Web3 & the future of marketing
Remember back to when you first started hearing the word Facebook? Around the same time, many people were getting their first cell phones. Now, your life likely relies on multiple devices and social media platforms — sharing, chatting, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.
Web 2.0 — the web as we know it — has been an absolute game-changer for digital marketing and advertising. Marketers gained innovative ways to connect with their target audiences and reach more customers.
But, as it’s grown, Web2 has become reliant on advertisements. This is a problem that Web3 might just solve, thanks to one key defining feature that experts say could change the game for marketing entirely.
In this blog, we’ll explore the world of digital marketing and advertising as they’re rebuilt in Web3.
The past and future of marketing: Web 2.0 to Web3
The rise of ads in Web 2.0
Ads — ads everywhere!
Web 2.0 is a virtual minefield of cluttered ads that can be an absolute headache for users — from popups to banners to pre-video ads on your favourite streaming service (think sleazy cartoon ads in Wreck-It Ralph). But, how did we get here? It all comes down to the dollar — and nothing in life is free. After all, businesses need revenue.
Free vs free with ads
Digital advertisements are the price users pay for “free”. They enable businesses to promote their products or services, ultimately paying for the user. Just watch this 30-second advertisement and you don’t have to pay for a premium subscription.
Is the Spotify voice “Want a break from the ads?” ringing in your ears?
But these tricks don’t come without consequences. They hurt businesses that rely on ads to gain customers and secure revenue. But, the issue isn’t the use of ad blockers.
It’s not even the users.
It’s the business model that’s at the mercy of Web 2.0.
How ads harm the web experience
Ads can create a lousy, overwhelming experience that drives visitors away. That is unless your product is loved enough for users to weather the ads.
Aside from the general nuisance is the threat against personal security. While monoliths like Google and Meta collect mass amounts of user data to personalize ads for a more customized experience, some believe this has Big Brother written all over it.
Of course, data collection methods don’t directly affect the experience, but the real concern is that collecting and storing personal data puts it at risk.
And that. That hurts.
A few examples of personal data breaches
- In 2018, the personal information of half a million Google+ users was made public, including names, email addresses, occupations, genders, and ages.
- In the same year, the world’s largest ID database, Aadhaar, was hacked. This exposed the names, addresses, photos, phone numbers, emails, and biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans of over 1.1 billion people.
- In 2020, 538 million Weibo users had their personal details hacked, including real names, usernames, gender, location, and phone numbers. These details were reportedly sold on the dark web.
- In 2021, 90% of LinkedIn’s user base had its data scraped and exposed on the dark web.
- And of course, we can’t forget the attacks on Equitax and Capital One, in which bank account numbers, SNNs, and SINs were exposed, affecting over 100 million people.
Whether or not the responsible organization means well, the countless instances where databasing personal information has gone wrong tells us there’s got to be a better way. But that’s not to say things aren’t progressing!
How Web3 will change marketing
Unlike Web 2.0, Web3 is based on decentralization and blockchain technology. That means there's no central authority controlling the network. Instead, it's run by a network of users who all have a stake in the system. Web3 is therefore more secure and resistant to censorship and hacking.
So, will paid ads be possible with Web3?
Of course! But there are some changes in advertising that marketing professionals need to pay attention to. Here are a few examples of how you can expect consumer-business relationships to shift with Web3.
Transparency: With Web3, users can expect better transparency over exactly how their data is being used. This will lead to a more trusting relationship between marketers and consumers.
More targeted advertising: Since users will have more control over their personal data, advertisers will have to work harder to gain user consent and trust in order to use data for advertising purposes. However, it also means that advertising will be more targeted and personalized. After all, the better the targeting, the better the engagement and ROI.
Improved data security: Blockchain technology is inherently secure, as it uses cryptography to protect data. This means that data stored on the blockchain is encrypted and resistant to tampering and unauthorized access, reducing the risk of data leaks. Encrypted data can only be accessed by authorized parties with the correct decryption key, making it difficult for hackers or other unauthorized individuals to access sensitive information.
Tokenization: Web3 technology enables tokenization, which means that digital assets can be represented as tokens. This opens up new opportunities for marketers to incentivize consumer behaviour, such as rewarding consumers with tokens for sharing content or completing certain actions.
Community and influencers: Since Web3 is built on a network of decentralized communities, businesses may need to partner with community influencers to reach their targeted audience and build brand awareness.
Advertising on Web 2.0 has benefited businesses in many ways, but it has also had its drawbacks. Web3 will change marketing by enabling more direct, personalized, and transparent interactions between marketers and consumers. As the infrastructure shifts, businesses will need to rethink their advertising strategies and find new ways to reach their target audiences. Marketers who adapt to these changes and leverage Web3 technology will be well-positioned to succeed in the new decentralized web.