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Still don’t have web3 growth hacking fully figured out? Chill. I have some comforting news for you: no one really does. Not even the experts who have millions of daily active users in their web3 games and experiences.

Skeptical? Watch the video above for proof.

But … that does not mean there is no hope, there are no best practices, there are no paths to follow. There are indeed some profitable paths to take on your web3 growth journey. I recently spent an hour with three luminaries in the web3 space: keep reading for their best insights.

Our guests on this episode of the Web3 Marketing Podcast are:

  • Quinn Campbell, VP of Growth at Sky Mavis (maker of Axie Infinity)
  • Jon Hook, CMO at PlayEmber
  • Dan Reynolds, marketing lead at First Light Games

Customers or partners?

When you’re growth hacking web3 experiences, the first thing you need to do is level-set. You are not in Kansas anymore. Things are different. And while you’re probably going to try to appeal to both web3/NFT natives as well as “normies” who haven’t drunk the crypto Kool-Aid yet, marketing web3 experiences is both historically very new and fundamentally very different than marketing mobile games, CPG, or big brands.

As crazy as it sounds, you’re not primarily looking for paying customers, at least initially.

Of course, you very much do want to grow, be successful, create value, generate revenue, and make a profit. But the primary purpose of successfully marketing new web3 experiences is much more analogous to finding new colleagues than finding new customers.

Think of them as business partners.

Or new community members.

In web2, what people say is: "your first goal is to find your first million paying customers,” Quinn Campbell says. “In web3, it truly is to find the first 10,000 co-owners of your network … because when you're decentralizing ownership through a value-capital token, whether it's a governance token or it's the NFT of your projects itself, you are truly bringing on co-owners of your network in these community members.”

That’s a mind-shift for traditional marketers. And – let’s be honest – given the relative newness of the space, that’s most marketers in web3.

Web3 marketing includes web2 tactics

The next shift: you’re probably going to be using both typical web2 strategies and tactics as well as newer web3 forms of marketing.

So you’re using Telegram, you’re using Discord, you’re airdropping tokens and artifacts, you’re hitting all the conferences, you’re showing up and maybe sponsoring some of the big podcasts or shows, you’re ticking all the web3 marketing boxes. But you’re also going to be creating a presence on traditional social platforms, collecting email addresses as well as wallet connections, buying ads on the web and in mobile apps, and building relationships with key influencers on TikTok.

(Or whatever networks are aligned with your project and your goals.)

At minimum, Campbell says, doing this will automatically segment your users. You’ll know which cohorts are more likely to be web3 native and which are more likely to be new converts, simply based on where you acquired them. Naturally, like all segmentation, this won’t be 100% accurate, but directionally it can be valuable.

For PlayEmber CMO Jon Hook, it’s about who you’re targeting for your game, app, or utility.

If you're gonna onboard the normie, well, where are they? Do they know what Discord is?” he says. “Because the way that you manage and build a Discord channel is very different to building a TikTok channel.”

But it’s still not easy, and there’s no defined rulebook

Even when you’ve level-set and focused on who you want to onboard, it’s not easy.

(Of course, driving adoption of something new never has been.)

Because unlike the mobile app advertising space that many web3 marketers come out of, there’s no set and standard playbook yet in web3 growth hacking, First Light Games marketing lead Dan Reynolds says. Even the most successful web3 marketers are still figuring it out … especially now that the boom is in the rear-view mirror and we’re in the sloped-down part of the hype cycle where you’re doing the hard work of building core technology to fuel another, longer-lasting, more stable ascent.

Maybe in a couple of years we'll be sitting here at Consensus or, I don't know, Token 2049, and we'll have the rule book for how to do this,” Hook says.

Which, if you ask Sky Mavis VP Quinn Campbell, is exactly what makes it “exciting.” If we knew all the answers, everyone could do it.

There’s at least 3 take-aways from this realization:

  1. Try everything
  2. Use tools like Absolute Labs’ Wallet Relationship Management platform that simplifies the task
  3. Build a great product which will be a strong foundation for growth

That’s precisely where Reynolds is living right now:

“One thing that we’re focused very much on right now is to do what we know we are good at, which is creating a good game that’s gonna be enjoyable whilst using as much of the blockchain technology as possible … to use that to essentially bring in real gamers into web3 and sort of convert them into web3 gamers by having a really good game that’s built on the blockchain,” he says. “So, we’re sort of trying to strike this perfect balance between bringing in gamers, and web3 traders, and speculators, and NFT owners at the same time.”

Because every web3 project has multiple stakeholders: users, owners, members, players (in the case of games), and more.

Axie Infinity has counted no fewer than 11 individual archetypes for people who engage. Some just play: they’re there for fun. Some invest and try to make a profit. Others focus on earning Smooth Love Potion, Axie Infinity’s token. Others are core members of the governance structure.

