Have you wondered just what the heck IS Web 3.0?
Everyone is talking about it (and for a good reason). But how do you actually prepare your business for what looks like the future of the internet, which is coming faster than anyone ever imagined?
To answer this question and much more, I brought in my friend Ryan Levesque, the multi-year Inc 5000 winning CEO of The Ask Method Company, to chat about Web 3.0 and so much more. He’s one of the world’s experts, not just on understanding Web 3.0, but really understanding how you create a participatory environment with your audience.
So if you’ve been worried about or thinking about the future of the internet, you’re in the right place!
Watch my interview with Ryan or read the transcript below.
Save your seat for the FREE Web 3.0 Future Symposium: GetWeb3Ready.Com/MM
Marisa: So, Ryan, what exactly is Web 3.0? And what does everyone need to know to prepare for the future, which seems to be here right now?
Ryan: To kind of kick things off, I want to talk about Web 3.0 and what it means, specifically, if you are a digital marketer, a course creator or are looking to kind of take advantage of this.
A lot of the press is focused on things like blockchain technology and the Facebook metaverse. And people think Web 3.0 is “Oh, we’re just going to all walk around with virtual reality glasses.” And it’s going to be this new weird world that people are kind of dismissing. And that’s not it at all.
Other changes are happening in a major way that affects all of us, disrupting how we advertise, market and sell our products and services online.
But before we can get into that, I think it’s important to understand how we got to where we are today. So to understand what Web 3.0 is, we have to understand what Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 actually mean and how that’s led us here.
The first era of the internet was Web 1.0. We saw the democratization of information. For the first time in history, we didn’t have to go to a library or the encyclopedia to look up information. Instead, you could go online and anybody could create any website on anything.
So you had this massive proliferation of independently controlled, independently owned websites on different topics, ideas and things. Anybody with an internet connection could start a website.
And then what started to happen was people realized, “Oh man, this is kind of hard to create a website… it’s a lot of work.” So then the major Big Tech platforms – Twitter, WordPress, Facebook and YouTube – basically came out and said, “Hey, you don’t have to host all this stuff. You don’t have to maintain your own servers. Let’s consolidate all of this in one place.”
So we went from this massive decentralization to this massive centralization in Web 2.0. And that’s where we’ve been in the last 5-10 years.
You have a few Big Tech platforms (Google, Facebook and their sub-properties) that dominate the internet.
But like most things in life, you’ve got culture and counterculture – cyclical and counter-cyclical movements.
And we are coming full circle, once again, where there’s a movement away from Big Tech and towards user privacy and owning your own data. And now, once again, we’re moving into this world where we’re seeing decentralization. People are voting and raising their hands and saying, “You know what, I don’t want my information, my data to be shared with big data; I want to take back control of this.”
Things really came to a head in 2021 when Apple decided in its iOS 14 operating system to no longer provide that user data to the Facebooks and the Googles of the world and decided to keep that private.
Most people don’t realize how much of a monumental move that is and was and what it means for us as advertisers. What we should be doing about it, how we need to prepare and what moves we all need to be making right now if we have any chance of hoping to be successful in this new Web 3.0 era of the internet.
So that kind of is like a bit of a backdrop – from where we’ve been to where we’re at right now. And I think it makes sense for us to dive deeper into that.
Marisa: Yeah, absolutely super, super helpful context as to how we got here and what we’re talking about. Now, I think the question is: How does this impact online businesses and what can we do to prepare?
Ryan: So in the Web 2.0 era, this massive consolidation of data and information around a handful of Big Tech platforms, we, as digital advertisers, as marketers online, have been able to rely on what’s known as third-party data.
Third-party data is information gathered by a third party that we’ve been able to leverage as advertisers in order to attract the right types of customers, clients and students into our business.
