The crucial difference between Web2 and Web3 Marketingby@dariavolkova
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1,548 reads

The crucial difference between Web2 and Web3 Marketing

by Daria VolkovaNovember 28th, 2022
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We all are fortunate to observe the transition from Web2 to Web3 and a change in the paradigm of interaction on the Internet. Company founders, brand managers, marketers and everyone who creates product value now have new approaches to interacting with audiences and building new connections.  With this article, I'm comparing Web2 and Web3 marketing — what is changing and how to work with it.  I'm talking about: • Ideology & Storytelling in Web3 • PR & Creative • Social media usage • Community building and engagement • Partnerships • Data collection and ownership I’ve outlined the main differences between Web2 and Web3 project marketing that you need to know about if you’re planning to dive into this field. I am sure that the era of Web3 will bring even more new opportunities and help marketers and brand managers to focus on emphasizing the value of technologically robust products.
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We all are fortunate to observe the transition from Web2 to Web3 and a change in the paradigm of interaction on the Internet. Company founders, brand managers, marketers and everyone who creates product value now have new approaches to interacting with audiences and building new connections.

My name is Daria Volkova. I’m the Head of Brand Marketing and Product Marketing Manager and have worked with classic brands and blockchain products. With this article, I want to compare Web2 and Web3 marketing — what is changing and how to work with it.

So, follow me, and I hope this long read will help you to implement new knowledge in practice.

Web2 Marketing = Performance Marketing+Sales

In the promotion of Web2 products, the tools of performance marketing are most often used. Performance marketing makes all advertising channels work together, maximizing effectiveness. This approach’s main principles and goals are the return on marketing investments and the increase in sales.

Features of performance marketing:

  • measurability of the effectiveness of the channels used;
  • assessment of business indicators (CPA, ROI, CAC, LTV);
  • the ability to influence the performance in real-time;
  • synchronization of SEO, SMM, email marketing, and media advertising to achieve results.

Performance campaign is measured and tracked using referral links, coupon codes, and individual phone numbers. This method requires extensive setup and careful testing.

So, Web2 marketing is focused on paid advertising performance indicators and branding, but PR and ideological components were rarely included in the marketing and sales flow. In most cases, all these directions went in parallel, which is incorrect because it is much more logical to build a system on an ideological basis, combining brand, marketing and sales goals in the strategy.

More advanced Web2 marketing came to be called Growth Marketing when technology was used to achieve results. For example, Account-Based Marketing, or Big Data tools, help to make a personalized advertising experience for a specific person.

Technologies at the core of Web3 marketing

Decentralized technologies, such as blockchain, AI and IoT set Web3 marketing apart from Web2. Blockchain gives the power to tokenize assets, put information on a chain, create a digital identity, and do many projects. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things enable brands to be closer to their potential consumers while not directly selling something but adapting to people's lifestyles.

The development of the IoT enables more and more devices to connect to the Internet, which means that the need for a decentralized data processing platform is increasing. Web3 marketing is well-positioned to utilize this trend because it can leverage these technologies.

In addition to cutting-edge technologies, Web3 marketing is characterized by great attention to growth marketing, PR and community development.

I highlighted several main differences between the marketing of Web2 and Web3 projects. To begin with, let’s consider the ideological framework, namely the companies’ mission, values and principles.

Ideology & Storytelling in Web3

In the era of Web2, companies often push ideology and storytelling to the background because the conversion indicators of digital advertising came to the fore. Many products were launched to make a quick buck, not to create additional value and emotional customer experience.

This approach has never been close to me because I believe meaning and actual value will bring more to the company than direct advertising.

Genuinely successful projects are always based on ideology, values and an understanding of their otherness. To be an outstanding project, you must create and develop a unique brand based on a system of values and personalized unique experiences. It should be revealed in the logo, font style, visual design, external communication strategy, and all words and actions of the company.

One of my favorite brands is Ethereum. Their ideological and visual components are so thought out and successfully combined that it gives me a braingasm. Ethereum is like a guide to the decentralized future that everyone can build on the Ethereum blockchain.

The screenshot from the website

I strongly advise you to study all the components of the Ethereum brand style guide because this is an excellent example.

The screenshot from the website

Decentralization and digital economies are the essences of Web3 because they allow us to place value on the content created on the net. The Web3 space is inherently open-source, and anything that contrasts that ethos may be treated as a red flag. Web3 is changing the way of interaction between individuals and companies, pushing values and principles to the front line.

The values should be such that you can build a solid foundation on their basis and attract future team members. Also, values will help you in the stage of creating your brand story, so don’t skip this critical part.

Storytelling is essential to humankind — it is how we share experiences, knowledge, and wisdom. It is also crucial for branding and reputation because it is how audiences are captivated.

Web3 platforms like Readl allow storytellers, publishers, production houses, and NFT projects to publish, manage and distribute multimedia literary content on the blockchain without requiring specific technical knowledge. The number of such interactive platforms will constantly increase.

The screenshot from the Readl website

Make PR & Creative great again!