Which of course, just makes the marketer’s job a little more challenging, because you’re not just growing a user base or a cadre of gamers: you’re potentially working to grow all the functional niches in a web3 community that form a mini-society or digital nation.

Check out how Sky Mavis, First Light Games, and PlayEmber are working through that challenge by watching (or listening to) the entire podcast.

Or just read out the full transcript below …

Full transcript: growth hacking web3

(This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)

John Koetsier: Hello everybody and welcome. We’re talking web3 growth hacking. We’re talking with some very cool veterans in the space, some people who know a little bit about what they’re chatting about, and we’re gonna talk about some of the newer methods that people have used to growth hack web3.

We’re gonna talk about some of the older methods that people are using, web2 and other forms of marketing that are still working in web3, and maybe what’s on the cusp and what’s still coming.

Let’s start by giving everybody a chance to kind of introduce themselves. Dan, why don’t you kick us off?

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. Hey everyone, great to be here today. So, a little bit about me. I’ve been sort of in the industry now talking about crypto here for the last few years, deep-diving into NFTs, spending a lot more money than I definitely should be.

Before that, I was the CMO of a nonprofit organization. It was an international-based organization that used to pick up trash from the beaches.

And more recently, I dived into the web3 industry, working for a project called Melon, a creator NFT platform. And I’ve spent the last year working at First Light Games, delivering our game which is due to launch very soon called Blast Royale.

John Koetsier: Nice. Nice. Looking forward to seeing that. Looking forward to hearing a little bit more about what’s in that game, how it works, what the mechanics are, and how you’re gonna market that.

Quinn, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Quinn Campbell: Yeah, sure, John. Thanks. So, my name’s Quinn Campbell. I’m the VP of Growth at Sky Mavis. We are the developers of Axie Infinity, which is a larger NFT game at the time.

And before this, I actually was working in kind of traditional mobile games publishing, which I really, really liked until I started to kind of get a better grasp on how co-optive, I think, a lot of the middlemen, and publishers, and distributors are in traditional gaming. And, you know, it's like that in music, it's like that in movies and TV as well.

And so, right around that time I came across NFT gaming, I saw this idea of direct-to-community distribution, taking the middleman out of the system. And me, as a middleman, I knew that was the future and I had to be a part of it. And so, it’s all kind of rolled from there.

John Koetsier: Very cool. Axie Infinity, of course, super interesting what you guys are doing. Lots of challenges, lots of interesting stuff that you’re kind of trailblazing on.

Jon, give us a quick intro.

Jon Hook: Yeah. Thanks, John. So, similar to Quinn, I’ve spent a lot of time in web2, like mobile gaming and ad tech, and yeah, building, running companies in that space, which is kind of fun, like AdColony, Homa Games, BoomBit.

And yeah, for about the past 12 months now, I’m pretty deep into web3 having a lot of fun testing some stuff.

And I'm currently CMO at PlayEmber, which is just a great example of this journey we're on, that actually it's using mobile games, but actually, it's all about helping and empowering creators, artists, brands, to create and monetize and distribute their content and services, but in just a very different web3 way that doesn't involve just shoving rewarded videos in games and saying, "click here."

So it’s a lot of fun building and architecting that, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the stuff that we’ve learned with all of you.

John Koetsier: Awesome. Why don’t we kind of start here? I kind of wanna level-set. Where are we in web3? Web3 is pretty connected to crypto, obviously, and there’s interesting things going on in that.

We’ve had a hype cycle.

Where are we now? Are we going up? It seems like people are holding their breath. There was such a run-up, and now there’s kind of like … the air’s been let out of the balloon. Where are we, what’s going on? Jon, can you kick us off there?

Jon Hook: Where are we? Well, I think it depends on who you’re asking, right? You know, if you’re a trader or maybe you’re an NFT artist, maybe things aren’t so great right now depending on which protocol and ecosystem you are into.

If you’re a web2 normie, same as usual, like, there’s bigger things going on in the world right now. And you probably …

John Koetsier: Maybe you’re celebrating.

Jon Hook: Yeah. Exactly. You know, you probably are not down massively on your NFT bag because you don’t have a bag, right? So, yeah. I think it really depends on the sort of lens you’re looking at.

But given we’re all talking about gaming, I think the two big challenges, if I’d separate them in summary, web2, you still have people playing games. The key challenge there still is around the monetization of those players, and depending on the genre, and thanks to Apple and ATT, you know, that’s still a huge challenge.

And sadly, you know, seeing a lot of studio closures at the moment because the distribution of games in web2 is pretty hard linked to monetization.

In terms of web3, for me, personally, you know, given the two people that are on this call as well, I'm really excited because there's so much innovation there. We're seeing, finally, blockchain going mobile. So some of these legitimate web3 games, the way that we always hoped they would be, are now starting to drop and go live.

So, for me, on that web3 side it’s just pure excitement right now.

