What opportunities does blockchain offer to the digital advertising industry?

11 June 2018

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What opportunities does blockchain offer to the digital advertising industry?

 

Blockchain, which has already been around for over ten years, is best known as a method for managing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. What’s interesting is that this financial technology is now being adapted for use in the wider marketing realm. Blockchain has the ability to revolutionise the marketing industry, facilitating more choice for users in addition to full transparency when it comes to measuring the performance of advertisements.

 

New technology from Blockchain browser ‘Brave’ further enables internet users to block ads and trackers completely, which in turn reduces the risk of malware attacks and saves the user money spent on unwanted ad browsing. Brave offers users a token system (Basic Attention Token, or BAT), which offers the ability to reward brand interactions, whilst simultaneously allowing users to block unsolicited advertising. By effectively paying users for their time, the system places a tangible value on consumer attention. TRUTH, the world’s first global blockchain-enabled media agency, has recently launched its Truth Data Cloud, a consumer facing data management platform that rewards consumers for entering and storing their personal data on their Blockchain, and further rewards those consumers every time a brand uses that consumers’ data to target them with advertising messages.

 

We spoke to Josiah Amartey, Director of Digital Media at Truth: "Blockchain has the potential to have the foundational, step change impact that email had to the internet. Blockchain's combination of security and transparency will re-instil trust between Consumers & Brands, and usher in a new era of best practice in our industry"

 

Another Blockchain offering in the making, BitClave, is working on a decentralized search engine to direct consumers exactly where they want to go. It comes at a price, but perhaps a small one: businesses who want to reach consumers directly will have to compensate them, this time in the form of ‘Consumer Activity Tokens’.

 

Rather than spelling an end to the traditional programmatic approach toward digital advertising (which uses cookies and third-party data to target customers), the Blockchain offers advertisers endless new possibilities. Not only in terms of reaching target markets, but also in terms of measuring ROI and improving optimisation practices. Not to mention the fact that it will reduce costs by making it easier to buy and sell ads with fewer intermediaries. The added bonus is of course that this technology provides invaluable browsing metrics, whilst accurately appraising the ratio of ads to content on a given page. Put simply, the Blockchain provides the digital advertising industry with the ability to deliver the right message to the right user at the right time.

 

There is enormous appeal in the idea of targeting only those users who want to be targeted, and in producing campaigns and content whose effectiveness can be weighed and measured in a very real, quantitative sense. In light of recent scandals surrounding covert data collection methods (Cambridge Analytica, Facebook Privacy Policy anyone?) as well as the introduction of GDPR, the focus has shifted squarely to transparency and this is something the digital advertising industry cannot afford to ignore.

 

Digital marketers are operating in a changing environment; one in which the uptake of ad-blocking software has already taken a sharp upswing.  In my view, the adoption of Blockchain technology provides us with a great opportunity. Are we on the cusp of an ‘advertising revolution’? Perhaps.

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