The Web3 market is expected to grow by almost 45% and bring in another billion users by the decade’s end. The potential looks promising, but is Web3 ready to meet them? Is the space even willing to open for the new wave of adoption?
Web3 marketing and communication experts discuss how the decentralized space could be more welcoming for non-technical users.
Web3 Space Changed, But Still Has Issues
We were all about hype-focused tactics, giveaways, and whitelists during the most recent bull market, but the decentralized space has matured since then. Web3 is more about long-term goals than two or three years ago, Christian Reza, a marketing director at Web3 company Noves, tells DailyCoin.
Startups in Web3 are transitioning from Web2, which was more focused on revenue than users and had different KPIs. But funds from VCs are changing the space, as investors often require to evaluate marketing aspects. Despite that, navigation to very technical Web3 is a challenge even for marketing professionals, notes Shilika Jain, a communication expert and former business developer at CoinMarketCap.
Projects and startups keep fighting each other for the same limited audience, claims Daniel Barry, the founder and CEO of Web3 Marketing Network.
The marketing experts agree that community-focused, decentralized space can open new opportunities for digital marketing, as its rules are still being written. On the other hand, there are serious obstacles to overcome, including complicated and very technical user experiences (UX) and the lack of industry motivation to expand outside the Web3-native community.
“Web3 businesses don’t venture out to Web2 audiences. They’re confined to this small group of individuals who are already technical, aware, and interested. What happens? You’re just buying and selling to each other inside this little bubble instead of reaching a wider audience.
When you reach people that aren’t Web3-native, that’s where you can gain market share and grow. But there’s a lot of hesitation from the Web3-natives, the degens who say, “I don’t want to venture out. I just want to build the space.” And it’s a problem,” explains Christian Reza.
According to marketing experts, this is not the only problem of Web3. Professionals name some more issues holding back the adoption of general and non-technical audiences.
Innovation Is Not Brand Identity
Some Web3 startups position themselves as unique simply because of the innovative technology that they have adopted. Many offer similar services, rely on similar technical parameters, and lack brand distinctiveness.
Reza says this can be explained due to the young age of the whole Web3 industry. Most startups are two or three years old and struggle to define their target audience, which is a fundamental factor for further differentiation and brand positioning.
“If you wanted to just use Bitcoin instead of XRP, you pretty much could. They’re very similar, if not the same. They’re so similar in their utility and in the way that you use it. But XRP has positioned itself as “for businesses only” because they feel like they can get a foothold in that market,” says Reza.
According to experts, positioning is a crucial aspect of marketing, which helps to create a unique perception of the brand in the minds of its users. It sets them apart from competitors and nails distinctive value propositions that resonate with the customers.
Web3 founders rely on their product and believe that if it is good, the users will come automatically, adds Jain. But they don’t understand that to entice potential customers; they need to propose value or explain why their product is necessary.
“If they fix certain things, like work more on the brand building initiatives, growth initiatives or on just saying the story outright, the kind of user that they can tap into could be wide and huge,” says Shilika Jain.
Adopt User-Friendly Approach
Web3 involves complex technological concepts that are difficult for general and non-technical users to understand. Many of them are still in the early stages of development and not yet widely adopted.
The narratives of Web3 are consequently technical and become the critical obstacle to expanding outside the industry.
Furthermore, Web3 brands don’t make the Web3 space easy, making this their biggest mistake, says Daniel Barry. The expert points to an example of Reddit, which generated millions selling NFTs without mentioning any Web3 industry buzzwords.
“Reddit never even called them NFTs, right? They had vaults instead of wallets and digital collectibles instead of NFTs. And in a relatively short period of time, they have more people open up their vaults than OpenSea had like opening up wallets,” states Barry.
To attract the masses, Web3 startups must make their communications uncomplicated and significantly more friendly to newcomers and Web2 brands who are already exploring the space.
Reserve technical language for talking to Web3 developers who understand it well. When communicating with others, the professionals suggest you speak to them like they were sixteen.
Be Simple and Open, Engage with the Users
End users only choose products if they understand them. They don’t need fancy words or product descriptions to make a decision, says Shilika Jain. This is why Web3 brands must be straightforward in their communication.