John Koetsier: Quinn, let’s bring you in and ask you kind of the same question because it does feel like there’s some actual real cool stuff happening.

And there are some people celebrating on the sidelines, “See, I told you this web3 stuff was all dumb anyways.”

But are we entering the cusp of new innovation?

Quinn Campbell: Yeah.

I think we're in this really kind of beautiful moment of a bear market. We're able to actually, like, build every day in a way that only a bear market truly affords.

You know, when you’re in this absolutely crazy frenetic bull market, every morning you wake up you literally feel like you’re already behind the eight ball.

And there’s something intoxicating about that, but there’s also something that, you know, kind of is a drag on actually shipping. Whereas, I think there’s definitely a shakeout going on, but the projects that are able to really survive and build through this bear are going to be the foundation of the next decade of NFT gaming and of web3 as well, right?

And I think we’re seeing the shifts of this already because so many projects, especially during the bull market, you know, there was a new NFT gaming project almost every day. And 90% of them were basically just yield farms or DeFi protocols with a gaming wrapper around it. And that’s already starting to disappear.

Now you’re starting to see these game studios go back to their roots of creating a fun sticky core gameplay first and then just sprinkling some web3 magic on top of it.

John Koetsier: Dan, let’s bring you in. It’s funny because we have this confluence of craziness, right? So we had the web3 hype cycle and the bust, now this opportunity to build.

But we have this whole economy thing that’s going on, right? We have this whole supply chain thing that is affecting the whole world. We have inflation, we have other things. It’s all coming at once.

What are you seeing?

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. I mean, I think Quinn really hit the nail on the head with that, really. You know, so much in the real world is uncertain right now, and people are being a little bit more careful than usual.

Again, I do really think this is quite an exciting time being in web3 because really … so many of those projects that aren’t really ever going to be building anything are driving hype. And then before you know it, they’re gone and you never see them again.

It's not so easy for them to be around in this market where we are right now because there isn't the hype that there was when we were right at the peak of things.

And I think this really does give you an opportunity to take your time to research projects, to see what they’re actually doing and follow along the real hard journey that the developers of a game or project need to go on in order to become successful. So, you know, I think it’s a really nice time, even though you could say it’d be great if we launch right when the bull market starts, you know, so many things like this. But I think it’s a really good and exciting moment to be building something proper.

John Koetsier: Quinn, you talked about this return to sanity, of actually building something that’s a game, that’s fun, that’s enjoyable, that’s a good thing to do, and then sprinkling some web3 magic pixie dust on it.

Does this return to basic principles mean that marketing web3 experiences, web3 games can lean heavily on, let’s say, traditional mobile marketing or digital marketing techniques, or not?

Quinn Campbell: That’s a really, really interesting question. I think it’s one that we’re trying to solve for every day.

So far, what we’re seeing is the answer is kind of, like, “Yes, and…”

Our web3 channels are still very productive for us and they're still excellent growth channels as we're exploring some traditional web2 channels as well, like for performance marketing, for instance, we’re actually seeing some interesting success there as well.

And if anything, I think it will kind of segment out who the users are, right? You can always still go after this degen web3 user base with kind of a higher propensity to spend.

But if you really want to go to the masses and onboard the next 100 million, which is like, you know, how do we convert web2 to web3? That's the existential question in our space right now.

Using the traditional channels to reach them where they’re comfortable is a big, big thing to solve for.

John Koetsier: Jon, what are your thoughts there? I mean, the traditional… What is traditional, right?

When web3 started two years ago, three years, five years, whatever it is, the traditional thing was, “Hey, I’ve got Discord, I’ve got Telegram, I’ve got a variety of other sort of new type channels, and I’ll build a list of people, and I’ll generate a lot of interest, and things will happen.” That never worked for me personally, because I … maybe I’m just an old fart, I don’t know, but those channels didn’t work for me.

They’re high noise, low signal, so busy, hard to really parse what’s actually happening. Are those losing some of their power or are we just needing to figure out different ways to use them?

Jon Hook: Again, I think it comes back to just the basics that we all know when you’re making a game is who are you targeting and what is their motivation? And I think to Quinn’s point, this is the interesting thing that we’re trying to figure out, because if you think about these what we don’t know …

So let's take Axie Infinity. You've definitely got some of the early adopters of web3, like web3 degens, they know all about NFTs and tokens and staking, but ... I don't have the analytics or anything to show for this yet, but 100% there are some people in there that will love mobile games,and play mobile games every single day.

It’s just, at the moment, they’ve found something really sort of new and innovating that also fits the player model that they’re looking to explore in terms of putting something into an amazing, fun ecosystem and actually getting something out, whatever that is, whether it’s financial, or more friendship, or some of the other cool stuff that Quinn is playing around with.

So, I think then when you start thinking about channels, it really depends, because there are some people that play a web3 game and they expect Discord, right? That’s their community, that’s their friendship base, that’s how they interact.

