Is Web 3.0 poised to take over the internet? If so, where on earth have Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 disappeared to? Should we send out a search party?
If you’re confused about the latest and third generation of the internet, you’re not alone. And if you find yourself feeling dizzy and disorientated by talk of computational knowledge engines and other such tech-speak, you’re in the right place.
This article is not ‘Web 3.0 for Dummies. It is Web 3.0 for people who need straight-talking, reader-friendly information on the aspects of the latest online incarnation that matter. No jargon, just the good stuff.
We’ll be exploring the evolution from Web 1.0 to 3.0 and explaining why it’s important and relevant right now. We’ll look at how Web 3.0 will transform search, personalization, and data security. How it is linked with crypto, bitcoin, and blockchain and what it means for the future of digital marketing. Let’s get started.
A short history of Web 1.0
Remember the days before ‘content is king’? Feels like a different world, right? Web 1.0 is best characterized as a ‘read only’ version of the web. Static pages that were connected by hyperlinks, with no ads and zero scope for interactivity. The majority of Web 1.0 sites were hosted on servers that were managed by an ISP or on free hosting. This was a world with no interaction between users when user-generated content (UGC) and digital conversations were just a glint in the eye of Silicon Valley’s future CEOs.
A short history of Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is the point where the internet gets its glad rags on and becomes more social. When content is king became one of the most overused phrases in marketing. Web 2.0 saw an explosion of UGC supported by a raft of online tools and platforms, where people could deliver content and interact freely. Where they could share their ideas, comments, opinions, and cat videos.
Web 2.0 facilitated free access to a dizzying amount of information which transformed user behaviors, for the better and worse. Blogs and podcasts sprang up everywhere, and social networks of varying quality and staying power were launched on a regular basis.
YouTube, Google Maps, WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter all started life during Web 2.0’s reign. These companies along with a whole lot of other innovators paved the way for an interactive internet where pleasure and threat came in equal measure.
What is Web 3.0?
Web 3.0 isn’t quite with us yet but big tech companies and brands are already preparing themselves for its arrival. This means you should too.
Web 3.0 or Web3 is the liberal upstart that wants to decentralize protocols and eliminate large intermediaries and governing bodies. By taking the power back from web giants, Web 3.0 seeks to democratize the internet and create a better, more secure experience for all users.
Built on the blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, Web 3.0 is all about offering a personalized user experience where the individual is in control. That means a much stronger emphasis on owning and controlling your own data and the way you interact with brands online. Web 3.0 seeks to humanize the online experience, by promoting a peer-to-peer network. Harnessing the power of AI and machine learning technologies to connect people more effectively and deliver more accurate results.
The four key features of web 3.0 are:
Semantic web. An extension of the world wide web that is designed to make internet data readable by machines.
Artificial intelligence. Where computers and machines mimic the decision-making and problem-solving abilities of us humans.
3D graphics. Those mind-boggling three-dimensional representations of pretty much anything you can summon up in your imagination.
Connectivity and ubiquity. For example, the Internet of Things and the possibility of having a connected digital assistant in every home.
Why is Web 3.0 relevant right now?
Web 3.0 will become more relevant in the marketing world as 2022 develops. It aims to solve a number of challenges and issues that consumers have with the world wide web. Including:
A lack of trust in 'big tech'
Increasing demand for robust and transparent data protection and privacy protocols.
The need for truly personalized content feeds and more accurate search results.
The need for democratization and centralization of information and the elimination of a central point of control.
The ability to access and adopt blockchain platforms independently, rather than relying on the nonprofits who are currently in control of blockchain permissions as well as managing design and development.
What does Web 3.0 mean for the future of digital marketing?
The combined powers of AI and semantic web architecture will change how we use the internet. Naturally, this will affect digital marketers and the way we attract new customers and engage with our audience.
Here are some of our predictions on what Web 3.0 will mean for the world of digital marketing.
Web 3.0 is expected to transform the website user experience. It will adapt to every user delivering a contextualized, personalized browsing experience where the content adapts automatically to your location, the kind of device you are using and even your accessibility requirements.
Web 3.0 means super-personalized content feeds mapped to the exact preferences and history of an individual. So, when you search ‘best things to see in Paris’ your results won’t be yet another ‘Top Ten’ standardized article. You’ll get recommendations based on what you did when you went to London, the kinds of restaurants you enjoy in your home city, the budget you are usually happy with, whether you prefer exploring on foot or are happy to travel, and so on. All without adding specific search terms.
Web 3.0 will raise the bar when it comes to brands delivering quality content. Though now that every web user is their own buyer persona more quantity will be needed, too. A raft of blogs and resources will be required to cater to the different combinations of keyword targeting, personas, and topics. Your carefully crafted but relatively generalist how-to will no longer bring all the leads to the yard.
Increased data privacy for the consumer
Data protection and privacy have rightly been a concern of both digital marketing producers and consumers for a long time now. Web 3.0 aims to enable users to maintain complete control over their data. This will have a huge impact on search results, in fact, experts reckon they will be unrecognizable from what we see today. This brings us neatly on to the next point…
Search behaviors and results will change.
Machine learning and AI facilitates speaking in your natural language with search engines. This, coupled with the increased global connectivity and decentralization offered by Web3.0 means the way people search online will change. This, of course, means that the way that businesses respond to queries will have to change.
Rather than being shown a tantalizing snippet, header, and whatnot, searchers will see the whole content displayed, including payment buttons. It goes without saying that this offers some exciting opportunities for e-commerce retailers, as well as content marketers. But there will be challenges too. Now’s the time to brush up on your SEO, keyword research, semantic search, and markup.
3D graphics and VR will transform e-commerce
Selling products online will be transformed by Web 3.0. Marketers can entice customers to their ranges, displaying them in context, and much more. 3D product models and Ikea-style showrooms will dominate e-commerce, boosting conversion rates without making too much of a dent in your budget.
Blockchain, which powers Web 3.0, creates a completely open ecosystem and offers some very exciting opportunities for digital marketers. As a decentralized system promoting greater connectivity, blockchain aims to remove barriers between internet users. This means brands will be able to connect directly with their customers and leads and share a variety of personal information in a secure environment. The two parties can also process payments in bitcoin without the need for an intermediary.
Sounds good? There’s more. Blockchain technology has very robust security protocols, including the ability to anonymize data, which will protect brands and their customers from cyberattacks and hacking.
Naturally, this level of trust doesn’t come for free. Brands and their marketers will have to work super hard to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and to building trusted long-term relationships with their customers. Adopting blockchain sign-in processes, for example, will offer the same seamless experience as the social media sign-ins today without the need to sacrifice our valuable data.
Developing your own ecosystem
Looks like there are some pretty exciting times ahead, right? If it all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. While the full power of Web 3.0 is a little way off, we are already enjoying some of its features and benefits. Think about the last search you performed on Google. We’re willing to bet our last bitcoin it was using natural language, and that you received some fairly personalized results based on your past behaviors and known interests.
To make sure you and your brand get all the good stuff from Web 3.0 it is vital you adopt the right approach now. This means getting control of your data and assets, personalizing your content, refining your SEO and keyword strategies, auditing and improving your data protection and privacy protocols, and generally getting all your marketing ducks in a row.
As we move towards a united online ecosystem where collaboration and connectivity, as well as content, are king, why not create your own ecosystem in-house? With Bynder’s Digital Asset Management platform you can do just that (yes, maybe that is a bit of shameless self-promotion - but over 2,000 brands already trust us!).