It is possible that you’re reading this and asking yourself, “What is Web3?” or maybe even “Web3, I didn’t know the web had numbers.” So, let’s start by stepping back and giving a little history and context around the different versions/stages of the web.
- Web1 was the original world wide web created in the early 1990s. It was a read-only version of the web. It focused on static websites viewed in a browser and consisted of files uploaded to the web (servers) that people would view or download. Most marketing tactics included email marketing and TV or radio advertising, reinforced by online messaging. Websites were similar to a brochure that users viewed.
- Web2 is the version of the web that the majority of the world is currently using. It is a read-write version of the web where users are able to create and share content. With Web2, information sharing became the way of the web. Web 2 is powered by centralized companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, to name a few. Blogs, YouTube, and podcasts have become everyday tools for users to share content.
Inbound Marketing exploded during the Web2 era because marketers have unprecedented access to user data and insights. Marketing is performance and analytics-focused, and terms like customer acquisition, customer lifetime value, and cost per click, among others, have become the daily focus of marketers. However, users now face privacy concerns because social media and search engine companies are selling their data. All of this has spurred different countries to enact laws to try to protect users and their data.
- Web3 is where the internet is headed and what you need to be preparing for. Web3 is a read-write-interact version of the web that transfers ownership from entities to private citizens/users. Since Web3 is still in its infancy, it’s challenging to predict the exact impact that it will have on marketers and companies, but there are some aspects that you should start getting familiar with right now. Terms like NFTs (non-fungible tokens), Metaverse, Decentralization, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, AI, and Tokenized are all things that you should start to learn about in order to understand how they could affect your business and marketing strategy moving forward.
In the early days of the internet, some companies were forward-thinking enough to secure their domain name (e.g. lego.com) though these domains were owned and stored on some other companies' centralized servers. Other companies took a wait-and-see approach and eventually learned the hard way that if they weren't on the internet, they basically weren't in business. As social media sites exploded onto the scene, some companies responded with the same resistance to engaging users on social platforms. In my early days as a marketer, I heard excuses like, “But if I get a Facebook page or a Twitter account, people could say bad things about my company online!” My answer was always the same: this is like pretending that if you aren’t in the room no one will talk about you. Being absent doesn’t stop people from talking about you, positively or negatively. The difference is that if you’re present you can engage and maybe turn a negative into a positive.
Web3 marketing will offer new and different opportunities and strategies to marketers and businesses compared with previous versions of the web. Just as we saw new and innovative marketing methods come out of Web2, we’ll see yet-undiscovered marketing methods come out of Web3 in the near future. Since we still don’t know what Web3 will be like 5 - 10 years from now, I will share just a few of the basic changes that are happening right now.
In the Web3 world, companies and users will own their own data. Even now, companies like Unstoppable Domains are selling Web3/NFT (decentralized blockchain-based) domains. Though these domains are still in their infancy, they are something you should be paying special attention to as they are already working with some browsers and hundreds of integrations. With Web3, once you buy your domain, you will own your domain. This means you need to put some thought into who purchases the domain, what wallet you will use for the domains, and how ownership is treated. If the wrong person gets ownership it could be very difficult and expensive to get it back. Once you get the domain, you will have full control over how you use it, whether you decide to create a blockchain-based website, redirect to your current website, etc…
Now let’s talk about NFTs. NFTs will provide a great opportunity for a company to start using Web3 in their marketing strategy. NFTs can be viewed as a bridge from Web2 to Web3. Companies like Norwegian Cruise Line and Anheuser-Busch have already started to take advantage of NFTs in their marketing strategies. Since Bonafide is a HubSpot partner, I was happy to see that HubSpot has already published some blogs on Web3 and NFTs. A couple examples are: How Brands Use NFTs for Marketing: Are They Really Worth The Hype? and What is Web 3 & What Could It Mean for the Future of Marketing?
Another exciting opportunity for businesses and marketers in the Web3 world will be the evolution of the MetaVerse. As MetaVerse projects grow using AR and VR technology, I predict that we will see the same sort of growth that we saw with social media sites. This time businesses will be able to interact with users in unique ways. Some businesses might create their own planet or buy virtual property to set up a virtual location. Others may design and display digital billboards or advertisements within the MetaVerse. Concerts can be hosted within the MetaVerse, allowing a user in Texas to see a Guns N’ Roses concert in London without ever leaving their living room. Likely these will use NFT-based tickets, which could create additional value and revenue for both the artist and the user. The opportunities are really endless, and we’re just scratching the surface now.
Discussed below are some prominent features of Web 3.0 highlighted by Gartner:
- Decentralization. Web 3.0’s decentralized nature means there is no centralized entity or authority controlling or regulating the internet. Instead, it is a distributed network where each internet user is responsible for their own data and content.
- Improved privacy and security. With decentralization comes increased security, as there is no central point of attack. In addition, Web 3.0 makes it easier for each internet user to choose who can access their data and what they can do with it.
- Blockchain technology. Blockchain is a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. As a technology, blockchain could potentially revolutionize the way people conduct online transactions, making them much more secure.
Web3 opens the door for new ways to interact with each other, no matter where in the world you may be. It’s the next step of human interaction in an internet era defined by evolving methods of communication. In the future instead of tracking codes, users will likely give access to one of their wallets to whomever they want and will be able to revoke that access at any time.
The goal of this article isn’t to provide you with all of the answers to Web3, but to make sure that your business is starting to think about Web3 and how it will impact your future marketing strategies.
If you're using HubSpot and Web3 is something that you would like to explore, or if you're a Blockchain/Web3 Project and looking to use HubSpot, reach out to Bonafide so we can help you navigate these new waters.