Whereas, sort of growing up in hyper-casual and seeing that evolve, it was all, you know, it’s Facebook, and then it’s no Facebook and Snap, and then it’s no Facebook or Snap, and then TikTok, and now it’s all TikTok. Like, what happens to Snap? Oh, yeah, don’t forget that Facebook is Instagram.

And kind of seeing that demographic evolution as sort of everyone goes through different platforms and grows up a little bit, depending on where they migrate to. I think that’s one of the things that I don’t know the answer to, but we’re playing around with.

If you're gonna onboard the normie, well, where are they? Do they know what Discord is?

Or … because the way that you manage and build a Discord channel is very different to building a TikTok channel.

So it’s kind of super fun to unpack that and then try and understand, well, how do you get people jumping between the two? Should they jump between the two? How do you track them between the two? I don’t know.

But yeah, these are all the things that we’re all trying to figure out. Fast forward a few years a bit: we’ve all worked at web2 publishing businesses, and it’s kind of like, “Look, this is just how it works. This is just where you advertise because it’s just what you do.” You know, maybe in a couple of years we’ll be sitting here at Consensus or, I don’t know, Token 2049, and we’ll have the rule book for how to do this.

John Koetsier: It’s funny, because there was a rule book. You knew what to do. You put capital to work on a certain number of partners, right? Dan, you’re dropping a game pretty soon. I mean, what are you guys doing?

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. I think it’s … you know, we are at this moment where nobody really knows what the answer is. Nobody really knows whether …

John Koetsier: That’s not comforting.

Dan Reynolds: Yeah, that’s right. No, but I think, you know, we …

Quinn Campbell: I think that’s what is most exciting about this.

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. Yeah. I think you’ve got this sort of, you know, the web3 sort of speculators, traders, and you’ve got people that are playing mobile, PC, console games, that do not own a single piece of crypto or NFTs. And their challenge is, and the challenge that we face right now is to try and strike that balance between tapping into this, the world of web3 speculators, but also aiming to take the game mainstream around the world.

So one thing that we're focused very much on right now is to do what we know we are good at, which is creating a good game that's gonna be enjoyable whilst using as much of the blockchain technology as possible and staying in the loop with everything new that is coming out or the emerging technology within the space, to use that to essentially bring in real gamers into web3 and convert them into web3 gamers by having a really good game that's built on the blockchain.

So, we’re rying to strike this perfect balance between bringing in gamers, and web3 traders, and speculators, and NFT owners at the same time. So, I would say it’s our biggest challenge. And I’m not gonna come up here and say we have the exact answer. We’ll tell you in a year’s time probably, but…

John Koetsier: And those people have different incentives, right? Gamers: “Let me have fun.” Speculators: “I’m here for a reason. This is work.”

And you know a little bit about that, Quinn. I mean, Axie Infinity, kind of the OG here a little bit, right? I mean, people have been farming, and working, and leasing out property or opportunity to earn in Axie Infinity for some time.

How do you see this?

Quinn Campbell: Sure. Yeah.

So, I think what's so inherently different about really trying to grow and then manage at scale a community of a web3 game versus web2 is just the sheer variety of users, or players, or archetypes that you have in your ecosystem, right?

And, Jon, I think the last time we were on a podcast together we talked about this as well. But, you know, we have like 11 or 12 different player archetypes that we’ve identified within Axie … only about half of them actually play the game.

So that’s where it’s just a complete left turn from what I’m used to coming from web2 gaming. Within that half of those archetypes who play, there are like hardcore PVP battlers, there’s eSports people, there’s people really just playing for fun and escapism, and then there’s also, you know, scholars and SLP [Smooth Love Potion] earners.

Within that half who don’t play, we have people who are doing nothing but heavily participating in our governance discussions for this eventual decentralization of our DAO.

We have people who are just content creators, or like community tooling devs.

And there's absolutely no way to argue that that person is any less valuable to us than somebody actually playing the game every day, or vice versa. And so it even makes it hard to actually come up with entirely new LTV equations and figure out who is really buying and what to optimize for at the end of the day.

But, you know, it’s all just the fun of building on the frontier.

John Koetsier: You are blowing my mind here, Quinn, because I’m listening to you, and I’m saying, “Sure, there is a game. But it’s much more than a game.”

Quinn Campbell: It’s much more.

John Koetsier: It’s a community. In fact, it’s kind of a digital prototype of a society, almost, right, with different people who have different roles, doing different things based on what they’re interested in, what they care about, what they want, what they’re there for.

Quinn Campbell: What they’re passionate about. Yeah. That’s absolutely right.

We call ourselves a digital nation. I’ll do a quick plug. This book, “The Network State” by Balaji Srinivasan, it’s kind of my Bible right now. So I highly recommend it.