So, for example, over the last 5-10 years, we’ve been able to go to Facebook, for example, and say, “Hey, Facebook, can you find me people who match this interest profile, that are interested in this, like this and do this other thing?” And Facebook, with an incredible degree of accuracy, has been able to provide us with those people. Serve those people up to us on a silver platter.
They’ve been able to do that because they’ve been fed by the Apples of the world who, up until this point, have allowed Facebook to mine all that user browser data. So when you’re scrolling on your iPhone, and you’re checking stuff out on the internet, Facebook’s been able to capture that information and say, “Oh, I think this person here who went to this camping website and who bought a tent, and who’s booking a trip to the Grand Canyon probably needs a flight to Arizona to actually do this trip. So let’s serve them ads on how to fly to visit the Grand Canyon.”
Well, in 2021, when Apple released its iOS 14 operating system, it quite literally cut the umbilical cord, no longer providing any of that information. So it quite literally cut Facebook off at the knees. Because now, Facebook can only target users based on the in-channel, on-platform behavior, i.e., the way in which we interact on Facebook, not how we spend our time on other apps, browsing the internet, the videos that we watch — all of that is gone.
So Facebook’s effectiveness, literally just overnight, went away. So, those of us who have relied on third-party data can no longer rely on that because it’s no longer being served.
So the question is, What’s the new paradigm? Where do you go from here?
Well, it’s a shift from relying on rented information, rented land, third-party data to moving to what’s known as zero-party data.
Now, zero-party data is — instead of relying on third-party data sources — you’re relying on information that your website visitor explicitly and voluntarily shares with you when they visit your website. Not stuff you’re tracking in the background, not stuff that Facebook is spying on us by leaving your camera on and your microphone on and listening to your dinner conversation. None of that.
Stuff that your user explicitly provides to you when they visit your website. In other words, when someone lands on your website, you ask them a series of questions, and that website visitor tells you the answer.
For example, when you say, “What backpack Are you looking for?” And they say, Well, I’m looking for a backpack for my son, he’s in high school, he’s going on a camping trip, our budget is under $100. And his favorite color is red. So what do you recommend?” That is zero-party data – data that the website visitor has explicitly provided to you in the hopes that you can better sell and better serve that individual.
That is the great paradigm shift. That is the move. And for anybody who is not using that right now, you are in for a world of hurt. Because that old Web 2.0 paradigm of relying on third-party data is behind us, it is no longer a thing. And we’re never going back. And so, if you don’t have a zero-party data strategy for your business, you are not set up to succeed in this new Web 3.0 era.
Marisa: Wow, awesome. That’s so so clarifying. And I wanted to ask, you know, it sounds like from what you said, technology changes by Apple primarily drove this change, but I also believe it’s happening in parallel with some changes in kind of what customer expectations and market demand. So can you talk about how those two things are linked?
Ryan: Absolutely. You know, so we like to think of maybe Apple as being this massively altruistic organization, but the reason really is it’s a response to social pressure. And Apple has used privacy as its differentiator in response to its user base demanding that. So I think things came to a head when we started seeing data leaks happening and realized how much data the big data platforms have on us and how much they truly know about us and our user behavior. And in fact, I think if you were to actually dive a little bit deeper and realize how much Facebook knows about you, Google knows about you, how much these Big Tech platforms actually know about you, it’s kind of scary in what it is they can actually ascertain.
So there’s been this social backlash, this move to privacy, and you’ve seen it happen at a macro level with movements like GDPR coming around. Versions of GDPR are happening in almost half of the states in the United States that are either in action and enforced right now or are about to be enforced in the coming months and coming years. So GDPR is not this European problem. It is a global situation right now – this movement to users having control of their own data from California to Kazakhstan and everywhere in between.
That is the way the world is moving. So it is a social force at play. And this desire to take back control.
Again, culture… counterculture.
Cyclicality of movement from centralization, where you’ve got these Big Tech platforms, to now decentralization, where people want sovereignty over their own information and data. And arguably, the single most valuable asset that all of us have is our privacy, our information and all that comes with it.
