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How Web3 Will Transform Year-in-Review Brand Campaigns

Closed System → Open System

It’s that time of year again. December has rolled around and it feels like every brand is publishing a Year in Review, filled with statistics on your year using their products & services. And rightfully so — Year in Review (YIR) campaigns receive tons of engagement, and each customer’s YIR is uniquely their own. Nevertheless, with the latest technological advancements, YIR campaigns are about to get so much more exciting for consumers.

The first brand to make a major splash with a YIR campaign was Spotify with Spotify Wrapped. Since 2015, the music streaming service has been sending out an annual breakdown of each person’s yearly listening activity.

Your social media feeds are likely filled with colorful boxes displaying which artists, songs, and genres of music your friends streamed the most in the past year. This feature was intentional — it seamlessly makes it possible for you to share your listening data with your friends. Not only did Spotify Wrapped engage the base of existing listeners through a fun and shareable moment, but it also gave non-Spotify users a reason to use Spotify, so they could participate in the same year-end activity. The campaign was such a success, that YIR campaigns have become table stakes for all sorts of consumer-facing companies (including Uber, Strava, and many others).

Single platforms are limited in their ability to capture an all-encompassing picture of a customer, fan, or user.

But Spotify Wrapped falls short in some areas — the social comparison data it shares (i.e. “You were in the top 1% of Drake listeners”) is not a full picture of your relationship with an artist. For example, maybe you split your time between Spotify and Apple music; or maybe you only listen to podcasts on YouTube. You may even be an avid concert attendee, but don’t spend much time engaging digitally.

In any case, all of your activity engaging with an artist outside of the Spotify ecosystem is not accounted for.

What if there was a way to track all of your engagement with an artist across all mediums, channels, and platforms — both in the digital and physical world?

Traditional relationships between brands, customers, and ad platforms lean heavily in favor of the platforms.

Traditional relationship between brands, customers, and platforms — value accrues to the platforms

Blockchain technology unlocks the ability to verify an individual’s identity & activity and reward them across platforms.

One of the major advantages of blockchain technology is that it’s a common language, a shared system of publicly verifiable records. Since it’s an open system, anyone (i.e. an artist or brand) can add integration endpoints to authenticate actions — and because those endpoints are standardized, a single person can carry a single identifier (called a “wallet”) anywhere across the physical or digital world.

In the case of an artist or brand, which operates across many different channels & platforms, this means that they can now track an individual person’s actions across any of those channels.

Closed System → Open System

Single platform sees individual customer data with many brands →
Brand sees individual customer data across many platforms.

Platform owns data → Customer owns data

With web3 technology, value can now accrue to brands and customers, and away from major ad platforms.

The new relationship dynamic between brands, customers, and platforms, enabled by blockchain technology

As an example, let’s say you’re a Snoop Dogg superfan. You attend several concerts each year, you follow & engage with his social media accounts, you watch his podcast on YouTube, and you listen to his music on a mix of Spotify and Apple Music. Those are several different touchpoints that, if there were a way to accurately measure, would typically make you a top 0.1% fan of Snoop Dogg.

However, because you only listen to his music on Spotify a few times per month, your Spotify Wrapped campaign is telling you you’re only a top 20% fan of Snoop Dogg.

Now, let’s take this even further and say that Snoop Dogg wants to offer his top 1,000 fans a free, special edition t-shirt that’s only available to these fans. On top of that he wants to offer his top 50 fans of the year exclusive access to a private party he’s throwing in LA.

Based on your Spotify listening data (the current way to measure fan engagement), you’re not being categorized as a superfan and won’t receive those rewards. However, if Snoop Dogg (a “brand”) created a free-to-join membership program that integrated with each of his various channels (i.e. social channels, Spotify, Apple Music, IRL concerts, his online Shopify store, and more), it is now possible to track the most loyal fans in a holistic manner, and by doing so, more accurately reward true loyalty beyond just listenership on a single platform.

It’s easy to see how this concept applies not only to artists, but any brands — businesses, creators, sports teams, and more.

Traditionally, there was really no way to measure (and reward) fan engagement outside of an artist or brand’s own ecosystem. Now, anyone can reward their fans for interacting with them across any number of third-party platforms, retailers, or channels.

As a business example, imagine a coffee shop that sells prepared food and drinks out of its physical stores, merchandise online through Shopify, and canned beverages in third-party retailers. Beyond points of sale, they have a social media presence across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and they even partner with the next-door brewery for co-branded products. As the environment in which brands operate becomes increasingly complex, it becomes more difficult to accurately verify an individual’s actions, properly reward them, and gain insights.

Vertical interoperability

The concept of a single identity across all touchpoints of a single brand is called vertical interoperability (we touched more deeply on interoperability in a previous blog article). With a more holistic picture of a single customer’s actions and preferences, a brand can not only offer more personalized experiences, but now they can more accurately measure who their most loyal fans are and reward them accordingly.

So back to the original topic — Year in Review campaigns. A YIR campaign is an exciting way to send customers interesting visualizations showing how they engaged with a brand over the course of the year.

Previously these YIR campaigns were limited to the platforms (i.e. Spotify, Uber, Strava) — those who own the data. However, new technology enables brands to connect the dots for every fan journey across all of their channels.

And why not take it step further? Rather than just telling fans how engaged they were over the course of the year, actually reward them for it!

Turn fan engagement into a two-sided experience where fans are rewarded for loyalty to their favorite brands.

We’re at a turning point for how marketers capture data and gain insights into customer behavior. Value is flowing away from advertising platforms and directly towards brands, creators, and their communities of customers & fans.

At Hang, we’re powering this paradigm shift by enabling brands to create their loyalty programs and provide value directly to their customers.

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