But, yeah, I think that’s absolutely true, right? And even a lot of the community side of what our team is doing is trying to think about, how can we provide welfare? You know, not just monetary welfare, but any kind of benefits to your life as a community member, as a Lunassian, basically, that we can.

So we’re even running, you know, almost like the food pyramid, right? Like exercise and diet things just like healthy mindset kinds of things. Anything that we can do to actually bring welfare to our people is a positive kind of exercise for us.

John Koetsier: Let’s talk about interconnectivity. If we talk web3, if we talk people owning certain things, there’s portability there, there’s decentralization.

What about web3 experiences that you guys are invested in, or building, or playing, is portable … is something that I can take and I can put in my “bank” quote/unquote, you know, digital bank or something like that, or I can take and maybe even use somewhere else? Is that a core piece, or is that ancillary?

Dan, how are you thinking about that with First Light Games?

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. You know, I think we are at the very early stages of actually seeing this in action. I think, looking at what we want to do long term with our game, creating this sort of the blastverse and having NFT items that people own and being able to transfer them throughout different games that we develop along the way.

But also creating avenues where people can actually port their NFT pieces into different games, or to go further than just games themselves and to be able to do even more than that, whether it’s lending, or some form of utility that’s beyond the game itself.

I think this is something that we are actively exploring. And I think this is really where, long term, this is gonna be creating an entire world of opportunity around what digital ownership actually means. And I think right now we really are just touching into … you know, even the word interoperability is getting thrown around, metaverse is getting thrown around, yet, we haven’t really …

John Koetsier: Somebody said the M-word.

Dan Reynolds: I think, you know, it’s exciting. It really is exciting. I can’t wait for it all to happen. And being part of this, you know, one of the builders in the space of web3 and tapping into that whole world of this metaverse and how it will plan out. I think that is gonna be the key driver of adoption as well, of being able to own digital collectibles and have the control over what you do with them, and where they are, and what you gain from it, and what value you derive from it.

John Koetsier: Yeah. Jon, I wanna bring you in here. Somebody just said the M-word. And you start thinking about interoperability. I can see it in our family of games. Great. You know, hey, it’s better for our studio because you can use this from that game over there. Excellent.

It’s harder for people who have come up with a scarcity mindset, or this is what we are building to say, okay, you can take it and put it in another publisher’s game or something like that. That’s more challenging as well.

But there’s some things that make some sense to do that, and some things that may not, right? If I look at a physical reality, I could take U.S. dollars and convert them to Euros or something like that. But if I have, let’s say, a Slovenian certificate of citizenship, it’s not worth anything in Croatia or something like that, right?

What’s the balance there, Jon, as you think about web3, metaverse, and portability?

Jon Hook: I think that’s like an entire panel discussion. But I’ll give you my quick two cents, so…

John Koetsier: We need the solution in like three minutes, from you. [laughs]

Jon Hook: Okay. So, quick summary. I think what you’re seeing is… I mean, Quinn touched on it. I think you’ve got web3 native companies that understand the key piece in that is what we’re actually building is, you know, we’re reimagining culture, social trends, monetary… I’m not gonna say policy, but monetary things we can do with financial vehicles.

And that gets very exciting. And I think when you get under the bonnet of what people think are web3 games … and I love that, the digital nation. That’s actually what’s being built, and that blows my mind. That’s also what’s really exciting.

Versus I think when you look at traditional gaming — and I don't mean that in a patronizing way‚ people that have grown up in web2 — what I'm seeing is this idea of decentralization and monetization playing out as actually walled gardens, because they're like, "Hey, hang on a minute. I don't want my asset being used in all these third-party games. I want to control that. So I'm gonna create a closed ecosystem around my games with my own marketplace."

That gives you the ability to own these IEPs and move them around games.

I think you’re already starting to see that. Not just in gaming, you’re seeing Google Apps play around with this as well. So, I think that’s what you’re gonna see in terms of the evolution of marketplaces. You’ll see your specific marketplaces around games. And I heard Z[edd] talking about this at Magic Eden last week in San Francisco, that you’ll also then get, like, more vertical, very specific gaming marketplaces that have got really heavy tooling and infrastructure for some of these bigger AAA games, as well as some sort of broader marketplaces like Fractal, for example, that have maybe not tailoring specific genres, but have the kind of key tools and infrastructure you need for a wider selection of games.

But that’s really how I see the initial split right now.

And again, it makes sense because at the end of the day, we will have businesses to run. And you made that earlier comment about, you know, kind of app downloads and attribution, and if you’re a traditional web2 company you’re probably publicly listed and you have a share price and you need to make money. And that’s what NFTs are, they’re another monetization tool that you can deploy. What’s really exciting here is gonna redefine, I think, generally the world that we live in now is kind of where Axie are headed and a few others, which is, hey, we just have a really interesting opportunity to actually blend together everything, and it just so happens that the vehicle we can do that through is gaming. And I think that’s just really cool.

