The marketing landscape has shifted in the past few years and is ready for upheaval in the coming few years. Stringent regulations, the retirement of third-party cookies, privacy-conscious Gen Z, etc., will increase customer acquisition costs (CAC). The average CMO will likely shift dollars to pay a premium for higher-quality, zero-party data and to drive higher consumer engagement. 

Amid this evolution, Web3 emerges as a beacon of possibility for the cookie-less internet. The killer application will be the user-owned digital wallet which can reconfigure consumer-brand relationships with an emphasis on privacy.

Key drivers

Rising customer acquisition cost (CAC)

The digital marketplace is more saturated than ever, with countless brands vying for user attention. This has led to an exponential rise in Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC). Companies find it more challenging and expensive to capture and keep user attention using traditional methods. With this ballooning CAC, brands are searching for more efficient, direct and personalized means of connecting with users. An NFT-enabled wallet with unique identifiers is emerging as a new channel of establishing trust in a consumer-owned internet.

Retiring third-party cookies

Google’s announcement of phasing out third-party cookies by 2024 sent shockwaves throughout the digital advertising ecosystem. As one of the dominant players in data arbitrage, this move underscored a seismic shift away from the old guard of browser-based data tracking and towards a more privacy-centric browsing experience. The shift could make it harder for marketers to target, engage and know their consumers.

Privacy-aware demographics

There’s an increasing public consciousness about online privacy with the emergence of new demographic segments and Gen Z’s focus on digital sovereignty. These users demand transparency about how their data is used and are wary of traditional tracking mechanisms, further pushing brands to rethink their engagement strategies.

Upcoming regulations

Global regulators are catching up with the evolving digital domain. From the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S., governments are imposing stringent rules on data collection, usage and sharing. Such regulatory landscapes require innovative solutions that respect user privacy while ensuring seamless brand engagement.

The digital wallet: Web3’s answer to the cookie-less internet

Faced with these challenges, the digital wallet emerges as Web3’s pioneering solution. So, why is the wallet likely poised to become the new cookie?

Direct connection between users and brands

Using digital wallets, brands can establish a direct, 1:1 relationship with users. Instead of relying on intermediaries and third-party trackers, brands can interact with users in a hyper-personal and meaningful manner. Wallets foster user ownership and trust to enable custom experiences based on genuine user preferences.

Inherent privacy

Digital wallets, at their core, are built on the principles of decentralization and privacy. Unlike cookies that track user activity across the web, wallets give users full control over their data. Brands can only access information if the user permits (opt-in), creating a transparent and consensual relationship, boosting loyalty and combined loan-to-value ratio (CLTV) in a mutual value exchange.

Multi-dimensional utility

Unlike cookies, which serve a primary tracking purpose, wallets are multi-dimensional. Beyond helping with transactions, they can store a variety of digital assets such as offers, experiences, access, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), etc. For brands, this offers a plethora of opportunities to create unique value propositions and experiences. Imagine loyalty programs based on tokenized rewards or exclusive access to digital art for brand enthusiasts.

Long-term engagement

With cookies, user engagement was often transient and fragmented. Digital wallets can foster long-term relationships. By connecting with a user’s wallet, brands can maintain an enduring connection, offering services, products, or experiences over an extended period with better retention rates, and less churn resulting in higher CLTV.

The future of brand engagement

Web3’s promise of a decentralized, user-centric digital ecosystem is slowly coming to fruition. As third-party cookies fade into obsolescence, the digital wallet emerges as a resilient, adaptable and innovative channel for brand engagement in this new era.

Brands willing to embrace this transformation stand to gain a competitive advantage. By focusing on genuine, transparent and long-term relationships facilitated by wallets, they can reduce CAC, enhance loyalty and boost CLTV.

However, brands must embrace open wallets and not create their own silos or custodial wallets. Siloed wallets will merely mean using new technology to drive their old methods of data hoarding and this could diminish user trust.

Open and non-custodial wallets provide chief marketing officers with the unique opportunity to craft brand narratives around privacy and direct engagement, resonating with today’s consumers. Leveraging digital wallets allows for personalized brand experiences and data-driven strategies, offering innovative avenues for engagement across brands and potentially driving more revenue.

Concluding thoughts

The cookie-less internet presents an opportunity, not a risk. It has the ability to redefine and strengthen the connection and trust between consumers and brands. A user-owned digital wallet can become the upgraded and sophisticated replacement for obsolete cookies from the prior incarnation of the internet.

Nitin Kumar is a growth CEO and co-founder at zblocks. He is a recognized leader, author, former consulting partner and VC investor.

This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.

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