GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 54 - November 2022

As the world continues to shift and digitization proliferates as a result of the pandemic, the importance of developing communities for affiliates and operators is more important than ever o much of our lives have been digitalized since the COVID-19 pandemic entered our lives in March 2020. Before the pandemic, we had already seen an increased demand for streaming networks and remote work. But in the last two-plus years, new industries and words have emerged that we could never have imagined would be connected to the gambling industry, such as Web3, metaverse, non-fungible tokens and meme stocks. But what compels companies like Disney, Twitter and Microsoft to quickly jump on these emerging trends? The answer is traffic from communities. Large communities started to build more rapidly during the pandemic as people worldwide became more digitalized. We saw the meme stock incident on Reddit, where a whole community had the power to change the outcome for GameStop, its beloved childhood store. We saw the revenue rise of Discord communities such as Bored Ape and CryptoPunks, which are communities of owners to collections of NFT products that they all believe in and contribute to. And then there’s Facebook, which jumped on the trend and changed its name to Meta, just to confuse users about where the word metaverse originated from. Communities are also a large part of the latest trend. Web3 is the decentralized future of the internet. In Web3, the internet is no longer controlled by big corporations that earn lots of money from users. Instead, the future of Web3 holds a creator economy where users get ownership and payment for their content and engagement on a platform. It’s very similar to Play2Earn, which is also part of Web3. To put Web3 in context, right now in Web2, Facebook is the owner (and biggest revenue beneficiary) of any post that an influencer makes viral on their platform. In Web3, the user who engages with the influencer’s post would get paid by Facebook for their likes, comments or shares. In other words, Web3 is a creator economy. Here is where the importance of communities comes in. Traditionally, for affiliates and operators, the focus has been on SEO and media buying to increase acquisition. But with this generational shift comes new challenges for our industry to innovate the user experience and functionalities to suit this new digital generation. There are plenty of opportunities for brands to generate more revenue streams as early adaptors to the content creator economy, but in 2023, affiliates and operators will face the biggest challenge of converting followers to communities. To succeed in a creator economy, gaining a large community that supports and engages with your brand is vital. Remember, followers do not equal community, because followers and community are not the same. But a large community is guaranteed to convert traffic into sales, contrary to a large following base. A follower is simply a fan who tracks the success of your product, but a community member is an investor who spends time, energy and, in some cases, money to make your product successful. Of course, a fan may become a community member, but what does it take to make that conversion, and why is it so important? What differentiates a follower from a community member is the feeling of belonging. You might have thought that with the increased digitalization of our lives, we would have decreased our emotions like robots. But these emerging trends have proven to be the opposite. To successfully build a community, you have to make the members feel like they belong to the brand to the point that the product is as much theirs as yours. 17 G P W A t i m e s . o r g