#AgencyCon 2022: Agency in the Metaverse and Web3 World

Pranali Tawte
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metaverse and web3

A line of panelists respond to pressing concerns about Agency in the Metaverse and Web3 World and what the future holds for them

A panel of agency leaders joins in to share their perspectives on agency in the Metaverse and Web3 worlds at Social Samosa AgencyCon 2022. They discuss where agency fits into these worlds, how these terms are used interchangeably, how to look at blockchain technology as a way to ensure trust, and how the presence and development of these worlds will affect agencies more broadly.

This thought-provoking panel moderated by Adhvith Dhuddu, Founder & CEO, AliveNow included

Here’s what the agency leaders had to say:  

Understanding Gartner’s Hype Cycles

The typical development of innovation is characterized by hype cycles, which range from excessive enthusiasm to a period of disillusionment to a final comprehension of the innovation's relevance and function in a market or domain. Adhvith explains that on its way to productivity, technology goes through 5 stages: 

  1. Innovation trigger 
  2. Peak of inflated expectations
  3. Trough of disillusionment
  4. Slope of enlightenment
  5. Plateau of productivity

He said, “The whole cycle takes about 10 years, and Gartner basically announced that the Metaverse is in the first stage, which is the innovation trigger, and maybe in about 10 years it will reach a plateau of productivity.” The other snippet he shared was Snapchat, Google, and Facebook announcing their earnings and even Google didn’t meet its expectations and profits. “One of the biggest takeaways is a general consensus that media and advertising spends are at least for the next two to three quarters or till two years, going to go more in performance marketing and result-driven ads.  Metaverse and 3D worlds and web3 are very much top funnel and not bottom funnel and driving business results so it will be interesting to see how it plays out in the next three to four quarters.”, he added.

Building the Metaverse and Web3 ecosystem

Breaking it down, Rishi says, “ Web3 is a backend conversation, and Metaverse is a frontend conversation. The Metaverse is in the process of getting built right now, and yes, it is in the first stage and would probably take nine to ten years, but the question is the narrative that will be driven on the platform.” He later explains that just like Orkut or Facebook or any other social media platform that ever started, these platforms are new too and that it may take some time, and we will probably know the hype half a decade later. He also said that it would be interesting to see which brands invest in the topper funnel right now to start building the ecosystem and that platform. 

Metaverse- Fad or Future?

In general, we hear a lot of things about the Metaverse, ranging from the first claim that it is a fad that will pass away and be forgotten to other publications genuinely declaring that it is the future and that we should pay attention because it is here to stay. Many others simply find the idea of the Metaverse to be perplexing. 

Swati asked a few people what they thought about Metaverse and got answers like, it is like a video game but in real life, something to do with AR VR, some people used the term immersive repeatedly, and some people said it had something to do with Oculus. The irony is all the answers that she got were true in some sense.

Swati explains, “The concept of the Metaverse is so fragmented right now. The entire industry is fragmented. There are Web3 agencies, and digital agencies; there are so many partners to it, there are so many layers to it, there is Roblox, there are Indian-made platforms and while all this is happening, I do see that as of now, the demand is not as much as there is the availability of resources. Therefore I would not call it hype. It is a reality; it is coming sooner than later.”

Also Read: Agency of the future: How agency leaders see the change

What distinguishes Web3 from the Metaverse?

According to Pratik Gupta, when the internet was invented, people used to debate whether they would spend so much time using it, but in the last five or six years, internet use has become the only activity that people engage in. According to him, Web3 is an extension of shared space and time where individuals will engage with one another and where their activities will affect how others would respond. As a result, the stimulus they will introduce into the environment will cause another person to react in a different way. It is the internet's natural extension. Pratik said, “The first movers will have an advantage, and the laggards will then spend money to make up for the lost time. So, it depends on what side of the boat you want to be on. In my opinion, it is a question of when the investment will start to come in from brands.”

