Blockchain in Digital Marketing – A wave of disruption
By: Rani Arsanios
Friday, July 13th, 2018
Table of content
1. Blockchain in digital marketing – Do or Die
Digital advertising and digital marketing in general, have been constantly disrupted by technology. Over the last decade, we have seen more disruption than ever. From digital advertising to content marketing and social media, we have come a long way. Many of the tools digital marketers have today, were originally created for digital marketing purposes. Be it advertising platforms, social monitoring apps, attribution technologies, A/B testing tools, you name it. Blockchain, however, was never created in the first place for digital marketing but what we have learned over the past few years, is blockchain in digital marketing has a huge potential for disruption and blockchain has the capability to turn the digital marketing world on its head and take it to the next level.
Blockchain as we know it, advocates for a decentralised, trust-less economy where all parties involved don’t have to trust one another to transact. Starting in 2008 / 2009, the aim was to create a peer to peer economy and cut out the middle man. Since then, we have witnessed the birth of hundreds of applications using the technology in several industries.
1.1 What is blockchain?
The technology has three main components
- Distributed ledger
- Consensus algorithms
- Smart contracts
All transactions are recorded in a distributed ledger and the parties involved get to keep a copy. Consensus algorithms help distributed networks to agree on various issues and smart contracts are programmable accords that are executed without human intervention only when provisions are met.
What does that mean?
At the core level, its a group of transactions that are distributed and available for public audit and the ‘proof of stake’. Once a transaction is recorded, it can’t be altered or modified. This is an essential feature for financial transaction which is what made it become quickly popular over the last decade. What we thought was disrupting one industry turns out to be going viral everywhere and today we stand clear on its role in the digital advertising industry in the next few years.
Ways we predict blockchain will disrupt digital advertising
- Increase trust in digital advertising
According to Juniper research, Ad fraud is estimated to cost Advertisers around $19 Billion dollars or 9% of total digital advertising spend this year and expected to grow to $44 Billion by 2022. Where does this huge lump sum disappear? How can we track it? We used to say Digital Marketing allows accurate measurement of ROI and transparency on spending. Compared to traditional marketing, yes, we have made some leaps and bounds but the reality is we are far from the perfect scenario. There is an enormous amount of data that advertisers don’t see yet and blockchain is out there to solve that problem too. We will eventually be able to see exactly where Ad spend is going, decrease fraud and increase attribution. AdEx is one of the new companies introducing this new concept of blockchain based Advertising network.
- Improve targeted advertising
Facebook & Google have been notorious for collecting data about users to use it for targeted advertising. With the latest Facebook privacy scandal and GDPR taking effect, user data collection will be under scrutiny by regulators and the public has become more aware of their privacy rights. What does that have to do with blockchain? Well, blockchain cuts the middleman, right? We could potentially see blockchain based platforms openly and transparently collecting information about their internet users in exchange for compensations and allowing advertisers to target marketing campaigns to them. It is very unlikely that we see any platform taking Google or Facebook, however, the technology stands disruptive and we are seeing new companies like Bitclave introduce this idea already.
- Put money in the pockets of advertisers and publishers
The wave of blockchain in digital marketing is real. With the rise of all of these blockchain based advertising platforms, we see one common theme. They are all cutting out the middle mean and connecting publishers and advertisers through transparent models. For example, Basic Attention token privately monitors the on-device attention of the user for their attention and publishers for their content. The Ads pricing will be based on how much attention the user has given the ad and will be calculated based on incremental duration and pixels in view before any engagement with the ads. What a disruptive concept! At the same time, users’ data never leaves the device and so, privacy is not jeopardised.
Blockchain in digital marketing is inevitable. Its use specifically in Digital Advertising is just scratching the surface and if the big players are not adopting it already, we will see a rebalance in the powers of media buying. The middlemen are certainly going to be pushed back and the winners are going to be users, advertisers, and publishers. We are going to see less fraud and more trust in the advertising process. User experience will improve as they see more relevant content and get rewarded for participating in the ecosystem.