There are a few industries that blockchain enthusiasts claim will be uprooted by the nascent technology; banks, notaries, and supply chain management are among a few, but what about marketing? It's an industry that is riddled with scams, data breaches, fraud, and dishonest players. In other words, it's begging for a blockchain takeover.
Don't take it personally, people today simply don't trust businesses as much as they used to. Recent stories surrounding companies like Facebook and Equifax give some insight into why consumers may feel this way. Essentially, customers don't know what's going on behind the scenes at the companies they may engage with every day. Once the news of a data breach or product recall hits the mainstream media, gaining back the trust of a scorned customer can be a difficult task. The flip side is that customers who feel they can trust businesses they interact with are more likely to become the illustrious return customer.
"Media is now the least trusted institution as 22 out of 28 countries surveyed responded with distrust for their media platforms and sources."
Blockchain tech helps create the dreamy, transparent organization that every company wants to be, and every customer wants to be with. Vitalik Buterin, the founder of the popular Ethereum protocol, suggested the idea of codifying a company's mission statement on the blockchain. Ensuring that it follows the goals it sets for itself in a transparent and verifiable system. Any organization's supply chain can be validated on the blockchain, making it easy to verify the claims of organic, sustainable, or fair trade companies. Quality control issues could be located and solved in a fraction of the time it takes now, and consumers could even avoid infamous fake news sources by visiting outlets that have been verified on the blockchain and deemed as trustworthy.
This is all good news for those honest companies who are already operating with social, economic, and ecological goals in mind. Giving consumers a transparent view of your organization's everyday activity will speak for itself in a world overcome with distrust and bad actors.
More than 60% of the over $70 billion dollars worth of ad revenue is shared between two companies, Facebook and Google. What's worse, over $16 billion of that revenue is wasted on fraudulent clicks and impressions from bots. Having firsthand experience with digital advertising, I know that it can definitely work when done correctly. However, over time, analyzing the results of campaigns always left me at a loss for words. Facebook said our campaign did great, we paid for thousands of clicks and got tons of traffic to our website. Yet when I check where the sources are coming from on Analytics, I see barely half the amount of visitors that Facebook reported, and their country of origin is absolutely not in my target market.
One blockchain project in particular is pioneering changes in the digital advertising industry that addresses this issue head on. AdChain is a Token Curated Registry for validating domain names that host advertisements. AdChain will provide a transparent data set of impressions that allow advertisers and publishers to audit their campaigns and verify the legitimacy of the clicks and impressions gained from their marketing efforts. Submitting, approving, challenging, and voting on domains creates a non-fraudulent whitelist for advertisers and publishers to reference before launching campaigns. Traditional media giants are paid by the amount of impressions they provide for an advertiser, regardless of whether they are real or not, so why would they care to validate their sources and provide a better service when they are already part of an industry duopoly? The easy answer is they don't.
The current supply chain in digital advertising, showing transparency concerns for participants.
"The current supply chain in digital advertising, showing transparency concerns for participants."
Adchain is using blockchain technology to restore the transparency that has slowly degenerated over time by removing intermediaries that hide dishonest transactions from users.
People's response to intrusive or scammy ads has generally been to install adblockers on their browsers, removing not only the fake ads, but also the ones you worked so hard to design and market. Over 500 million people are running software to block ads, removing data from analytical reports that help you learn who your customers are, what content they want, and how to help them find you easily. So really, it's not that you've created ads that won't work, it's more that your ads were doomed to fail.
Besides the advertising fraud that deteriorates results for advertisers, there is also the problem of renumeration for content creators. Currently, an advertiser or publisher will throw away a large percentage of their revenue to middlemen in the chain of supply. Brave browser, the brainchild of Firefox creator Brendan Eich, is a blockchain application looking to prevent advertisement overload on websites while tackling content creator's concerns with lost revenues.
Brave is taking traditional monetization strategies and flipping them on their head. Users browsing the web would be rewarded for interacting with advertisements and a genuine feedback mechanism would be implemented to provide advertisers with superior data from those users. Publishers and advertisers could remove the obscurity related to consumer preferences, improving their targeting, messaging, and overall ROI for campaigns. Content creators can finally rid themselves of the stronghold that intermediaries like demand and supply side suppliers or exchanges have over them. These parties take a large percentage of revenue while poorly maintaining rights to content. Blockchains can write immutable content rights to the blockchain while cryptocurrencies can allow for users to directly compensate creators for their graphics, articles, videos, or any other form of media.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, when applied to the marketing industry, have the potential to overthrow traditional monetization strategies and user engagement. As opposed to consumers unknowingly providing multitudes of information to platforms looking to resell their data, consumers would now be able to allow parties to access their information and receive compensation for doing so. The current levels of intermediation could be flattened considerably by the inherent peer-to-peer nature of blockchain technology, easily connecting the creators of digital advertising to those consuming it. While, most importantly, the fraud that has negative effects on consumer's trust and spending can be reduced through network validation.
The first step to improving your return on investment for your marketing campaigns is to familiarize yourself with the blockchain and cryptocurrency projects that are currently in their early stages. This is the perfect time to become an early adopter in the space. Even if you are just aware of the potential disruption that traditional marketing agencies will need to deal with in the future, you will be further ahead than most of your competitors.
The second step would be to start thinking about how these new business models will impact your organization. It may be a good time to start planning their integration into your existing systems.
If you're ready to expose yourself to some of the technological advancements in your industry, take a look at the reading list below, it's a good place to start!
- [The AdChain Project Whitepaper] (https://www.metax.io/products/adchain_registry/)
- [The Brave Project Whitepaper] (https://www.basicattentiontoken.org/)
- Digital Ad Revenues by Company
- Fraud in Digital Advertising
- Fixing Digital Advertising Supply Chains
Coinaccord is a Canadian Blockchain Venture Studio that strives to create entirely new and decentralized models on a global scale. As a company run by humans, we want to know if we’ve made a mistake. Do we need to make a correction or do you have a different point of view on the topic? Let us know in our Medium comments.