You’ve probably heard some version of this saying before: whenever there’s a big transition in a market or society, there are many new opportunities for businesses, and much new wealth is created.
The digital world’s move from Web1 (a thing of the past) to Web2 (where we mainly are now) and into Web3 (where we’re going) is exactly such a transition.
And WSI’s job is to help businesses navigate into and through the Web3 world.
What Exactly Is Web3?
This topic could have its own post, but for simplicity’s sake, Web3 is essentially the next iteration of the Internet or the digital world.
Web1 began in the 90s and was mostly “read-only.” Websites put out content, and people use the Internet to consume it. That was it.
Web2, where we still primarily operate now, is the conversational, user-generated content world where we digitally communicate and collaborate with both companies and each other (Facebook, Wikipedia, Google).
Web3 is very much where we’re going, but the concept and everything it entails is still in its infancy and can be difficult for mainstream users and audiences to digest.
Web3 is the dawn of a new digital world of blockchain technology highlighted by decentralization and token-based economics and has been popularized by cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the metaverse over the past year or two.
Why Does Web3 Matter?
In a marketing context, Web3 matters for the same reason many other social media platforms and other corners of the Internet matter: because that’s where your audience and customers are going to hang out and engage in the future.
Never heard of NFTs and think you don’t care about them? If you have any notion of targeting younger generations with your products and services, you better change your mind quickly. It doesn’t mean you have to buy or even like NFTs. But it does mean you need to understand why your target market likes them and be willing to dive in if it looks like a necessary part of engaging with your audience.
How Will Brands and Companies do Marketing in Web3?
Good question. There are a number of potential ways brands can and will market their products and services in a Web3 world, though at this point, it’s not entirely clear which of those avenues will work the best.
Some brands will create a digital currency or “coin” as a way of marketing their brand and engaging Web3 users.
Others will look at launching NFTs (digital collectibles) to facilitate and encourage ongoing interaction with their brand.
And perhaps the easiest example for envisioning how marketing fits into Web3 is the fact that some brands will launch their own metaverses or blockchain games/worlds in which they - or even users, as owners of digital real estate - could sell advertising to other brands and businesses who want to pay to reach the audiences hanging out in those worlds.
Okay...But Web3 Still Seems Confusing!
Speaking frankly, Web3 is a little confusing, and there is certainly a learning curve to becoming involved in the emerging digital world.
But getting involved is actually the single most important thing businesses and marketers can do right now in order to prepare for a year or two down the line when Web3 is more mainstream. Because make no mistake - Web3 is where the Internet is going.
How can you get involved? There are a number of ways, but the best and most effective way will always be joining yourself and becoming a Web3 user.
Reading some articles about cryptocurrencies, and the metaverse is a great start, but it’ll only get you so far.
What you need to do is buy some Ethereum (ETH), get a digital wallet, and purchase your first NFT. You don’t have to break the bank or invest money that you don’t have to do it - all of this can be accomplished for less than $100.
The point isn’t to try to make money (although you can certainly explore that once you’re through the learning curve) but rather, to experience blockchain technology directly. Figure out how to use it and get comfortable thinking and talking about it. Begin to see it as a tool and a space your business can leverage, and then start brainstorming the ways you can do those things.
If you put yourself through all of this now - the pain of the learning curve, the frustration of making a mistake with a cryptocurrency transfer, or the agony of missing out on an NFT drop that achieves 10x value in 24 hours - you’ll be much better positioned to expertly lead your business into the Web3 world when it truly arrives.