Cary Tilds, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer at Frameplay and co-founder of the Web3 Marketing Association, shares her predictions for the coming 12 months.
What is your outlook for the coming year in media?
We have gone through such turbulent times in the last few years, and I still believe that consumers and media practitioners alike are going to be driven by the economic outlook, frankly.
If Google holds its ground and delivers the final nail in the coffin for third-party cookies, that will certainly be disruptive. It also highlights the change needed in how we connect to consumers in more meaningful ways with privacy at the centre.
That leads to the idea of what good quality content is, and how do you know you’re using good quality content to connect to consumers at scale? That's been a problem. Ideas like context, quality attention and mindset will be the predominant conversations in 2023.
It feels at times like the digital marketing handbook is being ripped up and the industry is being asked to start all over.
I don't think the handbook should be ripped up. I just think we need to add a new chapter, and the new chapter should borrow from the lessons we've learned. That's part of our innovation journey as an as an industry.
Which media trends do you think will be most important in 2023?
Brands should continue to rethink everything. They should do it through the lens of value, authenticity, content, community, connection – and I do not necessarily mean social media – the idea of mental health and self-care, and exploration through the lens of extended reality, whether that be games or Metaverse or extended commerce.
But the biggest idea when rethinking everything is that the definition of engagement in the future requires an understanding of gamification. Gamification brings the idea of value-add or value exchange to engagement. That’s the new idea: if I do something, I get something. We have an entire generation trained to the idea of gamification on some platforms. When we get to the eventuality of extended reality opportunities or the Metaverse, brands will need to understand the principles of gamification so that they can evolve their idea of how to engage consumers – not just in extended reality environments, but overall for their business.
We’re seeing players like Netflix creating ad-funded subscription tiers. Do you think we have a difficult situation in terms of the value exchange between consumers and media owners?
That's the tip of the iceberg. If you look at the principles of gamification, it's the idea that there is a value exchange, or you receive something because you achieved something. Watching a Netflix show is not achieving anything. I actually think that the Netflix strategy is pretty smart, but how do they push the idea further in Netflix as a platform? How did they engage their users, using the principles of gamification, to have them navigate content? Here's an example: if I watch three Netflix shows in one week, and I normally only watch one Netflix show in a week, can I watch one of those shows commercial-free because I have achieved a certain level of loyalty to Netflix? That’s gamification. It's thinking about the value exchange between a person's time and their engagement and how you then provide value back to that person for doing those things. I believe this is one of the biggest principles that brands need to learn, and I think very few brands truly understand this.
How will gaming evolve its place in the media ecosystem in the coming 12 months?
We are still in an education phase. Gaming is that one of the most significant, global, high-quality content streaming channels that exists. Forget the ads – just look at how much time people spend interacting with video games. Within that, yes, we’re trying to figure out where the brand authentically shows up? Because this channel demands authenticity. Even the most casual of gamers are put off because it’s a really private thing to play a video game if you're playing alone. That's your time and you can't disrupt that with bad ads. But there are lots of great examples emerging, and Cannes LIONS has added a gaming category. I'm very proud of that evolution. We have new IAB standards, we have a lot of proof in the industry that video games work for brands – it’s going to be a year of education, inspiration and growth.
What do you anticipate in terms of the adoption of Web3 technologies and platforms?
Exploration continues to be the theme. There will be Metaverse experiences without a crypto requirement, there will be new features coming out, and I think that brands will need to lean into building global communities through evangelists and their organisations. A couple of things need to happen on the standards front for the industry to be really mature. I am a co-founder of the Web3 Marketing Association (W3MA) and we participate in the Metaverse Standards Forum. They're doing intelligent work, but there's a lot to do. I know the IAB is talking about Web3, but it has a significant roadmap in 2023 just to address the growth of CTV, gaming and privacy changes, etc.
On the metaverse side, we need to educate and we need to create strategies around how to approach it. On the experience side of Web3 in extended reality, brands need to figure out how they create a value exchange and they need to figure out gamification to create really great Web3 experiences. Nike ‘.SWOOSH’ is one of the best ones I've seen yet.
Looking beyond 2023, what are your predictions for brand and consumer engagement with the metaverse?
This is the perfect time, especially for the bigger brands, to connect with consumers in interesting ways. They need to have good advisors, which is why the W3MA is really important. They need to take time to have a plan, instead of rushing in to test a bunch of things.
Web3 is about curating and consistently connecting community with a shared sense of value and purpose. And sometimes, that can mean around the love of shoes like in Nike.SWOOSH. It doesn't mean they have to necessarily own the community. They just have to know how to authentically join in. Social media showed the world how to connect differently and educated everybody that we can make connections in a digital multi-sensory manner. Now this extends into Web3 and the metaverse.