The Future of Personalized Advertising
Decentralized Ad Data and Web3 Consumer Identity
Developing in parallel with the death of third-party cookies is the emergence of the next era of the internet… Web 3.0
This next step in the evolution of the internet represents a shift away from platform-owned data, and towards an internet in which users have more control. Individual sovereignty is the focus of Web3, wherein users own their data and dictate how this information is used and who has access to it.
The force behind this transformation is blockchain technology, which addresses the shortcomings of centralization and reduces the ability of centralized platforms to abuse their power. While governments have been fining big tech platforms for data breaches and monopolization, these tactics have not done much to make these corporations accountable for their overreach. Web3 represents a long-term solution to this issue, with true potential for transformation.
What is Web3?
The internet is now accessed by billions of people, and centralization is what made this mass adoption possible. A handful of centralized platforms created infrastructure to host users across the globe, but now these same platforms have the power to decide what is acceptable and what is not.
Web3 shifts the balance of power, as it is decentralized and is being built, operated and owned by the users themselves. This delivers power to the individuals that traverse the web and not the corporations that currently make the rules.
The history of the internet can be broken down into three distinct phases, with the current primary iteration being web2. To better understand where we are heading with web3, here is a quick explanation of each phase of the world wide web…
Web 1.0: Read-Only (1990-2004)
The first generation of the internet was primarily static websites owned by companies that offered nearly zero interaction or user generated content. Users could search for information and read it, leading to the name “read-only web”
Web 2.0: Read-Write (2004-now)
The post-dotcom bubble internet, in which the focus shifted to social networking and cloud computing. Instead of websites providing content, they offered platforms to share and engage with user-generated content. As more users came online a small number of tech companies gained disproportionate traffic and value.
Web 3.0: Read-Write-Own
An internet based on blockchain technology, providing increased data security, scalability and user-privacy. A decentralized web, meaning that ownership is distributed amongst builders and users. Permissionless access is provided for all participants and trustless infrastructure that uses incentives and economic mechanisms instead of relying on third-parties. One of the primary features of Web3 is native payments, facilitated by cryptocurrency that no longer relies on outdated banks and payment processors.
Web3 holds the potential to create an internet without platform or technology dictatorships, as information is decentralized and stored on networks and not servers. Access is granted without the need to sacrifice personal information, and data that is shared has a transparent and immutable record that can help prevent fraud.
The decentralization of the internet makes it possible to remove middle-men and intermediaries that now exist across industries, from banks to Saas providers and beyond. This will fundamentally disrupt many industries operating digitally, including advertising.
Personalized Advertising with Web3
Great digital advertising relies on strong data. Currently, this data is mostly owned by the massive web2 walled garden platforms that users access daily. Google, Facebook, and Amazon have a stranglehold on user data, and thus possess a lot of the advertising power that businesses need.
The death of cookies and emergence of web3 both represent a massive shift in this power dynamic, as users are now taking control of their data and thus shaping their internet experience. While big tech companies like Facebook will do everything in their power to continue dominating the internet, the adoption of web3 will undoubtedly impact how businesses advertise.
Access to User Data
As mentioned above, web3 users have more control over their data than ever before. Instead of users asking platforms for access, platforms will begin to ask users for access. This gives individuals a much more active role in how their data is used and who it is shared with.
While this shift could make it harder for advertisers to collect consumer data, it will also force them to be more transparent and creative. Many believe that the result will be a more personalized and enjoyable advertising experience. This is because users will no longer be forced to engage with ads, but rather given the option of which products and services are most relevant to them, and view adverts accordingly.
Currently, attribution is muddied and often inaccurate because users engage with and consume media on a range of platforms on top of data from various systems. A core feature of web3 is the ability to attribute value, no matter how far down the chain it is derived. Blockchain technology makes it possible to track where content originates from and who engages with it. This creates a massive opportunity for optimized and transparent management of ad campaigns.
User Identity Management
Given that web3 delivers ownership to users in an unprecedented fashion, identity management will become a critical component of this next stage of the internet. As users enter web3 ecosystems, they will be empowered to manage their own virtual identities, including who has access to their data.
The cookie-based model has clearly failed users by empowering big tech companies that have the ability to collect and control everyone’s data. Web3 advertising technology will adhere to the protocols established for identity management, allowing participants to collect and control their own data libraries. Users will be able to manage their public and private profiles across sites, with blockchain tech ensuring the control of these profiles when engaging with third-parties. In essence, this enables all parties in the advertising ecosystem to verify attribution while controlling access to sensitive or regulated data.
New Advertising Experiences
All of these changes to advertising will drastically alter the advertising experience for consumers. With the power that comes from user owned data and identities, new preferences will take shape and users will no longer need to engage with digital advertising as it currently exists. Individuals will be able to shape their advertising experiences, only making time for their preferred content from trusted sources.
Advertising will become much more nuanced and less intrusive, because consumers will have the ability to control what they see. This will force advertisers to cater the experience to users in new ways and move away from the annoying, overreaching tactics that currently exist in web2.