3 Steps Toward a Powerful Web3 Marketing Strategy | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

3 Steps Toward a Powerful Web3 Marketing Strategy

By Carolina Abenante

The arrival of Web3 promises to radically change how marketers reach, identify, and build relationships with consumers. While most marketers anticipate that the metaverse, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and related technologies will become key parts of marketing, understanding where to begin to craft a Web3 marketing strategy at this early stage can overwhelm even the most advanced technologists.

Marketers can lay the foundation for a Web3 strategy by looking to gaming to learn about innovation, exploring new currencies, and rethinking user identity. Here's what each of those steps entails.

Look to gaming for innovation

Gaming is often on the forefront of emerging technologies, as the space caters to early adopters keen on exploring the entertaining and social potential of innovation. This is already the case for Web3, where gaming publishers are bringing the many applications of the metaverse to living rooms.

One dimension of Web3 innovation in gaming is the adoption of XR. Years ago, Pokémon Go showed how AR could meld the physical and virtual worlds, leading to commercial applications like advertisers guiding users to brick-and-mortar locations where they could find new Pokémon and also discover businesses.

VR is taking Web3 marketing to new heights, allowing brands to set up virtual storefronts where gamers can hang out, engage with brands, and transact. Businesses and individuals can even buy real estate in the metaverse, potentially allowing brands to command valuable out-of-home inventory in popular next-generation games.

The gaming applications of Web3 go far beyond buying some extra products in virtual space. In the physical world, marketers often puzzle over how to engage shoppers and keep them in-store longer. Imagine taking 20 minutes of shopper time in a physical store and extending it to five hours in the metaverse. This is not just about transactions; it is about fostering brand-customer relationships unprecedented in scope and scale.

Explore new currencies

Consumers are eager for virtual transactions. In fact, nearly 75 percent of gen Z shoppers have already purchased a digital item within a video game, and 60 percent say brands should sell their products on metaverse platforms. Innovators will go one step further, offering the infrastructure, or currency, that makes these transactions possible.

Consider a gaming publisher with a highly engaged user base invested in the story a game promises and willing to buy a digital item to advance within the story. The publisher can offer its own currency to enable those transactions and set up a rewards system.

Marketers can then use the same currency — which gamers are already plugged into and used to using — to allow for transactions in virtual storefronts or to encourage gamers to leave one virtual domain and enter another where their preferred currency is also valid. In short, virtual currencies will become a key part of fostering loyalty and driving user acquisition.

There is also a social dimension to virtual currencies. Users can trade items or exchange items for the virtual currency in apps. They can also port currencies into digital wallets that can be taken to other properties. The upshot is a virtual economy with revenue sharing opportunities among commercial properties, loyalty applications, and the opportunity for marketers to foster communities among users and customers. For marketers, novel opportunities this large to drive engagement, foster connections, and acquire users have not arisen since the advent of modern social networks.

Rethink user identity

The marketing community has been debating the demise of third-party cookies and the related imperative to rethink user identity. Web3 will lead to a more radical change in how marketers think about identity than the death of cookies, putting the user or customer in control of their data, fostering a more inherently privacy-safe environment, and compelling marketers to offer customers more value in exchange for information.

The rise of blockchain-based virtual worlds will allow users to control their own data as in a digital wallet. Brands and publishers will be able to identify users — but only with non-personally identifiable information, and users will be able to exercise more granular control over their information and cut off the data stream at will.

Marketers will need to create tokens of connection, like currencies, that incentivize consumers to create direct relationships with them, and they will need to reward customers for their data, either through financial kickbacks or richer experiences that make data sharing worth it.

The Web3 environment is not going to look like the linear world of advertising and webpages to which marketers and consumers are accustomed. As Web3 develops, marketers and consumers will share richer experiences with broader relationships up for grabs but also higher standards for customer data and attention.

Brands that start planning today by looking to gaming for innovation, exploring currencies, and rethinking user identity will have a leg up on the competition tomorrow.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA. 

Carolina Abenante is the co-founder of NYIAX.