Web 3.0: What Marketers Need to Know

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If you were to ask a random stranger on the street, “What do you think about web 2.0?” There’s a high chance that they would say they’re unfamiliar with the term or can’t put what they think it means into words. But, trust me, they know! At the very least, they know their way around Google and at least one social media platform. However, technology is constantly evolving, and that means the internet and the way we consume it is changing, both for social and professional needs. In recent years, significant changes have occurred slowly in the digital space, and due to its dynamic nature, we need to keep up.

Now, we’re at the dawn of what people are calling Web 3.0. You might feel intimidated and feel left behind. If you’re a digital marketer, you are at the frontlines of this new thing, and you need to understand and grow with these changes as much as possible. But don’t fret! We’ve compiled some of the major updates you need to know about to keep up with Web 3.0. 

What is Web 3.0?

Web 3.0, true to its name, is the third generation of web technologies. The difference from the previous version, web 2.0, is mainly the semantic web or decentralized web and the use of blockchain technology. Before we begin with the main features of web 3.0, we’ll take a look at the two previous versions of the web and their main features. 

Web 1.0

This started in the 1990s and ended around the turn of the century. This first wave of web technologies was relatively short-lived, having been replaced by web 2.0 in less than 10 years. It was characterized by static websites, which meant there was little to no interaction between the web pages and the users, and is often referred to as a “read-only” web. 

Web 2.0

The immediate predecessor of 3.0, web 2.0, is the version of the web version most of us are very familiar with. The difference between the previous version and 2.0 is simply that 1.0 is “read-only” while 2.0 is “read-write.” This means that websites are much more interactive because the users can “write” information to communicate with the servers. This technology is what allowed the unprecedented rise of social media popularity.

Web 3.0

Now, onto the newest evolution in web technologies. Web 3.0, also sometimes referred to as Web3, is the newest wave of web technology innovations. This version is simply an upgraded iteration of 2.0, which, in turn, is an iteration of 1.0. 

What are the new features?

To better understand what’s changed or is expected to change, we’ll look at the three main features of Web 3.0.

Blockchain Technology

You’ve probably heard about blockchain technology concerning cryptocurrency. Investopedia defines blockchain as 

“A blockchain is a distributed database or ledger that is shared among the nodes of a computer network. As a database, a blockchain stores information electronically in digital format.”

That may be difficult for the layman to understand. To understand it better, we can look at it in terms of its opposite. In web 2.0, the information is centralized and stored by one person or company. For example, Google has so much of your information. From your name, your occupation, and even where you are when you search for something specific. All this information they gathered, either by you manually inputting this information or basing it on your activity online, is stored in their system. Now, whatever information they have is only viewable by them. Simply put, we don’t know the extent of all the specific information they have on us. A company or entity that might have use for that data will never access it unless they buy the data or are explicitly given access. 

Medium used a very easy-to-understand analogy in understanding blockchain technology called the “glass box analogy.” Imagine entering a vault and looking at rows and rows of glass boxes. You can see what’s inside the boxes, but they’re unlabelled. At least they don’t have a name but are labeled with numbers or a code. You can see what each box contains but don’t know who owns what’s inside, and you can’t copy its contents. No person or company owns one specific glass; in fact, nobody owns it. The “owners” are owners by virtue of them having access to the contents. 

In the same way, blockchain technology provides a more transparent view of all the data stored on the internet. Because the data is stored in “glass boxes,” the way information is gathered and stored is much more transparent. In Web 2.0, the data is stored in one huge vault owned by a company or a person, AND the vault is opaque. However, although the data is transparent, it provides more advanced privacy and security (see Feature 3).

That brings us to “Decentralization”. This is probably one of the major selling points of 3.0. In 2.0, we’ve become used to centralized information storage. Meaning that information is usually in a single server on a specific location. With blockchain technology, the information would be stored simultaneously in many different locations. Because of the way blockchain technology works, it means that instead of centralized systems, our information will be stored in a network of computers. This creates an open ecosystem where information is both transparent and tamper-proof. 

Advanced Privacy and Security

In web 2.0, we’ve basically waived our right to privacy when we sign up for certain social media platforms. They sell your information, and this information becomes the basis for ad targeting. Because 3.0 is decentralized and uses blockchain technology, privacy and security are significantly increased. Users are also more capable of choosing who can access their data.  Because the data is not stored in a central server, it also significantly decreases the chances of data breaches. For example, the way 2.0 works, if someone were to hack into Facebook’s server, I can easily get the information of millions of people. Whereas in web 3.0, a hacker would have to breach individual servers, which are very hard to get into in the first place. 

