These findings may come as a surprise to marketers given that Web3 was all the rage this time last year. From creating virtual worlds to shilling NFT wearables, numerous brands showed interest in developing Web3 as the next frontier for digital advertising. Since the concept has always been esoteric, education typically plays a pivotal role in these efforts. Both crypto-native companies, such as Crypto.com, and traditional brands, such as Adidas, have contributed to spreading the Web3 word.
Others may not be surprised by the apparent inefficacy of these activations on audience awareness. Since last fall, right around the time that FTX collapsed, companies have been easing off of their Web3 investment. Disney shuttered its entire metaverse team in March, following a similar move by Microsoft the month prior. Even Meta, which changed its corporate name from Facebook in October 2021 to reflect its vision for the virtual world, ended NFT integrations on its two biggest platforms.
While causation is unclear, there is a strong correlation between waning interest in Web3 and rising interest in AI. The latter technology has skyrocketed to the primacy of every marketer’s attention, with apps such as ChatGPT already showing levels of adoption that Web3 has yet to accomplish. Some brands, including Coca-Cola, are prioritizing new AI efforts over previous Web3 ones.
Despite its negative outlook on Web3, the survey reported several findings that suggest the space could still attract more consumers. Some 70% of global respondents (72% of U.S. respondents) believe they should be able to share in the profit a company makes from their data. Moreover, 67% of global respondents believe they should own their online creations—a scenario made possible by NFT and blockchain technology but currently hampered due to the control posed by walled gardens such as Google and Meta.
Data privacy, another tenet of Web3-related technologies, is important to 81% of U.S. respondents. Relatedly, 79% of U.S. respondents said they would like to levy more control over their identity on the internet.
For these reasons, ConsenSys is launching a rebrand to its core mission, with particular regard to how it defines its audience. It will now refer to its “users” as “builders” in order to convey that everyone involved in Web3 is also involved in the space’s development.
ConsenSys and YouGov’s survey included a total of 15,158 individuals, ages 18 to 65, from 15 countries across the world. The data was collected between April and May 2023.