What Digital Marketing Needs To Know About Metaverse, Web 3.0 And NFTs
We all were surprised when the heard the idea that we could wear digital clothes on virtual dates and in virtual meetings. From my point of view, this is how I imagine a real digital closet, with clothes you can wear virtually no matter where you are. You had to buy an NFT in order to get this ability. What about the other things you heard about Metaverse, NFTs and Web 3.0, did they excite you as well?
I was very eager to buy a cool NFT because I wanted to wear a digital pink feather boa to my next online class. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time and money on it, I still can’t wear my digital fashion to a Zoom meeting. This isn’t even a possibility. So, what’s going on?
NFTs aren’t ready yet.
Let this story teach you a lesson. If you don’t have the right plan, you’ll annoy your audience, and you might never be able to win them back. There have been a lot of news stories about the failure of NFT drops, and Porsche is the latest company to fall victim. (Yes, Porsche!) This is only the beginning of NFT’s problems.
A recent court decision seems to indicate that NFTs are securities and should be treated as such, with the SEC keeping an eye on them. The same court ruling now holds the brand responsible for breaking the law when they tried to make buying the NFT easier and give users a better experience.
Even though NFTs are risky for marketers, the metaverse can still help brands connect with their audiences, share digital goods, and build a sense of community. And if you remember only one thing from this article, I want you to remember that NFTs, the metaverse, and Web 3.0 are not the same.
Metaverse, Web 3.0, and NFTs are all different.
How do they go together if they aren’t the same thing? Why do the media, government agencies, and experts in the field keep putting them together?
People often mix up these terms because they don’t know their history and think that all digital goods ownership starts and ends with an NFT. This is not true. You can own a digital object or piece of digital land in the metaverse without ever touching an NFT or the blockchain. Let me try to explain these terms in simple terms from a marketing point of view.
If you are as old as I am, you remember the promise of Web 2.0 and how exciting it was to turn people who just used the internet into people who made things with it. Anyone could make web content with tools like WordPress, YouTube Studio, and others. Social platforms brought people together in ways that had never been possible before and gave them a way to share product reviews and suggestions.
Smart marketers were not only excited about these new technologies, but they were also quick to adopt them and start figuring out what they could do. I feel the same way about Web 3.0.
What Web 3.0 has to offer
When people talk about Web 3.0 (or Web3), they often mean technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But I choose to use a more general definition of Web 3.0. The future of the internet is spatial, and I think Web 3.0 refers to this new 3D version of the internet.
Immersive spaces don’t depend on the blockchain or cryptocurrency, and saying that they do is misleading. I also think Web 3.0 is moving people away from making 2D things like images and videos and towards 3D things.
It is still not clear if this 3D content lives on a decentralised network. To sum up, Web 3.0 is a broad term that means the future of the web will be spatial. This could include or not include new technologies like NFTs, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies.
Or is it a virtual world?
People often use the term “metaverse” to talk about virtual places where people spend time. Here, Web 3.0 will live up to its promise and give these interoperable and immersive spaces the infrastructure and framework they need to work. I think the metaverse is real, but it’s also a dream of what we could do in the future. We all play a part in making it what it is. In my Manifesto for the Makers of the Metaverse, you can read about how I think we can get there.
Today, we have a network of private clubs or walled gardens called “virtual worlds.” They speak different languages, have different rules, and use different currencies. This makes it hard to move from one community to another.
This is also hard for brands that want to build a community in one of these immersive spaces. You carefully choose where to spend money on media to reach your target audience (e.g., CIO.com, Wall Street Journal, CNN, USA Today, etc.), and you need to do the same thing in these virtual worlds to find your target audience.
With the help of this report, you can find the right platform. It shows the size, demographics, and technology behind the most popular virtual worlds, like Roblox, Second Life, Decentraland, The Sandbox, and hundreds of others.
This is not a new thing.
So, now that we know what Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are, how do NFTs fit into this group of new technologies?
Merriam-Webster defines a non-fungible token (or NFT) as “a unique digital identifier that can’t be copied, substituted, or split up, is recorded in a blockchain, and is used to prove ownership and authenticity.” If we take out the part about blockchain, Second Life has been offering NFTs for more than 10 years.
Back in 2006, when people were selling their virtual goods on Second Life, the company had to figure out how to handle digital ownership. At first, there was no way to stop users from copying virtual items like clothes, skins, furniture, and buildings on the Second Life platform. The people who made this content couldn’t “own” it. The developers quickly made a permissions system that let the person who made the content decide if the item could be copied or given to another user.
If the person who made it wanted to make something unique, they could. But it was more common to sell different versions of the same thing that couldn’t be swapped. This was more like buying clothes off the rack. I could only wear that thing if I bought it from the person who made it. This system made it possible for many Second Life designers to make a lot of money in real life. During this time, Anshe Chung became the first millionaire in the virtual world.
Does it solve an actual problem?
One of the things I dislike most about NFTs is that I don’t see what problem they solve. You don’t need NFTs to make digital ownership. Their value comes from allowing true ownership of a digital good through a decentralised platform instead of relying on infrastructure provided by a big tech company. This may be true, but right now, the very thing that makes them useful is what makes them risky and hard for consumers to use.
Since 2006, I’ve had a virtual closet in Second Life and still “own” everything in it. Even today, I can wear them on the platform. Given how the metaverse and immersive worlds have changed over the last 20 years, this is an amazing claim. I think NFTs, as we know them now, will go away, and this technology will change into something really useful, but it will take a long time.
What’s next for the metaverse, Web 3.0, and NFTs?
The metaverse, Web 3.0, and NFTs promise a world where I can wear everything in my digital closet anywhere. The promise includes immersive spaces for work, play, and even navigating the real world with AR glasses and a persistent, interoperable digital layer that interacts with both the real and virtual worlds. This plan will come to fruition. We’re just not quite there yet.
The #metaverse is the new mall.
— Bain & Company (@BainAlerts) March 2, 2023