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Web3: What it is and what it means for the future of marketing.

Web3

What is Web3? 

Web3 is the next generation of the internet and is quickly evolving how we interact as humans. It is the future in an era defined by digital encounters, part of the evolutionary process that started in the early ‘90s with the static pages of Web1.  

In 2004, the internet developed again and Web2 was born, one of the biggest changes during this era was the interactivity of the internet. Not only did we get information from pages, but the web pages started getting information from us. As we interacted on social media and engaged with search engines, companies began to collect data that allowed them to market to their consumers more effectively. 

With businesses better positioned to market online, consumers began to develop concerns around privacy and the use of their data in the hands of big business. Using Amazon as an example, a once online bookstore has grown into a tech conglomerate who controls one of the most valuable commodities of the 21st-century: data. For many, this is a concerning thought – that’s where Web3 comes in. 

Web3 aspires to be a more decentralised version of the internet, most likely utilising blockchain technology to put the power back in the hands of the users and the creators. We have all heard the expression “once you post something on the internet, it’s there forever” however with Web3, you will be the owner of your content. 

In Web3, experts believe we will reach the point of the internet where every company is run by a decentralised group called a DAO which stands for Decentralised Autonomous Organisation. This would mean that there would be far less bureaucracy when it comes to decision making and those with the most tokens will vote on company changes. Though critics of this approach say it would only be a veiled attempt at decentralisation, as the power would still be in the hands of the few with the most money.

Lastly with Web3, your digital identity is not completely connected to your real-world identity, allowing users to manoeuvre internet with more anonymity. 

Web3 has endless capabilities – among them, the capacity to take users to the metaverse, a virtual reality where the possilities for digital socialising and recreation are endless. People can already purchase and monetise digital real estate, create VR experiences, meet and collaborate with remote colleagues, socialise with friends, shop for real and virtual products and attend concerts and tradeshows. Digital marketing already has a lion share in most marketing budgets and as Web3 continues to grow, marketers will no doubt be looking for innovative ways to make the most if it’s new potential. 

How is Web3 expected to impact Marketing and PR?

  1. Reimagining how we participate in the community

Decentralisation and shifting more of the power into the hands of the average consumer is at the heart of Web3. 

This means that users will now be in more control of what they consume and what they interact with online, reducing big businesses ability to drive the digital experience. With an already growing distrust of how businesses utilise data, brands will need to reimagine the tactics in which they obtain consumer attention. This shift will push marketing and PR professionals to genuinely connect with their market and focus on building strong communities of followers.  

In addition, the concept of community will expand to a global level, and geographical limitations will be a thing of the past. Today, regardless of the demand, you can’t sell a golf club membership to people far outside the area where the club is located. Web3 and the metaverse will forge digital landscapes that will create new community dynamics and nurture global networks.

  1. Data insights will become more limited 

With Web2, businesses monetise the data they collect, either by utilising the insights to more effectively market to users or by selling it to third parties. Experts predict that Web3 will create more data privacy for the consumer which in turn will make it more difficult for marketers to understand trends and collect consumer data. 

This shift will drive businesses to be more transparent with the way they collect data and force marketers to take a more creative approach to how they reach and understand their target audience. 

  1. A growing demand and more freedom for content creators 

Social Media censorship and strict community guidelines limit many content creator’s freedom when it comes to what they can post and therefore what they can create.  

When we think about how YouTube or Spotify work, the creator only gets a fraction of the profit however in the world of Web3, creators will obtain far more autonomy. Not only will they own and control their content, but they will also increase their earning potential as platforms move to a more decentralised structure.

  1. The Emergence of new platforms to reach consumers 

Even in Web3’s infancy, we are seeing the emergence of decentralised alternatives to traditional social media platforms, predicted to disrupt the monopoly of big-tech. 

An example of this is Odyssey, a blockchain alternative to YouTube where videos can be posted, and creators earn library tokens as a reward for views. If someone wants to share your video, they have to download it, similar to a torrent network. This means the platform cannot remove your video because your post wouldn’t be on one of the company’s servers, it would theoretically be on thousands of computers around the world ensuring the blockchain social network you’re on is not censored.

As Web3 matures, more users are anticipated to gravitate to these alternative social networks, reducing the reach of current conglomerates like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. In turn, marketers will rely less and less on these Web2 platforms to drive adoption for products.  

This will drastically change the landscape of marketing channels and create a future where marketing is centred around businesses owning their own audiences and assets and creating genuine value for their users. 

Web2 facilitated more marketing methods than we could have possibly foreseen and Web3 will be the same. Whilst this is by no means an exhaustive list – it goes to show that, as technology sprints forward, fast-movers and creative thinkers will reap the benefits