Many Web2 companies perceive PR and creative promotion as optional, which should help sales managers sell more. But this direction is rarely a priority unless the product belongs to the categories of fashion, art, breakthrough startups or something that needs to create news constantly.

In contrast, PR and the creative component are essential for promoting web3 products. Most projects are startups, meaning they must attract investments from venture funds like a16z, Outlier Ventures, Pantera Capital, and others. Funds, in turn, have minimal time to get to know the team. It is much easier to establish contact with investors if they have already heard about you and read about your project in trusted media such as Bloomberg, Coindesk, Cointelegraph, and others.

Also, PR is needed to attract individual investors because we can invest in a project we trust and want to support. Unlike Web2 products, you can become an investor only by purchasing shares of a public company.

Time and money spent on PR and communication accelerate the process of decision-making about the support of your project by investors.

Web3 gave birth to such phenomena asmemes coins and fan tokensMeme coins (like DOGE or SHIB) are meme-inspired cryptocurrencies. They tend to be highly volatile compared to major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH). This is likely because meme coins are heavily community-driven tokens., and social media and online community sentiments usually influence their prices.

Fan tokens are dedicated to favorite sports teams and help them to be a part of the fan community. For example, Binance sponsors the BWT Alpine team in F1. The Alpine team has its fan token, and this token allows fans to donate directly to the team. Also, on Binance, owners of ALPINE tokens can access gamification and various goodies.

This picture is from the Binance website

Tokenomics of meme tokens or fan tokens is entirely dependent on PR.

From a creative point of view, Web3 projects have more technological tools for creating campaigns and engaging users or developers than classic businesses. For example, metaverses provide an opportunity to gamify the user experience and make it rich in emotions. In Web3, the level of personalization increases due to the use of unique NFT or Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

Web2 companies are now actively using Web3 tools to demonstrate their technological prowess and be in the mainstream. Many big brands already have blockchain&crypto teams looking for new ways to promote the brand and adapt it to the new Web3 reality.

Confirmation of the importance of creativity in the marketing of web3 products is the growth of vacancies for creative directors and brand marketers who have experience working with advertising and launching creative campaigns. Companies are ready to play the long game and apply tools to create an additional emotional attachment to the brand.

Social networks: for sales or growth?

Web2 can be called the period of birth and development of social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, YouTube and many others have turned the forums of the Web1 era into interactive content Disneyland, where each user not only consumes but also creates content, becoming an independent media. Attention and time spent interacting with the platform and creators became the main currency.

Social networks gave marketers the tools of targeted advertising, which became a game-changing feature at one time. People enthusiastically filled out their profiles, showing the algorithms detailed information about their careers, interests, hobbies, relationships, and favorite foods. Algorithms allow marketers to target advertising messages to specific audiences.

With the introduction of the GDPR policy, targeted advertising has become less effective and can no longer clearly distinguish audiences by gender or age criteria.

Targeted advertising is replaced by account-based marketing. Account-based marketing, often known as ABM, is a strategy for targeted business expansion in which the marketing and sales departments work together to provide individualized purchasing environments for a predetermined group of high-value clients. ABM is more used in the B2B direction, where the contract can be discussed for a long time and extremely important warm contacts.

But Web3 has a slightly different approach to social networks. Social networks friendly to blockchain projects are Twitter, Discord, Telegram, Reddit, and Steemit. Also, decentralized social networks on the blockchain are actively developing, for example, Bluesky Social, Amino, CounterSocial or Mastodon.

The other day, news broke that Waze CEO is launching his own decentralized social network Post. Post will allow you to write and share “posts of any length,” as well as chat and tip content creators. They want to return social networks to their original meaning — to inform people.

The question of social networks smoothly leads us to build a community.

Community building and engagement

Web2 marketing strategies usually do not try to build communities because this will not bring significant benefits in promoting the product.

When marketing a Web3 project, you must look beyond conventional methods to attract potential users. As community takes on greater importance in Web3 than in Web2, lead journeys will evolve accordingly.

First, you must talk with your community members in the same language and create a unique inner culture. A cult-like identity that expresses itself through memes, specialized lingos like WAGMI, odd-looking profile pictures like the BAYC, and a deep longing for “moon” trips. Those elements constitute the unique web3 culture.

To boost your chances of getting accepted, you can assist them in carrying out in-depth research about your project by:

  • Consistently engaging them with updates on behind-the-scenes activities.
  • Announcement of project development progress.
  • Getting the community involved in the decision-making about key features or events.
  • Giving them rewards (tokens, branded merch, invitations) for minting NFT or launching your testnet.
  • Making content about your team members.
  • Leaving no questions unanswered and respectfully entertaining feedback.
  • Setting clear goals and objectives from the beginning and being upfront in fulfilling them.
  • Painstakingly explain via long-form articles, interviews, or videos when any critical or unexpected decision is taken.

There is a good platform for community reward  — Crew3. They are building the most powerful medium to understand, activate and grow tokenized communities. You can use it or similar to make your community building easier.

