It has been said that nothing forever remains the same, that in any natural cycle of evolution of anything- in time all things change. And in the fast-paced world of digital technology, with constant software upgrades and the consistent arrival of seemingly endless newly released gadgetry, the mantra can be said to be absolute. Consumers are known to be driven to action by claims of updated, renewed, revised, and improved product announcements. No sooner than a product or service emerges from a brand’s research and development enclaves, dedicated and loyal customers line up around the block to be the first to acquire the latest and greatest version. But not all technological advances receive overhauls quickly.
Since the arrival of the Internet in the early 1990s, it has experienced ongoing tweaking and relatively minor revisions with the exception of Web 2.0 in early 2000. This second version of the Net focused on the inclusion of user-generated content and the ability of the Internet to become a revolutionary digital venue for bringing users together in conversations through social media platforms. The change has had the greatest impact in history on how world societies communicate and interact socially. Now, Web 3.0 is upon us and it promises to free the Internet from big corporate influence and control.
This new Internet version will be driven by the newest technologies known as Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and funny-sounding Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). While all these ground-breaking virtual advances may be confusing to novel Internet users, they represent a significant change to how the world-wide-web operates. The changes promise to decentralize the Internet and wrestle away some control from the largest Internet influencers like Google, Meta, and Amazon.
In 3.0, Internet users will have greater control over personal data in a truly decentralized web that will offer a more secure, transparent, and personalized space. Both Marketers and consumers will be able to improve engagement and foster trust through innovative approaches like digital wallets and tokenization. Consumers can access brand loyalty rewards and assets by integrating them into digital wallets for a more personalized experience, enhanced flexibility, and convenience. Brands will be encouraged to design more creative loyalty programs that allow customers to gain an increased sense of ownership and exclusivity. “Every 10 to 15 years we have a shift on how technology is used,” said Allan Cook, at Deloitte. “We are going through another one now and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface.”
Facing falling user trust and possible governmental anti-trust action, the major Internet influencers are said to be favoring easing control over the Web with the introduction of 3.0 and new cutting-edge technologies. But not everyone accepts the purported decentralization claims. Kevin Werbach, author of “The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust,” has said that “many so-called ‘Web3’ solutions are not as decentralized as they seem, while others have yet to show they are scalable, secure and accessible enough for the mass market.”
For marketers, the metaverse, where Web 3.0 is expected to reside and have its greatest impact, represents an opportunity to engage consumers in entirely new ways while pushing internal capabilities and brand innovation in new directions. However, a healthy amount of skepticism about the metaverse and 3.0 is slowing the implications and transition. Still, the prognostications for Web 3.0 are mostly optimistic for an improved and enhanced medium that would be a game changer for marketers and Internet users alike.