Blockcamp Brief (Issue #3)

Grass Shoots of the Web3 Marketing Ecosystem

Hope y’all are having a great week so far. The spotlight this week is on the burgeoning web3 marketing ecosystem and whether these early signs of life are an indicator of what’s to come, or if this is all just another example of a hammer looking for a nail.

Let’s get it.

🔦 Spotlight

The Finesse, Christopher Kulendran Thomas & Annika Kuhlmann

Grass Shoots of a Web3 Marketing Ecosystem

I recently came across the Web3 Growth Landscape map (below) published by the analytics tool Safary, and was struck by a number of things as I read through it.

First, is simply how many people are building at the intersection of web3 and marketing today. There are nearly 200 companies documented here, and this doesn’t even include all of the major crypto infrastructure that exists at the protocol layer (e.g. Lens, ZORA, Farcaster, etc.) and identity layer (e.g. ENS, MetaMask, SIWE, etc.), upon which many of these applications are built upon. This is incredibly encouraging, especially when you consider the fact that we’ve been in a unrelenting bear market for the last 18 months.

Second, is how early we still are. While certainly promising, these companies have only raised a collective ~$600M so far and most of them are still in the pre-seed or seed stage. Although it’s not nothing, it is a drop in the bucket when considering that $44B of VC money was deployed in US-based companies in Q1 alone this year (Source: E&Y). Sure, one of the many appeals of building decentralized applications (dApps) is that much of the data and infrastructure is open source and thus will require less capital to build, but still.

Third, is where the early activity and capital is specifically being concentrated at the moment. Two of the most active categories—Loyalty and Analytics—make perfect sense because they capitalize on two of the most readily apparent strengths of crypto: incentive alignment and permissionless data, respectively.

Conversely, the more top-of-funnel categories like Ad Networks and Affiliate / Referral are showing comparatively slower growth. There are likely myriad reasons for this, but chief among them is the fact we’ve yet to see a breakout attention aggregator unseat the likes of Facebook / Instagram / TikTok just yet. This could end up taking the form of a game, open metaverse, digital workspace, or something entirely novel, but whatever it is: it’s coming. And when it does, we’ll see an explosion of activity in the web3 ad network space and the biggest growth arbitrage opportunity for brands since the emergence of Facebook.

Now for perhaps the most interesting thing of all: the grass shoots we’re witnessing in the web3 marketing landscape today bear a striking resemblance to that of MarTech in 2011, when there were only ~150 documented companies operating within the nascent digital marketing ecosystem. Compare that to today where there are over 11,000 active MarTech companies. Might we see a similar ~80x growth in the web3 marketing landscape between now and 2035?

Slowly at first, then all at once.

👊 Quick hits

  • Apple, Adobe, Pixar, Nvidia, and Autodesk have teamed up to promote open standards for interoperable 3D tools and data, forming the Alliance for OpenUSD, which will drive the “standardization, development, evolution, and growth” of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) technology. This is will prove critical in gaining alignment ahead of Apple’s Vision Pro VR headset release next year.

  • Relevant to our spotlight on protocols last week, here’s a thought-provoking piece by 0xJustice who argues that Social DAOs should look to evolve into Social Protocols: “If a Social DAO’s community is the product, then we should be able to codify its structures and processes in such a way as to protect, improve, and grow it.” What gets measured codified gets managed.

  • Yet another example of brands tying digital assets with physical products, this time from fashion (and emerging web3) leader, Gucci. Holders of Gucci’s Material NFTs will be able to claim one of a handful of exclusive Gucci products by “burning” (effectively destroying) their NFT. It’s a fairly straightforward approach that’s been employed by several others before, but the possibilities for phygital activations like this are broad and we’ll likely see more creative executions in the near future.

  • Here’s a heady piece by Jaya Klara Brekke, arguing against the web3 chorus of “more decentralization”. It’s a helpful counterpoint to keep in mind to ensure the pendulum doesn’t swing too far back in the other direction.

  • Apparel brand Lacoste is opening up a new virtual store, combining an immersive retail experience with specific elements exclusive to holders of Lacoste’s UNDW3 NFT passes. Token-gated VR experiences like this will continue to become more and more common as brands look to find ways to engage with customers more deeply.

  • I should have linked to this piece on the concept of Hyperstructures by Jacob Horne and Nick Axel in my spotlight last week on protocols, but to be honest I completely forgot about it until it resurfaced in ZORA’s new Zine publication. Written over a year ago, it still holds up well as a mental framework for thinking about the distinction between truly open crypto protocols and the pseudo web2.5 versions of them.

🐦 Social Musings

🔨 For your toolkit

As we continue to see more brands utilizing digital assets as passes for both virtual and IRL events, tools like tokenproof will be leveraged to provide a user-friendly and safe experience for fans and customers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see larger players in the ticketing space like Seat Geek, StubHub, and Live Nation start making some acquisitions of companies like this here soon to further build out their web3 capabilities.

🌐 Web3 Marketing Roles

🔗 Let’s Link

That’s it for today! Be sure to follow Blockcamp on Twitter and subscribe to the Blockcamp newsletter if you haven’t already. I’d truly appreciate it if you’d share this with any of your friends who may find it valuable as well 💚!

Until next time….