Defi is one of the foundations of web 3.0, the next generation of the internet, but defi vendors today often struggle to successfully promote their next-gen products in an internet that isn't yet ready for them.
Web 1.0 refers to the original internet, with static pages and no interactive content. Web 2.0 is the social web, full of user-generated content and social media platforms. We love it for its personalization, but dislike the way that mega-corporations have control over our communications and content.
Which is why web 3.0 is rapidly traveling towards us with a vision that is more than augmented reality (AR) and the metaverse. It's a decentralized web that takes power away from the middlemen and returns it to creators and consumers (think of the journalists selling subscriptions to Substack newsletters, instead of posting on their blog and letting Meta or Google use their clicks and views to sell ads).
Web 3's foundations are the transparency of blockchain, together with cryptocurrency, NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). But while the building blocks of web3 are here, we aren't living a web3 experience. Hence the term web 2.5. Mat Dryhurst, technologist, lecturer, and web futures researcher, explains “I use 2.5 in this context because I believe Web 3.0 will inevitably eclipse those services. So in that sense, I use Web 2.5 as a transitional term.”
Like most transitional periods, web 2.5 is messy and unclear. This throws up many challenges, but particularly for defi companies trying to advertise web 3 products in a web 2.5 world.
Targeted ads, tracker cookies, and data-based advertising are an integral part of web 2.0, and can be highly effective for crypto and defi projects. The trouble is that platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have a hedge of regulations around which companies can use their ad networks.
Unless you have a license and meet other requirements, you won't be able to tap into their vast data vat, and if you accidentally cross the line, you'll risk being flagged and/or having your account blocked, which cuts you off from your audience entirely. All of today's most popular and efficient advertising platforms are walled gardens, and you can't get in unless you have the key.
There are many crypto-bloggers and blockchain influencers who make excellent collaborators for promoting your defi project, especially if they are able to communicate complex issues around the tech in a way that's easy to understand. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are increasingly popular for defi marketing.
But the same issues apply as for social ads. If the platform decides that you (or your partnered influencer) has broken their rules about web3 products, you'll lose your connection with your audience, together with all the data you've carefully collected.
Crypto-based advertising networks like Coinzilla are an obvious choice for defi marketing. Your ads won't be blocked or limited to a smaller reach, and the audience is likely to already be interested in blockchain-related projects.
Plus, these networks are transparent, thanks to their blockchain roots. You'll enjoy unimpeded access to all the data you need about how your ads are performing and how the target audience is responding. "Banner campaigns on platforms such as Etherscan, CoinmarketCap or Dapp provide you with pretty much the same [as Google ads]. You can adjust regions, Impr period, own design," says Serge Baloyan writing in HackerNoon. "The blockchain is about transparency. Banner campaigns on mentioned above services can provide you with transparent results. You will see the CTR, number of Impressions and GEO statistics."
The downside is that there's no centralized crypto advertising board. Each network has its own policies and pricing, so you'll need to reach out to each individually. You can't easily compare or analyze them to see which is the most effective.
Although there are still obstacles in the way of marketing a defi company, it's possible to overcome them all when you find the right platforms, strategies, and support to make the right decisions.