John Koetsier: That was a great job, Jon. You’re right. That’s a full panel. I mean, that’s a couple of years of evolution in the industry to figure that out if you even get close to it. So that was a great job. And also a good segue, because I wanna turn – and, Quinn, we’ll probably bring you in first here – I want to turn to the thought of web3 marketing stack.

We’re starting to see some evolution of that. We’re starting to see some tools. We’re starting to see some things like wallet relationship management … customer relationship management for the web3 era. We’re starting to see an attribution tool that’s built specifically for web3 in Spindl. I believe that’s Anthony …

Quinn Campbell: Antonio Garcia Mendez [Martinez] or something like that?

John Koetsier: Thank you. Yes, exactly. Formerly from Apple, and I believe Facebook, a couple of different places. Eric Seufert has invested in that; a lot of others as well.

Quinn, what are you seeing in the development of a web3 marketing stack? Is it super nascent right now, or is it starting to kind of emerge out of the mist?

Quinn Campbell: Maybe both at the same time. It is super nascent. But, you know, like over the last two months, I’ve started just having tons of conversations.

So, there's a little bit of Cambrian explosion going on and everybody's doing really, really cool stuff. And you touched on some of them, right? Like, trying to solve for attribution in web3 is awesome, because that probably was the biggest headache for me in the first six months of my job.

It just didn’t exist, and we ended up having to hack together a couple of existing web2 attribution tools as well as doing some things on our own side, just to get it working in web3. That’s amazing that people coming now can just use, you know, tools that exist.

Wallet relationship management is really, really cool to me.

I’m starting to see a couple too that are able to actually attach hot wallet addresses to social media accounts, which is kind of scary but also really powerful from a growth marketer’s perspective. You know, there’s a lot of like quest and soulbound token-related attribution kind of projects coming out as well. So, I think it’s really, really exciting, but it’s all very early. I would actually be really curious about what Jon and Dan are seeing on this front too, because I’m still even shaping my thoughts on it, to be honest.

John Koetsier: Love it. Dan, jump in.

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. I mean, not sure how much I can add to this one because it’s something that we are literally exploring at this stage right now. I think being able to… with wallet addresses connected to marketplaces, connected to social media accounts, I mean, this opens up an entire new realm of what you can do with sort of tracking addresses, and marketing, and whether it’s user acquisition.

And, you know, I put my hands up and say, “I think this is still quite early, or we are also…” I mean, I’m personally at the stage where I’m diving into it right now to learn as much as possible, but it is something we are discussing as to what we can do.

And I think there’s gonna be a huge opportunity here for marketing. I think really that’s the next sort of … it’s something that’s completely unique to web3, and I think this is something that once this really does open up and we start to see this in action and bringing in a lot of results as well, I think this is going to be a big driver for traditional game developers to consider exploring the web3 world a little bit more than what they currently are.

John Koetsier: Jon, jump in, and then I’ve got some follow-ups on this.

Jon Hook: So, a few thoughts. One, there’s a lot of lawyers getting really rich over this. When you think about GDPR, like, what is the web3 version of GDPR?

John Koetsier: You went exactly where I was gonna go. Web3, right? I mean, I have johnkoetsier.eth and you can see a lot about … [laughs]

Jon Hook: Yeah. But I think this is the thing I’m curious about.

So, again, think about audiences. You’ve got the web3 degens. We gotta know the whole concept of blockchain and what you can scrape and find out. What I’m interested to see is this next billion come on board and everything we’re talking about matures. How are they gonna feel about the idea that all of a sudden everything, all of the digital data or wherever it lives is now fully transparent?

Because that was one of the big challenges in web2. Obviously, if you think about the most recent thing with ATT, you now have the choice about whether to be tracked or not at a most simplistic level.

So, I think I'm quite curious about that because I've seen a lot of really cool startups fail around the premise in web2 allowing people to monetize and have control of their data that actually, with the backdrop of Cambridge Analytica, you would've thought people actually give a shit about, but it turns out that they actually don't, and those businesses failed. And I've already seen some of these trying to do the same in web3.

And so I’m kind of curious to see how this plays out, because that is one of the interesting things with marketers in web3 is that through wallet creation you get email address, social login, the whole wealth of data that … you know, for me, so long as you let people know what they’re opting in for, I think that is our job to bring them something really cool in web3 where they don’t actually even question that or even think, “Oh, hang on a minute, how do they know that about me? Where are they getting that from?”

Because the whole experience is so cool.

And as we were already talking about, there is that return. There’s a clear… whether it’s ownership, and that’s a big word, but there is something that they are putting in and getting a reward for it. And now, perhaps, finally, blockchain technology solves this problem that web2 we couldn’t quite figure out.

