of revenue being the merchandise sales. But, when meta announced their advertisement based metaverse, everything changed.
Meta already has a user data of billions of users, and if their multi-billion dollar bet on this metaverse succeeds, then it will open a Pandora box for the marketers. Because, now they will get access to immersive Web 3.0 placements like experiences, concerts, events, shows, launches, virtual shops etc. with user's data for precise targeting.
NFTs - NFTs are not only gaining popularity, as it's something that can be used virtually, but because it is a store of value, as a mode of investment. Recently a Gucci virtual bag was sold on Roblox (virtual world) for over USD 4000+, way more than its worth in real or physical life.
More and more brands are now launching their NFT collections, and this is something which needs marketers attention as sooner or later these NFTs can become an alternative source of the revenue. It is the marketers duty to help the brands and leverage the most out of this opportunity.
PII Data - One of the bigger challenges of Web 3.0 and de-centralisation is the limitation to the access of PII (Personal Identification Information) Data. While many countries globally are adopting the policies to curb the unfair usage of PII data, Web 3.0 is one step ahead of it. With Web 3.0, the users will have control on managing and controlling their PII and other data over the internet. The users will have the power to monetise their own data, which can be seen in the case of a brave browser. The users of the brave browser are getting paid to see ads (as per their PII and preferences) in virtual currencies or assets.
So while, this is something new, we are seeing more and more such platforms mushrooming up, which are paying their users to see the ads, still maintaining the integrity of digital marketing, by using the data correctly and efficiently. This is one of the challenges, but can be a big opportunity for marketers to leverage in the near future.
Experiences - Web 2.0 has all been about intrusive banner ads, rich media creatives and video ads, but Web 3.0 will completely reinvent how we look at digital advertisements. The biggest challenge that the marketers have seen over the years, is how to make the advertisement non-intrusive and native. Web 3.0 is solving this biggest challenge for the brands, marketers and users alike, by offering experiences instead of advertisements. While it is futuristic, it is something we are seeing happening right now.
H & M recently did trial run of their virtual store in CEEK City Universe
Justin Bieber's virtual rock concert on Wave
Now think about the experience of a leading energy drink brand, a popular energy and sports drink brand has been investing heavily in Extreme Sports for over a decade now. In the physical world, there are hundreds of such sportspersons and maybe a few thousands of the fans attending the games. Now consider the brand organising extreme sports in a virtual world, where any user can participate from any corner of the world. Thi is irrespective of their physique, health conditions, age, gender or capabilities, enjoying the true essence of the sport virtually. Such virtual experiences can actually give wings to the masses where the brand recall and penetration among the consumers would be on a global level.
Web 3.0 can be both a boon and a bane for the marketers, depending on their standings and perspective around it. However, I can say with certainty that the forthcoming year is going to be very exciting and huge for Web 3.0, internet users and marketers alike. We will see a lot of changes happening in the marketing and ad-tech ecosystem, and the brands or marketers should adapt to it sooner before it is too late.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Xapads Media, a full-stack Ad Tech platform, which offers 360-degree digital marketing solutions. Views expressed are personal.