Time to Get Ready for Web 3.0!
It was a real game changing moment when the world wide web became accessible in 1993. A whole new inter-connected world opened up in a manner that we had never experienced before. The social as well as business implications were eagerly promoted but naively recognised in terms of potential.
As we approach the adoption of “web 3.0”, I believe we are at a similar point of fundamental change that is not being recognised. For marketers, we need to understand what this will mean for the consumer and, ultimately, how we will need to reshape marketing strategies to ensure a ‘frictionless’, brand reinforcing experience.
Before getting into what it might all mean, it’s worth spending a moment to understand where we’ve been, and then try to clearly outline what web 3.0 actually is……or will be.
Since the world wide web went public back in 1993, we have broadly moved through two key evolutionary stages. Many have referred to ‘web 1.0’ as the ‘read only’ web, where information was basically plastered across websites for people to passively consume. It was all about consumption with no real interaction. Web 2.0 has been characterised by interactive and social collaboration (think Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb etc).
Web 3.0 is a real time, rapidly developing concept which makes it difficult to define precisely.
According to whatis.com:
Web 3.0 is the third generation of internet services for websites and applications that will focus on using a machine-based understanding of data to provide a data-driven and Semantic Web. The ultimate goal of Web 3.0 is to create more intelligent, connected and open websites.
The key point being a more intelligent and connected web. To achieve this, web 3.0 is being built on new internet technologies that will provide better searches and faster Ai driven web experiences. The likes of Facebook and Google won’t be as critical in development (compared to previous stages) because peer-to-peer experiences built on the decentralised blockchain will become a defining aspect of web 3.0.
So what could this mean for business and marketers?
Our web experiences will go three dimensional. We have all been hearing about Facebook, and its rebranding as Meta, to better reflect its business strategy moving forward. And there is no doubt Meta sees the “metaverse” as the future and, more specifically, virtual reality as a key component. From an investment point of view, they are placing a huge bet on the metaverse – to the tune of $10 billion dollars over the next 12 months; and that is just the start of it! The opportunity to create fully immersive experiences will create major opportunities across many industries – gaming, cultural, tourism, music, concerts, live events, fashion etc.
Mapping applications and the targeted delivery of relevant advertising will become even more customised in real time while people are on the move. It’s a good example of how web 3.0 will provide significant benefit to small business. Through their servers, Google Maps will be able to send and receive massive amounts of real time data that will enable highly targeted ads providing relevant information about local businesses. All without delays and based on intelligent algorithms that will be the cornerstone of web 3.0 technologies.
Personal algorithms will place consumers in a powerful position to control their own data, and for them to determine which third parties have access to it. Ai applications will filter out advertising with unverified claims and determine what ‘factual based’, relevant advertising will be customised and provided in a hyper targeted manner.
Internet of Things
The Internet-of-Things will also be expanding around us. Data from interconnected sensory devices, such as camera feeds within retail stores and trackers within the supply chain, will provide businesses with the ability to curate information and generate advertising offers that are immediate, and create a highly valuable brand experience for the consumer.
The blockchain and web 3.0 offer businesses many other valuable opportunities – from the ability to track and trace within the supply chain, to efficient product recall identification and management, through to the protection of copyright and IP via decentralised storage that can never be corrupted. For governments, it also provides the potential opportunity for end-to-end verifiable voting to take place – where entire populations can vote and be confident in the accuracy of the outcome – finally!
We will also be moving towards “dApps” or decentralised applications that are required for the blockchain and peer to peer networks rather than a single computer. As we know, a standard web app, (think Twitter or Facebook), has multiple users but is controlled by a single organisation. dApps can run on a P2P network or a blockchain network. For example, BitTorrent or Tor are applications that run on computers that are part of a P2P network; they’ve got millions of people both consuming content as well as seeding and providing content.
For brands, this will be a critical time.
Consumers will be more empowered than ever. The ‘transparency’ provided by web 3.0 will ensure consumers become very discerning about the brands they buy into, and only support those clearly aligned to their values and the way they live.
Web 3.0 will provide a place where people can connect, communicate, collaborate and transact with complete trust in the authenticity of data. This will be due to the decentralised open-source platform that seriously reduces the control, margin and power of “Big Tech”.
Blockchain technologies are the real deal. They will be the foundation for brand experiences never previously experienced. As marketers, our first step in embracing the unique benefits of web 3.0 is to better understand what the blockchain is and not get distracted by the focus on its by-product, digital currencies.