And to be able to do that successfully, your original question that we’ve gone on a tangent for is this attribution piece. And the thing I find curious is that people have got businesses to run. I still find a lot of these companies that I talk to are very focused on browser-based experiences right now in gaming, because that’s where a lot of the original eyeballs are. And it’s like, “Okay, how about mobile?” It’s like, “Oh no, no, no. We’re not touching that. We’ll leave that to AppsFlyer, Adjust, Kochava, right, you know, Singular, whoever.”

And I find that kind of interesting. I’m like, “Okay. But why are you not building cross-platform? Because that’s where it is and where it’s going.” They’re like, “Oh, well, we’ll just focus on browsers for now.” So, it’s nice to see actually a few cross-platform attribution companies now figuring this out.

John Koetsier: You hit the nail right on the head. Is that in the web3 world, I mean, people used to think crypto, hey, private money. Not really. Actually, as many people who have tried to steal some have found out, right?

The blockchain is there, and it’s public, and there’s a public record. And maybe we’re gonna need some kind of evolution in wallets, right? Because do I want everybody to be able to drop stuff on my wallet? Do I need a private part of a wallet and a public part of a wallet? Do I want to hook up my wallet to every web3 experience I come across and think, “Oh, wow, that’s interesting,” and then find out, “Oh, shoot. There was an error in the smart contract and my wallet got drained and oops, I’m screwed?”

It’s a challenging still-evolving ecosystem that isn’t necessarily completely safe for the normies, as somebody said. Any thoughts on that, Quinn?

Quinn Campbell: Yeah. The space as a whole definitely has a long way to go, you know, making it to the point where my mom is comfortable onboarding into web3.

But my mom was also uncomfortable using email like 15 years ago. And guess what? Nowadays if you don't use email, you don't participate in society, right?

So, of course, she’s very comfortable with email now. We’re just kind of waiting on that moment to come with web3. And it’s inevitable, you know, it absolutely will. But there’s definitely a bit of a watershed that has to happen.

John Koetsier: I think we should start to bring this to a bit of a close. And it seems, from what I’ve heard from each of you, it’s still a little bit wild wild west, still a little bit gorillas in the mist, you know, not totally clear. And, Quinn, you said that’s the most exciting thing about this world right now.

Quinn Campbell: It is. Yeah.

John Koetsier: You know, we’re inventing it, we’re building it as we come. If somebody is engaging in or thinking about engaging in marketing a web3 experience platform game… maybe I’ll ask each of you to give your three minutes of advice. And who shall I pick on first?

I think, Dan, go for it.

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. Great question. My piece of advice would be to fully immerse yourself in this space to a point where you sort of you’ve been there, done that, and you’ve experienced things such as buying NFTs, and creating wallets, and minting your first NFT, to seeing how different projects conduct their mint to the full circle of transferring crypto from wallet addresses, to exchanges, to withdrawing that back into your bank account.

[Dan had a minor connectivity problem, but Quinn continued on the same topic: starting out in web3 marketing…]

Quinn Campbell: I think one would be about being very deliberate about who you’re targeting.

A lot of projects, they see these awesome growth hacks that, you know, large NFT sales and X-to-earn nomenclature can do for your project. And it definitely can, but you gotta keep in mind you're not really going to be attracting long-term high LTV users at that point. You're attracting either, like, scholars who are kind of net negative LTV, or you're attracting speculators who can actually kind of crash all of your assets.

So, I think that would be a major, major focus for me. And then the other two are… there are actually some really cool growth tech projects out there that can help you in the early days, which we didn’t have at Axie. These are the projects I’ve just seen in the last two months. So, I would explore those.

A project by the name of Safary, with a Y — S-A-F-A R-Y by Justin Vogel — comes to mind.

And he actually just put out a tweet like two weeks ago, where he did a diligence on all of the web3 growth tech space, and he identified like 80 different projects and everything they were doing. I think that would be a really awesome place to start as well to see what is a strong fit for the early days of actually building a community, building a project.

Maybe if I can plug one more piece. I know I’m kind of speaking a bit ad nauseam here, but one thing I like to say all the time, and Jon Hook, I know you’ve heard me say this before, but it’s so true, right?

In web2, what people say is your first goal is to find your first million paying customers. In web3, it truly is to find the first 10,000 co-owners of your network. Because when you're decentralizing ownership through a value-capital token, whether it's a governance token or it's the NFT of your projects itself, you are truly bringing on co-owners of your network in these community members.

And so, being comfortable getting concierge, getting white glove kind of service to actually find these first key community members, that is the cornerstone of what you’re building going forward.

John Koetsier: Interesting. Super interesting. Your first 10,000 co-owners. Absolutely love it. Jon, your three minutes of advice?

Jon Hook: Three minutes. So, I think the first one is just getting to the web3 mindset. I think one of the biggest challenges of moving from web2 to web3 is just this attitude of, “Oh, I’ve done it before in web2. This is just kind of how it works, and just cut and paste”… and Quinn just, you know, that analogy of your first 10,000 co-owners, well, there you go, right? Totally different mindset. So, you just prepare yourself for that. You need to just start getting involved in some projects. It doesn’t mean you have to buy the NFT, but just start hanging out in Discord and start listening and understanding some of those core differences that you just don’t get in web2. So I think that’s really crucial.

Two, I mean, you’ve heard a lot on this podcast already: Start doing your research about your web3 growth stack, because there are a lot of really exciting new companies out there. And yeah, I agree about Safary. I met Justin last week, and I think what they’re doing is really interesting and a great initiative. So, I think just early on, start looking and talking to as many like web3 partners as you can to analyze and make some decisions on what we do in-house? What can we build on top of, versus what do we absolutely need to partner with and build up knowledge in?

And the third thing, given that we’re all kind of in gaming, is again, make some decisions based on one and two about what it is you are building. Because I still see the future with two types of games. Like mobile-first, like amazing… There are games, first and foremost, that depending on whether it’s AAA, mid-core, RPG, hyper-casual, are gonna require a different tech stack, versus, you know, there is absolutely nothing wrong, and I feel bad because I think people are just a bit down on Gamefy, and I think that is a different beast in its own right. And it’s perfectly okay. And it’s kind of like gamers versus Gamefy, just like hitting on each other.

But I think if that’s what you’re going down, that’s great. But it’s obviously – the clue’s in the name – more DeFi-heavy and their kind of like tooling and the expectation of the people within that are clearly gonna be more finance-orientated. There’s gonna be some similarities in terms of growth stack, but some of the backends, especially if you start thinking about the wallet and the concept of staking and what that looks like, will look very different to that Gamefy audience versus maybe a more traditional gaming audience.

John Koetsier: That’s a great point, Jon. And you know what? Some nations are Switzerland, some are, you know, United States of America. Right? There are different nations for different types of people and that’s 100% fine. No worries. Dan, we kind of lost you in the ether there, you were lost in the metaverse. You came back. Thank you. Can you restart your sort of three minutes of advice for somebody who is brand new to web3 marketing and what you would suggest they do?

Dan Reynolds: Yeah. Brilliant. Thanks for allowing me back in. I thought the internet would hold up at least 5, 10 more minutes for me. But, yeah, you know, I really do think that in order to really get ahead of the game and to market in the most efficient way possible, I really do think that you need to immerse yourself in the entire realm of web3 as much as possible. I would go as far to say that it would be worth buying some NFTs, it would be worth having staked some NFTs, it’d be worth experiencing a mint and an airdrop and how all of that works from being a customer from that point of view.

And I think until you really have gone through the hardships of not knowing if your money transferred or your crypto transferred from one wallet to the next, or to actually doing it and losing money, I think until you’ve really lost some crypto or been rugged by a few NFT projects… This may sound silly, but I think until you’ve experienced that, you can’t fully relate with what your customers in the future might be thinking and might have gone through. .

No, I think, just to touch on what Jon mentioned there, I think there’s so much research that should be done. You really need to read as… I would say, read a lot of books, but there probably won’t be so many books out just yet on all of this. So, I would be watching podcasts like this to cipher as much as possible and to really go through the entire experience. Research, research, research. But on top of that, just trial and error. All of this, at the moment, I would say, is a whole lot of testing, and you’ve just gotta get your hands dirty and try it. When it fails, look back at what failed and then try something new next time.

Quinn Campbell: If I may, John. I really love that last point, Dan. You know, I think that failure is not just part of the development process in web3, but public failure is part of the development process in web3. You’ve just gotta be ready for it and you gotta lean into it. And your community is so much more forgiving because they’re your co-owners alongside you.

John Koetsier: Oh, wow. I love it. Dan is all like of the “suffer sucker” school of learning how to market the web3, and Quinn is like the masochist. [laughs] “I’m suffering, and it’s in public.” In that spirit, I have a confession to make for you guys. I told you guys I just came back from Web Summit and this is my first morning, I’m kind of on European time still, so I was up really early. I usually don’t get down into my office space here till like 8:00 am. I came in at like 7:00 am, and guess what was on my calendar? This. And I had totally forgotten. It was, like, my first day back. I hadn’t prepped, I hadn’t, you know, “I’ll ask this person that thing, and this person, that thing.” I think it kind of worked out, honestly. And I want to thank each of you guys. Jon, amazing insights. Really do appreciate it. You pulled this together as well; you pulled these guys together. Thank you for that. Quinn, so great to hear from you and Axie Infinity, what you guys are doing there. Dan, First Light Games, thank you so much. It’s been a real pleasure. Thank you, guys, all. And maybe we’ll do this again in six months and maybe we’ll know more.

Quinn Campbell: Looking forward to it.

Dan Reynolds: Great to have been here, guys. Thank you very much.

Jon Hook: Yeah, I loved it.

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