Everything you need to know about Web 3.0

We explore the impact on marketing from the next Web revolution

Direct connection

If the first iteration of the Web was websites linked together as the World Wide Web, and from this developed a networked, interconnected Web of devices, spaces (virtual, augmented and real-world locations) and people, then how will Web 3.0 remake the connection between consumers and product and service providers?

For a start, it’ll be even harder for brands to keep those consumers engaged, Litan says.

“Brands will need to continue fighting hard for consumer attention and do whatever they need to do to garner it,” she says. “But now they will be able to focus on the consumer rather than splitting their focus between the consumer and how they are presented to consumers via gatekeepers.”

Litan also predicts changes to the digital advertising framework using blockchain as consumer concerns around privacy escalates and advertisers and publishers question the transparency and value in online advertising. “Added to this, enterprising hackers are also getting rich off this convoluted architecture,” she comments.

The analyst sees the future potential for blockchain changing the value of online exchanges to measure and cost personal attention rather than meaningless unverifiable clicks, which can easily be falsified through bot networks engaged in massive ad click fraud schemes. Litan points to blockchain startup, Brave, an Ethereum Blockchain-based ledger and privacy-protecting browser that blocks ads and tracking, unless consumers specifically opt out, as an example. With scale, this offering could also handle ad networks.

“Perhaps we really will move to a consumer demand-driven online economy and really be able to maintain our privacy while blowing away all that online ad pollution,” she says.

Advertising and content control

Targeted advertising will also change in Web 3.0, according to UniSA Online STEM program facilitator, Dr Rhoda Abadia. Advertisers in Web 2.0 that performed target advertising will continue to do so; however, with Web 3.0 Blockchain adoption, consumers should have more control on how they engage with advertising.

“They own and authorise any third-party of use of their data and can deny any third-party from being able to get personal data or advertise to users without their authorisation,” Abadia says.

“And with the use of AI applications, users have control over the ‘facts’ provided to them through digital sources. This will also have an impact on advertising. Consumers can filter out advertising with unverified claims.”

Abadia sees Web 3.0 technologies as also being able to extract semantic information to target specific market segments and build relationships with consumers.

The semantic Web, first envisioned by World Wide Web investor, Tim Berners-Lee, is characterised by enormous amounts of data where inquiries like searches will be carried out in a more human-like way through the meaning of words rather than keywords and numbers.

Apart from the advertising element, Web 3.0 could see devices acting for consumers and playing more of a human role. Abadia sees a future of websites that are even more customised based on customer preference or historical use. “As an example, the use of intelligent agents that will have the ability to categorise, contextualise [semantics] and automate processes,” she says.

“Two different people can search using the same keywords and the same search engine or Web service, and they will receive different results determined by their profiles and historical use as identified by the intelligent agent.”

Abadia also predicts consumers using their devices in Web 3.0 will have new personal experiences, from interacting with the product using AR or VR, to natural language interfaces, and even smart inter-connection between device data and social media.

This combination of AI and AR will change the relationship between the product and the consumer.

“Consumers can trigger the AI to populate the virtual environment with digital content to go along with the physical objects and environment in front of the consumer. Products can literally communicate its features, from energy rating, pricing options, colour options, directly to the consumers,” she says.

Plotting a course

For Abadia, organisations looking to start preparing for the changes presented by the emerging Web 3.0 will need to invest in technology infrastructure changes to satisfy their customers’ needs and capitalise on emerging trends. Web 3.0 may also enlarge the capabilities of individuals in their daily lives.

“There will be opportunities for users to interact and contribute information, but also have the ability to create new Web services based on user preferences,” she says.

Marketers looking to plot a course to Web 3.0 might first want to start by carving off a small percentage of budget to do more in unknown spaces and using different technologies.

“Align yourself with people who can think in these spaces, but don’t profess to be experts,” Merriman recommends as a way to starting coming to terms with where the Web is heading. “Test-and-learn and your brand can help shape the landscape of the near future, rather than waiting on the sidelines for someone else to figure it out.

“Too many times brands wait for others to test the waters to find out where the ROI is. However, when it comes to aligning with a different set of values lived by emerging generations, we are beginning to see ROI is something that contributes to the whole experience of participating with a brand as opposed to the decisions around a single purchase.” 

This article was originally published in CMO magazine Issue 2, 2020. To subscribe to your copy, please click here.

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