Even with the simplified explanations above, you might feel overwhelmed. When reading about these features, there’s often a lot of technical jargon thrown around. However, it’s important to note that while there’s a steep learning curve, you WILL get used to it. On the bright side, we are already very familiar with certain strategies or skills that are still very relevant in web 3.0. These strategies include the creation of your customer avatars and plotting the customer transformation grid. The wave of new advancements by web 3.0 will not decrease the value of knowing who your ideal customers are and what value you’re trying to sell.

How will Web 3.0 impact digital marketing?

To better strategize and optimize your business for Web 3.0, you might want to note how it will revolutionize the web and how it will impact marketers.

Here are our predictions on how Web 3.0 will impact digital marketing going forward.

Increased use and purchases of digital assets

Cryptocurrency has increased in popularity over the last few years. So much so that the world reportedly saw an investment of 25 billion dollars last year. The last two years have also seen the rise of non-fungible tokens, which probably further increased people’s awareness of cryptocurrency. These digital assets will only increase if things go the same as in the last few years. This means that it’s up to us marketers to include them in our plans strategically. However, these assets are relatively new, NFTs especially. Exploring and experimenting in this space will help ensure your brand stays on trend and keep up with all these changes. Will these assets be used to purchase physical items? Will eCommerce retails begin to accept BTC and ETH as forms of payment? We’ve already seen that begin with Tesla accepting Doge, so we don’t think it’s too far off for eCommerce retailers to follow suit.

Brand uniqueness will be highly valued

Even now, we can already observe the consumers being more interested in companies that are “different.” Companies have addressed this need in different ways. Some would offer a unique experience with virtual communities, such as the metaverse, new technological innovations, and others. The competition will be tough due to the sheer number of competitors, and there’s an increased difficulty in cooking up something entirely new. While there is room for evolution, it’s very important to ensure that from the very beginning, you position yourself as a brand that does its own thing. Consumers are very attached to a brand that stands out from the crowd, from company values to packaging and even how the brand is marketed. 

More immersive virtual reality

Virtual reality has steadily had a lot of improvements over the years. Last year, Facebook changed its name to Meta, signaling the company’s transition towards becoming a metaverse company instead of simply being a social media platform. This change shocked the world and the social media industry. The company had then been experiencing a PR crisis and was suddenly announcing a pivot towards the metaverse. However, the CEO insists that the metaverse is the future of the internet. And, perhaps, it is. Consumers are gearing more towards the most engaging platforms, as evidenced by the popularity of short-form videos on Tiktok, IG Reels, and Youtube Shorts. People want to communicate with brands in real-time and make meaningful and accessible connections on the web. As we settle into Web 3, the rise of virtual communities and active participation in the metaverse seems inevitable. 

Community-driven efforts will take precedence

While very popular a while back, influencer marketing can have some issues. Consumers can spot a sponsored post from a mile away! The fact that brands pay influencers can sometimes make it seem less genuine. You might get tired of hearing the word “authentic,” but it’s a very powerful marketing tool. Consumers want real people! Along the lines of building authentic relationships with consumers comes the rise of user-generated content. User-generated content allows the brand to use recommendations from real people, generally perceived as more trustworthy. A study by Stackla reports that 80% of consumers say that UGCs impact their purchase decisions, which was only amplified during the pandemic. Having a presence on the web by making content will also help increase brand awareness, whether that be on social media platforms or the metaverse. 

Creatives will have the opportunity to charge more

Because of the decentralized nature of Web 3.0, content creation and creatives, in general, will enjoy more freedom. While there is a lot of creative freedom in Web 2.0 compared to traditional media, decentralization will take that freedom further. Creators will have the power to make and manage their content even without the supervision of giant companies with guidelines in place. The engaging and immersive expectations for companies in Web 3.0 will also require active participation from the creative sector. After all, virtual communities and engaging platforms need to be built. 

There are a lot of suggestions on how to keep your company optimized for web 3.0. For one, there’s a lot of talk about decentralized apps keeping in line with the decentralized nature of web 3.0. While it wouldn’t be a good idea to be hyper-focused on making a presence on these apps or strategizing how to utilize them, at least you need to keep yourself in the loop. Content creation on social media platforms is also a good digital marketing tool you may want to consider. Another good way to prepare your business is to work towards accepting cryptocurrency. As more and more people jump on that train, you need to remember that one of the best ways to optimize your business is having as many payment options as possible. If you can’t do it just yet, you can always strategize on how to implement that sometime in the future. 

In the next few years, we’ll have to observe the extent to which Web 3.0 will revolutionize the digital marketing landscape and internet use as a whole. Always keep in mind that web 3.0 is still in development. Sure, we can already feel the changes with the rise of NFTs and cryptocurrency, but nobody knows what impact it will have until it’s fully set in and we’ve had some time to be familiar with it. Having said that, always plan and strategize to give your brand the best chance to keep up with the flow of the ever-evolving technological space. 

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