Also, creating comics or memes or encouraging community members to create content about your project is a good idea. For example, here is a screenshot from The Comicverse:

Or Zeek Cat — an informal and adorable symbol of zkSync. zkSync community is growing very fast because of the excellent product idea, good PR and very professional actions of the community managers, who know how to constantly warm people's interest.

The screenshot from the zkSync Discord channel

Developer Relations Marketing is more relevant than ever

Web3 requires new approaches to scaling. Partnerships and collaborations and the development of relationships with developers who test and implement the technology usually come to the fore.

Developer Relation (DevRel) is the marketing technique used to ensure that one’s company, products, and developers establish deep, continuous relationships with external developers through mutual communication. According to Statista, the global developer population is expected to reach 28.7 million people by 2024, an increase of 3.2 million from the number seen in 2020.

Developing a blockchain product is impossible without building relationships with developers who will implement the technology and make other products based on it. The most popular blockchains on which most products are made are Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain, and Solana.

For developers to create products based on the technology, the company must establish a warm relationship with them and encourage them. To do this, DevRel marketers hold meetups and hackathons, educational and entertaining webinars, prepare user-friendly technical documentation, give away merch and much more.

A DevRel program may comprise a framework built around some or all of the following aspects:

  • Developer Marketing: Outreach and engagement activities to create awareness and convert developers to use a product.
  • Developer Education: Product documentation and education resources to aid learning and build affinity with a product and community.
  • Developer Experience (DX): Resources like a developer portal, product, and documentation, to activate the developer with the least friction.
  • Developer Success: Activities to nurture and retain developers as they build and scale with a product.
  • Community: Nourishes a community to maintain a sustainable program.

This is a long-time game, and the interaction process is similar to the marketing of B2B projects. That’s why if you want to make your product interesting for developers’ teams, you have to sell it by demonstrating technological and business advantages.

Let me know your partner, and I'll tell you who you are—the power of mutual promotion.

Marketers of Web2 and Web3 projects love partnerships because this is an excellent opportunity to increase your audience at the expense of another company and show your product from a new angle. However, partnerships in Web3 are built not only on ideological compatibility but also on technological compatibility, and this, in turn, can be the beginning of building an ecosystem.

So, before you offer other projects to become your partner and exchange audiences, you should make sure that you are in order with the following:

  • The technical side of the product is excellent, and there, and there have been no reputational losses or were settled by competent communication.
  • Your brand is consistent in terms of mission and vision, as reasonably as it is visually attractive, and the design does not contradict the company's essence.
  • You have the resources to maintain communication at the right level for a long time.
  • You know how to scale the project and grow the community.

I like how 1inch partners with various blockchain projects. They collaborated with very trusted and well-known blockchain and fintech projects, which increases their visibility and works well to attract a new audience of developers and users.

The screenshot from the 1inch website

Also, Polygon is once again proving its readiness for large partnerships from the point of view of technology and brand. Almost every week, the CEO of Polygon Studios publishes on Linkedin announcements of new partnerships with world-famous brands. Polygon Studios is the team that develops the Polygon ecosystem through various products. In September, they partnered with Starbucks, then collaborated with J.P. Morgan, later a partnership with The Walt Disney Company and announced opportunities to create your own NFTs on Facebook and Instagram. And in November, the announcement of a collaboration with Nike, where Polygon will launch an NFT platform for selling virtual clothes.

Data collection and ownership in Web2 and Web3

FAANG and other corporations know a lot about users, which cannot be not alarming. Web2 has given businesses unlimited data to use however they want. It is interesting that Apple caught society’s trend to reduce data transmission and caused trouble for Meta (Facebook) by adding an option to refuse data transmission to applications in the new version of the OS. Now Facebook can’t work with advertising as effectively and is missing out on billions of dollars.

Cambridge Analytica helped Trump win the election by manipulating public opinion through social media, mainly through Facebook. The company had unlimited access to user data and helped a person with a dubious reputation achieve political goals.

Unlike data trading in Web2, the Web3 approach involves independent control over the data you share on the Internet. Brave Browser solves the issue of data collection by blocking trackers and creepy ads on every website you visit.

This picture is from the Brave Browser website

One more project built for privacy on the Internet is Iron Fish Network. They are working on providing a currency that makes privacy approachable and easy to use while providing the strongest privacy guarantees. Not only is privacy a right, but it also leads to innovation, creativity, and safety. Also, they are working on developing an improved user experience and offering a complete end-to-end product: from the mobile phone wallet to the user’s bank account in a browser tab.

This screenshot is from the Iron Fish website

All this means that in the future, people can get an individual approach and disclose only the information they want. And for marketers, this means finding new ways of interaction and increasing the importance of a personalized approach to customers — not through intrusive advertising, but through value creation.


So, I’ve outlined the main differences between Web2 and Web3 project marketing that you need to know about if you’re planning to dive into this field. I am sure that the era of Web3 will bring even more new opportunities and help marketers and brand managers to focus on emphasizing the value of technologically robust products.

If you liked my article, share it on your social media and follow me on Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn.