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The Map of Onchain Distribution. 5 ways to reach wallet owners and what to lookout for in each of them
If you are in Web3 growth and don't use wallet data for advertising, are you really in Web3 growth?
Historical background: In 2022 everyone was analyzing wallets. No one knew what to do with the results, but the charts and tables looked really impressive. Over time (as soon as the founders realized that they won’t make money out of charts and tables) teams started to spread in different directions, assumingly closer to the application: some went into Web3 CRMs, some (in this case A LOT) built analytics APIs, and the rest went into consumer-facing distribution layer—ads, airdrops, referrals, and all that good stuff. Because after analytics was solved, a much trickier question arose:
Once the right audience is segmented and the wallet addresses obtained, what do I do with it next?
Wallet-first distribution map
There are only so many ways to reach a user: you either can use permissionless public channels, create your own medium with the traffic, or partner with someone who has the traffic.
Public channels. Aka airdrops—present the simplest way to send your message directly to a wallet. This is the beauty and the curse of this channel. Something that works for everyone ends up working for no one. Simplicity and lack of control made it lucrative for spammers, and the amount and risks associated with everything landing in the user's wallet made airdrops completely useless. dApps and wallets hide airdrops to protect users from spam, and in the end, such ads receive no impressions. Projects building in this category include: Venly, Novel, WalletAds, Flambo, SuperDAO, and others.
Realistic coverage: next to nothing
What creative ways to get to the user's eyeballs did the team come up with?
Since there are no ways to track views, what CTR and ROI does the product show with respect to the initial budget / number of airdrops sent?
Creating your own traffic. Why then, not create your own managed platform, where wallets could be reached for a fee, that will help to curate serious advertisers and limit spam—that must’ve been what the founders of Dispatch, Salsa, DeBank Hi, and other direct-to-wallet messengers alike thought.
There’ve also been other experiments with finding ways to make users connect their wallets and watch ads, like putting ads on the user’s homepage through a Chrome extension, to the extent that even Brave browser follows this model if you think about it.
The problem with this model is that a large user base is hard to build, especially in web3, while any adtech business requires millions of impressions to be a meaningful distribution channel. Furthermore, If this is just a spam mailbox where the user receives ads—no one is going to open it in the first place, so fundamentally, the team needs to build another successful product that the user will want to use, and then place ads in it (like a browser, publication, or a social platform).
Realistic coverage: tens to hundreds of thousands UAW
How many real active users does the project have? What’s the UAW (Unique Active Wallets)?
What does economics (CAC) look like? Advertising through DeBank Hi will cost you $1000 in CPM minimum, what returns does it show?
Is the traffic limited to a single chain?
The teams that were not ready to build their own Facebook turned to a much more scalable and less risky option, that is to mediate traffic between a large number of publishers and advertisers while focusing purely on adtech functionality and leveraging the economy of scale.
It’s not a new paradigm for web2, but in the case of Web3 the infrastructure and possibilities coming with new data are drastically different, which created a playing field for new kinds of ad networks.
Placing ads in the Metaverse. What’s a metaverse in the first place, you may ask. For the sake of simplicity, here we’ll consider Blockchain-based 3D Online MMORPGs, which allow proving ownership of in-game assets, like Decentraland or The Sandbox. Considering that the main idea of the metaverse is that a lot of people will hang out there, it makes sense to advertise on the available in-game surfaces. The prominent players who are trying to tackle it are Anzu, Landvault, AdShares, and MetaAds (different Meta).
The limitations of this method are straightforward: 1) there is no real traffic in the Metaverse today; 2) creating and placing in-game content requires much higher upfront investments than display banners or even minting NFTs, while also closing the door for compatibility across platforms. This leaves metaverse at the position of an overpriced niche channel for clout chasers, but not an efficient adtech platform. At least for now.
Realistic coverage: thousands to tens of thousands UAW
How many real active users does the project have? Does it have access to the main user wallet?
What does it take to place the ads there? Do you have to hire anyone to do development for you?
What tracking and reporting are available? How will you know what you’ve paid for?
Placing ads in the dApps. By far, the largest of web3 distribution channels, as it unites a large number of dApps with existing traffic on the terms of partnerships, allowing dApps to monetize without dealing with the adtech part. This allows compatibility and optimization of traditional web2 Ads through standardized display banners and hence the highest efficiency and CAC per wallet.
The obstacles of working with ad networks like Slise.xyz, HypeLab, Pr3sence, BlockchainAds, and others who do exactly this, is that direct web3 traffic is difficult to acquire (try to recall how often you see the ads in dApps). The total dApp market is still small and amateur, and it will take for projects to open up to placing ads and for the volume of traffic to grow.
On the bright side, most of these providers are multichain, meaning that unlike other channels it can work if for your edgy and cool layer 1, or even allow to target users from other chains!
Realistic coverage: millions to tens of millions UAW
How many wallets on your target chain does the network cover?
Does it have personalization and targeting, or simply charges CPM without using wallet data?
What are the publishers in the network? Are they credible? What kind of audience do they have?
Finding Web3 users in Web2. The most edgy and technically complex channel of all, but also the one with the highest potential volume, is tapping into the audience of Web2 publishers.
In this scenario, you’re still able to target users based on their wallet, but on the surfaces where they don’t connect it, e.g. web2 social media, crypto-publications, web2 ad networks, or even email! Solutions of this kind offer to connect web3 and web2 identifiers, and each of them has its own way to make it possible.
For example, Addressable allows re-targeting web3 users in social networks, while Slise can help you reach wallet owners on web2.5 platforms with a lot of hits like media publications and coin trackers. Another seemingly tangent vertical is whitelisting and giveaway platforms like Premint and Quest3. You may know them as tools for attracting large volumes of untargeted cheap traffic, but if you look at them closer, they’re harvesters of user identifiers like twitter, discord, and email id’s that potentially can be used for targeted outreach (to the best of our knowledge none of them provide such functionality yet).
Realistic coverage: millions to hundreds of millions UAW
With no two solutions alike in this category, it will be difficult to compare them head-to-head, but metrics and case studies on coverage, CTR, CAC, and ROI are still your best friends.
Take note of the quality of the traffic, does it represent your audience or made out mostly of quazi-bots hunting for freebies?
Make sure to understand how the data is collected to not stain your brand reputation.
You’ve made it to the end, what a true legend!
If you want to test advertising to a particular audience of token-holders, don’t hesitate to contact us at Slise.xyz, where we work hard to create the largest network of web3-native publishers. Want to place the ads and monetize? Reach out to us as well!