For many marketers, the latest Web3 buzz -- decentralization, metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrencies -- can easily be dismissed as a fad, especially when compared to the market caps and proven ad models of established digital giants like Amazon, Meta, and Google.
Between the multibillion stablecoin crash, Coinbase’s layoff warning of a “crypto winter,” Bloomberg’s report that 1 in 3 NFT projects have little or no trading activity, and the ongoing skepticism around Meta’s vision of the metaverse, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of justifiable pessimism about the future of Web3 right now.
But there are also many signals that point to long-term consumer adoption of at least some aspects of Web3: Gartner projects 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social and/or entertainment by 2026. Billions of dollars are already spent on social skins, digital clothes, and digital objects in online games.
Big companies like Samsung, Nike and Wendy’s are launching Web3 pilots and using this period of uncertainty to invest in learning about Web3 basics. No matter where you fall in the spectrum of what’s a fad and what’s forever, right now is a great time to do the same. Here are three steps to get started:
Dust off that digital transformation plan and add Web3: Establish an intentional, long-term strategy for learning, governance, and pilots across every aspect of the company. Because standards, interoperability, sustainability, and ROI are not yet cemented, this approach will allow your company to build a future-proof foundation for these new technologies in a manner that is brand safe, rooted in education, and can scale over time.
Establish a content process and oversight system for 3D assets: Just as 2D images and video form the backbone of content in the current state of digital and social, 3D “digital twin” assets are required for new experiences coming in current and future AR, VR, NFT, and metaverse worlds. This evolution has implications for brand safety, trademarks, digital asset management, oversight, policing, and maintenance. Building a process for 3D is one of the most future-proofed steps a brand can take to prepare for whatever Web3 will bring.
Plan a pilot: Look for opportunities in Web3 pilots to 1) learn from existing creators in the space, 2) engage your audience in a meaningful way that adds value, and 3) build a learning agenda for the future. Just as brands learned with Web2, any effort in Web3 should align with company mission and values, overindex in brand safety, and revolve around a test-and-learn strategy tied to measurable objectives.
Bill Gates famously said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10.” It can be a long road to build support for new communication technology at most organizations, and the Web3 era is no exception. Using this uncertain time as the opportunity to make strategic bets and build foundational knowledge is the best way to ride today’s fads and strategically invest in “what’s next.”
See you on the internet.