He states that it is important for people to understand the difference between the technology, which is blockchain, Metaverse, which is spaces, and Web3, which is an extension of Web2 as they are not the same. He added, ”People, unfortunately, use these terms very interchangeably and the fun part is that if the crypto market is down, the web3 market is down which has no correlation. Just like crypto has no correlation to anything. That’s where we are stuck. The fundamentals of everybody are not there and that's why they are trying to give a definitive answer for something that is in my opinion the imminent future.”

Simplifying it further, Adhvith said, “Smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, autonomous organizations, NFTs, Metaverse, together make up the Web3 worlds. The only thing common across all this is it is built on blockchain technology. I think that is a bit of a simplified way to put it.”

Ensuring trust with blockchain technology 

Preetham Venkky has a unique vantage point because he spent over a decade working outside of India. He is also connected to the industry, aware of events happening abroad, and has experience working in India. Preetham believes that it is important to call out the distinction between Metaverse and Web3. “The fact is that we don’t know who the leading player is going to be on Metaverse. We still haven’t tested the interoperability so it’s not like you can take your avatar on Fortnite, jump to something that meta is now building, and jump to Roblox.”

He stated that the reason for being unclear was vested interests from a capital infusion standpoint and how money is spent on each of these platforms will determine the winner. He added, “It is extremely straightforward. Metaverse can exist without the fundamental process of what Web3 is supposed to be or what it is hoping to be. The second thing is there is a very interesting saying in human psychology, which is ‘name it to tame it’. This means that you start coming up with these keywords, in the beginning, to tame what the ecosystem looks like except you're not just untrue to that saying.”

 Do brands have a space to play in Metaverse and Web3? 

Preetham believes that brands can be in this space in the future. He said, “Just like being the first man on an island, you have the benefits of doing that to a certain extent and all brands should experiment. But having said so, not doing it from just a communication lens, brands have three spaces to play. First is bringing scale to businesses that are built on these fundamental ecosystems, that means helping a Metaverse or web3 company actually get the scale that you want with the right kind of communication that is going out. The second thing is completely operating within those worlds. The third thing is probably creating their own world within that space, to begin with.” 

He believes that agencies don’t look at it the way they should. He added, “One of the things we have piloted within the DDB Mudra Group is to look at the blockchain technology as a way to assure trust when you are delivering impressions on the media delivery side so that means it is using the technology in a very different manner at a fundamentally different level for a different use case.”

Further streamlining, Adhvith said, “The use case for blockchain in the media and advertising industry is unparalleled not just in media and advertising but in so many industries, be it logistics, or shipping, the use case for blockchain is fantastic. “

Content distribution, consumption, and creation

Unny believes that there is no common definition for Metaverse and web3. Everyone uses these terms interchangeably which are not interchangeable because web3 is all about decentralization and says that during torrenting days onwards, the decentralization was already existing. In that sense, web3 existed since then. He added, “I think it is in that early innovation stage from a stage perspective. Brands will go where the audience is. This is something that is going to go mainstream and at some point brands will be there, it is a no-brainer.”

He explained that at some point for Metaverse and Web3, there will be three levels:

  1. It will meet the need of the audience.
  2. It will meet the need of content distribution, consumption, and creation.
  3. It might create new business models.

He further added, “It will take some time to come to that scale and that no one knows at what stage that is going to come because there are many things. There is hardware and software. So this is going to take time.”

Concluding the panel, Swati adds, “Metaverse is sort of a betaverse right now, we are still experimenting. We don’t know where it is going to go. It could be something very different five years from now so we have to wait and watch in terms of what shape it takes. Metaverse also needs to be dataverse. Right now we are functioning without a lot of data. We don’t know what is actually happening on Metaverse. Once the data is accessible, it is going to go to the next level. Lastly, Metaverse is actually going to be creator-verse, therefore for all of you creators, it will be a huge opportunity.”

web3 AgencyCon 2022 Metaverse and Web3