So there’s a social set of circumstances that have changed and Big Tech has responded in some interesting ways.
Now, the questions are: What are we going to do about it as digital marketers, as advertisers? What do we do about our playbook? How do we shift? What do we do differently?
And I can talk about some of the practical moves. And really how you should be thinking about your digital marketing strategy in this new paradigm.
Marisa: Absolutely. Let’s talk about what kinds of marketing work in this particular context, the Web 3.0 context, and the social forces behind that. Because what I’ve seen, too, in some of the research being done, is distrust. People are a lot less trustful than they used to be — not just of the big data giants like Facebook — but almost anyone doing business right now. So we have to work harder to gain people’s trust and get their information.
Ryan: Well, I think it was in a group that you and I are both part of that you posted that distrust is now the default state that most people currently exist in. In other words, there has been this massive movement of distrust in the institutions that we have come to rely on to exist in the world we live in today.
So when I talk about that, I’m talking at multiple levels – sovereign distrust, state distrust, distrust of government.
COVID brought this massive feeling of distrust, like, are we being well taken care of as individuals? Does our government have our best interests in mind? So you have distrust in the government. You also have the financial distrust, which of course, the counterculture there is the movement toward cryptocurrency, decentralization and elimination of the banking system. But it extends far beyond that… it’s not just about blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Now we have distrust with Big Tech and people moving off platforms. A few years ago, we saw hashtag Uber (#Uber) that happened on Twitter where people started to delete Uber, in part because of Uber’s treatment of their drivers but also because they abused user data. We saw the same things happening earlier this year with Facebook. As a result, Facebook had the single largest stock price drop in the history of U.S. capitalism and the stock market. And it was in response to users fleeing from the platform.
So the question is: What do you need to do about it? How do you earn trust? How do you develop trust?
And what we found is that it starts with a conversation. So it’s shifting the paradigm through which you market from a transactional to a conversational paradigm. So you’re moving from one-way communication to conversation at all steps of your funnel.
Now, when you think about the top of your funnel… instead of trying to drive people to download something that you’ve created or sign up for your ebook, you begin with a conversation. You start by asking a series of questions.
Instead of trying to say this is the right backpack for you or click this link to get the right backpack, you approach it like this, “We don’t know what backpack is right for you. But I’m going to be transparent. If you tell us a little bit about your situation — What you’re looking for, your budget, your tastes, your desires and what you’re going to be using your backpack for — we can recommend the right backpack for you.”
Now what’s powerful about that is when you have a system, a technology and a paradigm to be able to gather that information and you’re using the right tech stack, you can then provide the data that you get, that you own and connect that back to the Big Tech platforms.
You can connect that umbilical cord to Facebook to Google and say, “See these people who went on my website and answered these questions in this way? I would love to find more of those people. Can you help me?” Now Apple may have cut off the umbilical cord, but you can connect it back. And that is the great unlock; that is the great secret right there. You use your zero-party data to inform the big platforms where people are still spending their time.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Facebook is still the most trafficked social media platform in the world. Even though they’ve seen a net decline in users, you still have literally over a billion people who go to that website every single day. But, on the other hand, you do not have a billion people going to your website every single day. So it is still the powerhouse, but we have to treat it differently. We have to use our own data to inform the Big Tech platforms to whom our stuff should be served – our social posts, our ads and all the content we put out there.
So I know we’re just scratching the surface. But the message that I want to convey is that we are entering into a new era and the playbook that’s worked in the last 10 years is obsolete. It no longer works. We’re moving from horse and buggy to gasoline engine. It’s a transformational shift in the way that the world works online. And the winners of tomorrow will be decided by the moves that are made right here today.
Marisa: Absolutely. So it sounds like regardless of the size of your business, whether you’re just getting going or you have a 7, 8 or 9-figure business, this is something you need to pay attention to. Because I feel like sometimes when people hear things like Web 3.0, they think it’s only for the large businesses and not for the everyday businesses.