“If it’s a complicated product, which involves a bunch of jargon, companies should do video tutorials or a product dictionary. A lot of projects are doubling down on content, but they are not trying to break down very simple topics,” shares Jain.
According to her, Web3 startups should simplify industry terminology to a base level to sound less confusing and make their communication more understandable to a broader audience.
Jain strongly advises sharing stories on the company’s blog or social media channels, which helps to form trust and loyalty, essential for long-term relationships with customers.
“It needs to have a human touch, like why did you build this product? Is there an issue that you faced? Or is there a backstory?
That is something many people are not bringing out efficiently. They are not sharing the stories. And just because they’re not sharing the stories, the users don’t feel connected to the product,” says Jain.
She further suggests brands engage with their users through Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, an interactive way of dialogue that creates a connection and increases the sense of openness and transparency.
The expert says to avoid banning users from social media or closing such channels. People expect projects’ teams to deliver updates on these channels. Banning them may be seen as unwilling to engage with the audience, damaging the brand’s reputation.
Keep Initiatives a Cherry on Top
Web3 businesses have the unique ability to engage directly with their user communities. This is their strongest advantage in building long-term relations and a loyal user base if used wisely.
But with the crypto ecosystem being of limited size, users are hopping from one chain to another and chasing short-term incentives. Their brand loyalty does not last long.
To change this, brands should focus on long-term value instead of rewards and giveaways, says Christian Reza. This could be high-level daily tips shared by the greatest minds in the world and adjusted to a specific brand’s audience.
“If you do that as a brand, no matter what kind of brand you are, if you can create a consistent flow of valuable content, you will never lose your following. Never,” says Reza. “Because as a user I’m not loyal to the giveaway, to the coin or the whitepaper, I’m not loyal to all of these extra rewards. I’m loyal to the value. The giveaways, the airdrops, all those other things are the cherry on top, they’re additive.”
Balance Hype and Expectations
Web3 startups often face the challenge of balancing the need to generate hype around themselves and manage users’ expectations.
As many of them run in a competitive and rapidly evolving environment, hype often becomes a way to stand out and generate the attention of investors and users. But marketing experts say this is a risky strategy as hype quickly dies if projects do not regularly issue major announcements.
“Brands should focus more on educating their users about the benefits of their product and how it can be helpful to them,” says Jain.
Focus on long-term initiatives, keep users updated, be transparent with them about where your product is heading or why you struggle with timelines.
Once you do that, users will not be looking for hype because they will automatically have confidence in the product that you are building and also in your team. Don’t give users false expectations that cannot be met, urges the communication expert.
“We, Web3, have created a monster because now people expect a roadmap. This is totally, frankly, new,” agrees Reza.
For those who do not run a business, it can be hard to imagine how difficult it can be to deliver on roadmap timelines, expert says. However, delays do not exempt you from the responsibility to openly communicate about processes like how you produce products or run services.
“You can be transparent in different ways. If we make that shift from “Here’s our roadmap work, for sure we’re going to deliver at this date and time” to “This is just how we do things very transparently,” it’s a much better way to be transparent, and to earn trust,” believes Reza.
Expand Social Media Presence, Localize Content
Unlike Web2, Web3 typically establishes a solid community base before developing the final product. In this “community-first” strategy, social media plays an incredibly crucial role.
However, Web3 marketers advise product builders to expand their presence outside the typical Web3 social media combo: Telegram, Twitter, and Discord.
Brands should publish the same or similar content on mainstream and newly emerging social media platforms like Mastodon or Lens to diversify and reach broader audiences.
“The other interesting thing that projects can do, which they are not doing now, is double down on the localization efforts,” says Jain.
According to her, Web3 projects should spend part of their budget on regional platforms to build content and engage with new audiences.
Why You Should Care
With AI and other technologies rapidly evolving, Web3 has an enormous potential to grow and become a new normal for the masses. But marketing certainly comes with unique challenges that require staying adaptable, innovative, and aware of the mistakes that halt differentiating the brand, building trust and loyalty with the audiences, or increasing product adoption.
Read more about Web3 user experience issues:
Web 3.0 Does Have UI/UX Problems
Find out what crypto investigators do every day:
Following Dirty Crypto: What It’s Like from an Investigator’s Perspective