Whether you believe in Web3’s potential or not, it’s already impacting how we collectively plan for the future of the internet. Zoe Cocker, Head of Innovation and Creative Studio at Yahoo, explains why this emerging realm is much more than just marketing buzzwords.
Going back about a decade, when I used to pitch eSports to clients, they would look at me like I had horns growing out of my head. The idea you could fill a 50,000 seat stadium with people wanting to watch teenagers play a desktop game seemed farcical.
But as we now know, the unimaginable happened. And today eSports is a USD$1.4 billion dollar industry1.
Web3 is very similar. There are many sceptics cropping up to decry it as a passing fad. To those people, I fear they will be watching on while lamenting the loss of cookies, the ongoing rise of social media, and other changes they thought would never happen.
But I’m here to say we need to start seriously thinking about the potential Web3 will offer. Because if your head’s in the sand, you will miss a massive opportunity to be an early adopter of some truly remarkable technologies.
Kicking and screaming into the future
Web3 is this decade's social media. It’s the disruptive technology that will have us wondering in 10 years time how we ever got by without it. Whether it's 5G, blockchain, Web AR, crypto or NFTs, these emerging innovations are revolutionising the internet.
So, if this new emerging technology is so bloody wonderful and revolutionary, why are people so reluctant to engage with it?
The simple answer is: they shouldn’t be. Because we’ve been here 1000 times before.
If we look at any new technologies that have emerged, like ecommerce, we’ve always had to convince people to abandon what they know. Even in a world where more shopping is done online than IRL today.
Granted, it's hard to make innovations like 5G sound sexy to consumers. But what you can offer them is a user experience that brings it to life.
And it’s becoming a requirement for businesses. Yahoo released research last year which revealed 86% of Gen Zs expect experiences with brands to be innovative, seamless and personalised2. But I can’t think of many brands today that are meeting those expectations.
Web3 can so easily create that experience if built for correctly, and now is the time to be thinking about how you can do this.
Yes, only a small percentage of your consumers likely know what the metaverse is, and to be honest they shouldn't need to know at present. It's our job to build them better experiences.
So if we begin to look through this lens and create a better internet with improved infrastructure, we can really strengthen the relationship with our consumers.
Building a bridge to the metaverse
Currently the internet gets about two stars out of five from me. As it stands today, it’s merely a 2D representation of what we have in the real world. To bring this star rating up, we need to start putting in a bit more effort to realise the potential of the tech we have today.
For those less inclined to stick their heads in the sand, adopting Web3 is as simple as thinking about what your brand looks like in the 3D world. This can be achieved by basing it off a physical representation of your product or service.
Next, you need to look at how you take that representation and put it online in a way that doesn’t reduce its impact. Most 3D objects in Web3 will look akin to your product because the right technology is available through virtual reality. And luckily for us, it’s miles ahead of where it was even a few years ago.
What happens in the beginning will be a reflection of what has happened in the past. When you started on Instagram you may have put TVC’s on the app and called it a social post. But now we all know we have to build for specific online environments.
As we build together, you’ll discover the spatial fingerprint your brand has, and what it looks like as a 3D entity in the digital realm. From there, the sky's the limit for innovation and improvement.
If we build it…
The metaverse isn’t here yet. But it’s being constructed in real time. We have the idea of what a better internet looks like, and now is the moment to start putting the pieces together.
We need to move away from the perception of Web3 as just NFTs of monkeys and risky crypto investments. Instead, look at it as a new frontier for all of us in the media, marketing and digital space.
Every person in the industry has experienced great change whether it was from digital out of home introducing programmatic or the launch of social media.
So all the marketing principles we’ve learned won’t become redundant in the Web3 world. It’s just about playing in a new sandbox, but with an opportunity to experiment with new tools, and realise the potential that the internet has.
And if you’re content to watch this ‘fad’ pass by, I’d suggest you need to be prepared for your customers to move on too.
Statista Revenue of the global eSports market 2019-2025
Yougov x 5G & immersive consumer study (Mar/Apr & Sept/0ct 2020)