The state of web3 marketing

July 21, 2022

by Blake Minho Kim
Co-Founder + Head of Product & Community

web3 is here to stay.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you’ve probably heard the term web3.

While many writers have attempted to define web3, the simplest version is that we’re entering a new internet era.

In this new era, through blockchain tech, users and builders can directly own, leverage, and monetize their data and digital assets, allowing the masses to break free of the centralized Web 2 behemoths (e.g. Facebook, aka Meta) that dominate our digital lives today. If that didn’t make sense to you, or you don’t really know what web3 is, I actually wrote a piece back in February, which you can read here!

Anyways, when you look at the numbers, there’s no question that web3 is more than hype, as industry growth in the past year has been explosive on all fronts:

  • VC funding for crypto and web3 companies has exploded from $3.7B in 2019 to $28B in 2021, and is on track to keep growing YOY to continue funding new innovations. And new funds are being launched on the daily to continue investing in web3, even in our current bear market.
  • NFTs have exploded into the mainstream, with hundreds of millions in trading volume, and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) already has enough money locked in to become one of the top 40 largest banks in the US.
  • Many of the largest traditional companies across all industries, from Nike to the NFL, Walmart, Visa & Mastercard, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Hulu, Microsoft, and more, are creating strategies and actively hiring to adapt to a web3 future.

And as we begin to slowly transition as a society towards a web3-first internet, builders and companies alike need to understand that marketing itself is also going through a massive transformation that will completely flip the existing Web 2 growth model on its head.

Less Pushing, More Pulling.

Over the past decade of living in a Web 2 world, we’ve seen the rise of large tech platforms such as Facebook and Google go hand in hand with an exponential growth in paid digital marketing.

This makes sense, as the largest platforms have reached scale by making their social media and search products effectively free to users, creating network effects to lock in users, and monetizing said users by leveraging their data to serve highly targeted ads. In other words, many of the most valuable tech platforms today are valuable because they are also the world’s biggest centralized middlemen.

Today, literally anyone can launch an online business from anywhere in the world, pushing paid social ads to find, acquire, and retain potential customers through Big Tech ad platforms.

This is the standard Web 2 growth playbook that many of us know, albeit massively oversimplified. But nonetheless, the rise of web3 threatens to completely upend that playbook.

While it’s still quite early and many web3 projects still operate on Web 2 rails (Twitter, Discord, etc.), the decentralized ethos of web3, where users own their data by default, makes targeting and acquiring users through centralized platforms increasingly difficult.

And beyond that, many web3 users are adverse to being targeted in the first place, and what we’ve seen as marketers and growth experts in the space is that most, if not all of the strongest web3-native projects leverage an evolved version of the original Web 2 growth playbook, focusing on a holy triumvirate of Community, Content, and Partnerships, to create a Growth flywheel that one can then spin faster with the help of Paid Marketing, at scale.

In other words, we are witnessing the rise of a new customer acquisition playbook: a grassroots and community-led model defined by shared ownership through NFTs and tokens, and powered by network effects and Word of Mouth.

You can’t simply push your ads into the ether (pun intended) and hope that they’ll find users, but rather you need to focus on building a strong community, content, and partnerships pipeline that create a strong gravitational pull, and use paid marketing to amplify your gravity.

It’s still so early.

It all sounds rather exciting to live in a world where paid marketing no longer is critical, ads are no longer necessary, and any project can get off the ground by building a community and using WOM to grow rapidly. However, if you zoom out from the hype and take an honest assessment of web3, it’s clear that it’s still so early.

By today’s statistics, only 1–3% of the world has had any interaction with cryptocurrencies, let alone web3 technologies. That leaves 97–99% of the world that has yet to be truly introduced into the wonderful world of web3.

As such, it’s clear that the evolution of Web 2 marketing will be a very slow and gradual transition, and that web3 marketing is still an incredibly nascent space that will require a lot of BUIDLing and evolving to reach more mainstream audiences. That being said, we’re still quite excited to keep helping web3 companies grow and scale, all while totally rewriting the new customer acquisition playbook.

Opportunities are abundant.

Today, the state of web3 marketing is such that tooling is essentially nonexistent. Customer acquisition playbooks are actively being written, but are scattered across the internet, with few shared learnings and insights across projects and protocols.

If we want web3 to become mainstream, we’ll need more tooling, shared insights, education, and easy ways to onboard new users. Today marketing and community management are all based on Discord, Telegram, and Twitter, but surely we can do better.

How are we going to onboard the next billion users if people can’t even figure out how to use Metamask?

As a growth marketing DAO and product studio building in web3 and delivering work on behalf of web3 clients, we at Myosin.xyz see a blue ocean of opportunities to build new tools and products that will help bridge the gap between web3 and Web 2. Below are just a few of the ideas we’ve been exploring at Myosin:

  1. Community management and marketing platforms: Today, there are no products that allow marketers and community managers for web3 projects to easily pull core insights into the health of their community, and then take action to create greater engagement within their community, and partnerships with other relevant communities. We’re building something internally to tackle this for ourselves, and our clients.
  2. The rise of web3-native social: We’ve long heard promises of web3 to decentralize social media, and are only now beginning to see this come to life through companies like Lens Protocol and Peer, which are creating the social graph infrastructure to enable a web3 social media world. If and when these projects begin growing, surely there are opportunities to leverage and build on these new protocols and structures to create more organic and natural ways of marketing and growing projects?
  3. Trustless and transparent advertising: We also see opportunities to leverage web3 tech to massively improve legacy Web 2 advertising infrastructure — ad fraud is a massive problem in digital marketing, largely due to data silos and low transparency between the different players in the digital advertising ecosystem. If we could build a decentralized 3rd-Party Ad Server (3PAS), we could create a trustless database for advertising data that makes detecting and preventing ad fraud significantly easier.
  4. Content is king: In a web3-native marketing future, we also believe owned content will become increasingly more important, as highly quality content draws more eyeballs and gives value to users, pulling them in instead of pushing out ads to new users. How might we leverage tokens and NFTs to create dynamic and ever-evolving content hubs that provide evergreen value for potential customers and keep them coming back for more?

Let’s build the future together.

The very nature of growth and marketing is constantly evolving as we move towards a web3-native world. But as we said before, change takes time.

And today, we’re certainly in what some are now calling Web 2.5 — an intermediate transition phase in which we can see the future from the edge of the past.

In order to get to that exciting web3 future, however, we’re going to need more sophisticated tactics, tools, and playbooks to grow different types of communities. Are you up for the challenge?

If so, come check us out at Myosin.xyz. We’re a highly selective (eg. 3% admittance rate) guild of veteran marketers, designers, devs, community managers, content creators, and overall hustlers, all on a mission to help redpill the next billion web3 users.

As a service DAO, we help web3 projects and companies operationalize and scale their growth and marketing, all the way from high level brand and growth strategy, to the boots on the ground content creation and community management. We’re also building the web3 marketing products that we wish we had, and are excited to keep growing the ecosystem and keep sharing our learnings with the ecosystem along the way.

Thanks in advance if you read this far, and feel free to check us out and learn more about us HERE!

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