Ryan: Absolutely. It’s for every business – small businesses, solo operators, coaches, consultants. You might be in the early stages of your business trying to get things off the ground; you might have a large established successful 6, 7 or 8-figure business and everyone in between. And so you know, it’s a matter of getting ready for Web 3.0 right now. What will determine your success this year, next year and in the years beyond are the moves and steps you take and what you put in place right here, right now, today.
Marisa: Absolutely. And what do you think is going to happen to all of these big social platforms in the evolution of these trends? And should people still be trying to build huge followings on these platforms? Or should they start trying to build community elsewhere?
Ryan: The horse and buggy did not go obsolete overnight. Changes like this don’t happen overnight, but they happen faster than you might expect.
The movement from Uber taking over taxis. It was not that long ago. The smartphone transition – the revolution from regular cell phones to smartphones — happened quickly. So it will be faster than you might expect. But the good news is there’s still time to take action here today.
So when it comes to thinking about these platforms, you want to think about how you’re leveraging them. It’s not to say that you’re going to boycott Facebook, boycott YouTube, boycott Google and never tap into those powers. The secret is taking people from those platforms onto your own. Leveraging the already existing traffic and moving people to the ground and land you truly own.
Owning your data is the great unlock.
The reason why these companies are worth trillions of dollars is because of the massive amount of data they have access to. Now, if you’re a small solo business owner, you compete by having your own zero-party data strategy. You have your own way that when someone lands on your website, you ask a series of questions. You need to know more about someone than just their name and email — firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t tell you a whole lot about a person. But if you can ask a few questions – to know who they are, their challenges and their priorities — you can not only better sell but better serve and recommend the right product and the right message for the right person at the right time using that strategy.
Marisa: Absolutely. So in our last couple of minutes, I’d love you to end with just a couple of takeaways and next steps for people to start preparing right away.
Ryan: Yeah, so look, I know our time is limited. And I know for people listening to this or watching this right now, you’re asking: What does this look like? So what am I actually doing?
The good news is that we just so happened to be hosting a week-long, 100% FREE Symposium on how to get ready for Web 3.0. And for everyone here, I’d love to invite you to join us. We will be talking about Web 3.0 traffic and how you should shift your traffic strategy. We will be talking about Web 3.0 products and what you should be doing with your products. In preparation for this, we will be talking about Web 3.0 data and privacy and how your data strategy should be changing. We’re going to be talking about email and follow-up and text messaging and all of these things. Because the strategies that have worked in the past with email will no longer work, you have to make moves now to prepare yourself.
And last but not least, at the center of it all is what funnel you’re going to be using and how you’re going to be converting website traffic into customers, clients and students. That funnel needs to shift.
So it’s free. It’s happening live. If you’re listening or watching this right now, your timing is perfect. And the link to join us is GetWeb3Ready.com/MM for Marisa Murgatroyd.
This link will take you to a special page where you can join us for free; you just need to register. And again, it’s happening live. We’ve got guest experts who will be coming in on all these different topic areas, and you’re going to walk away with a Web 3.0 playbook at the end of this week that you’ll be able to implement step by step. And for everyone watching and listening to this right now, I’d love to invite you to be our special guests and join us at the Symposium happening June 6-10.
Marisa: Thank you so much, Ryan. I really appreciate you. It’s amazing watching just your leadership here in the market and how spot on you are with so many of the trends. I definitely recommend that everyone go to GetWeb3Ready.com/MM and join Ryan and guests at the Symposium.
Ryan: Yes, go ahead and register NOW at that link because we will be charging for this. But this link will take you to a way to get access to this for free. So register here and I’ll see you at the Symposium.
Marisa: Awesome. Awesome. I can’t wait and thank you so much for coming out. Now, go out there and Live Your Message.