The Threat of Web3 to Traditional Digital Marketing

authorAmit Vyas dateJune 27, 2022

It's a brave new world and the technology shaping the world as we know it is hot on our heels. Amit Vyas and Andrew Thomas sit down to discuss the impact that web3 is having in the digital marketing space and whether or not this poses a threat to the traditional ways of marketing.

How Traditional Digital Marketing is Being Challenged by Web3

We’ve been heavily ingrained in the web3 space for the last few months, looking at how we operate at present and what to expect in the future. This falls in line with Nexa as a growth agency, which are taking a proactive step towards this to inform our clients.

There is potential for our core and traditional services to be impacted by web3. Our clients will need to shift in line with the changes we’re seeing as well as the potential challenges to expect. These changes are happening at a fast pace, though we are still reliant on traditional digital marketing at the moment. By understanding these changes, we’re able to direct our clients accordingly and future-proof their business.

We’re being swept up in a wave, though there have been ripples over the last few years that have brought us to this point, notes Andrew. Amit adds that today, the bulk of this technology already exists, so we have the foundation and are readier than ever for the third iteration of the internet.

This is a dramatic shift away from the traditional model, with the aim of decentralising online spaces. As Andrew says, the principle is based on “playing nice in the sandbox” with one another, without being bound by the rules and powerful entities of web 1 and web 2. It marks the democratisation of the web, with a move away from big tech ownership in a move that is being both questioned and embraced.

This also marks a move away from people being seen as ‘users’ and ‘consumers,’ which are norms in traditional digital marketing. In web3, it’s about having ownership of your content and having more control of your data. In the world of web2, people using platforms are largely at the helm of big tech, where changes can come in overnight to the regulatory rules and impact one’s online profiles and in some cases, their career.

These concepts and moves against archaic centralised systems are bringing everything we know into question. This movement is also about reflecting on whether our old-world systems are suited to the direction that the world is moving towards. It touches on substantive ideologies including inclusivity and transparency, with an opportunity to effect real change.

Anonymity is an interesting part of this world. When we look at the likes of a digital wallet, for example, there are certain security measures in place to protect people and their identities. At present, we’re seeing brands introduce new tech-backed functionality, from offering alternative booking processes to metaverse brand experiences. This will likely also change the way people present themselves online, from famous creators and influencers who live public lives to adapting to operating anonymously (safely through verification) online.

What we’re seeing in web3 from a marketing perspective, is that the exchange of data for services is on the way out. Privacy relating to data concerns has increased in recent years, with the extent of information these platforms have about the people that are using them. Discord, a centralised platform is also interesting to look at, as they do not use data in the way that the other major platforms are, and because of that we’re seeing it continue to rise in popularity.

The community is a prominent feature of online activity moving forward. We’re seeing like-minded people gather on certain platforms to discuss the changes we’re seeing on the likes of Twitter and Discord, notes Amit. This is reigniting another element of traditional digital marketing: referral marketing. Referrals are golden, especially in today's (and tomorrow’s) online spaces. Being engaged in a community that requires verification makes these interesting spaces to mingle with people from all walks of life.

web3 and its threat to digital marketing

The role of the crypto markets

Crypto has dropped drastically in recent weeks, bringing us to an interesting point. These asset classes are seen as a potential safe haven for investors, though it is not playing out that way. This topic is connected to the topic at hand of digital marketing, though its impact is noted and felt in the broader web3 sphere. Whether you’re risk-averse and sitting on the smug side or on the opposite end understanding the long-term financial fundamentals, all eyes are on the cryptocurrency markets to see how this unfolds.

Where Twitter comes into play

Another topic relating to a decentralised future is Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. Twitter has seemingly fallen out of favour in the Middle East for digital marketing, while the personal use of the platform, especially for those eager about web3, has increased. Andrew adds that he thinks it’s a bold, good move. The algorithm and advertising revenue models are likely to experience changes.

Amit’s take is that these purchases are calculated, especially from Musk who is future-focused and comes from a tech background. We’re yet to see the full effect of this move towards making it a privately owned platform, with the potential for alternative revenue streams (rather than the usual ad revenue that underpins traditional digital marketing).

NFT Marketing 

This leads us to NFTs and how brands are using these assets. While this warrants a show of its own, it is an important element of the future of online activity and the ways that digital marketing is changing to accommodate web3 and the many threats and opportunities it presents. 

Rounding Up the Threat of Web3 on Digital Marketing

That rounds up Amit and Andrew’s take on the effects that web3 pose to the traditional forms of marketing. To learn more about this diverse and emerging space, tune in to the Web3 Digest for weekly updates, or the Digital Growth Show for marketing industry insights. This is a great starting point for your journey of exploration about all things web3 and beyond!