Blockchain — whether or not you believe in the underlying tech – is changing the face of the internet and the world for the better. This article will explain how and why, and explore the role Blockchain might play for marketing firms in the near future.
In this time of the ‘Internet of Things’ and web-driven data collection points, Blockchain tech increases the capabilities of marketing across the board. With companies collecting exorbitant amounts of consumer data and making significant business decisions with the information, improving the collection and distribution of that data is critical. Within the industry of data-driven marketing, the question is – and has always been – about the legitimacy and accuracy of the information. The answer to addressing any of the disinformation that sways business directions may lie in Blockchain technology.
One of the major hiccups for brands and advertisers is the lack of accountability and transparency in measuring the exact ROI delivered by their marketing campaigns. While a good agency can and will readily provide charts, graphs and direct stats, it can still get very complicated to explain projected growth. Digital advertising is complex and – without crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, several thousand times – it can become very hard to convey in written word everything that the campaign has achieved. This can sometimes lead to major brands and companies cutting their marketing budget through a concern over the lack of transparency, even if the results are positive. One major study even revealed 79% of surveyed advertisers had serious concerns over accountability directly tied to transparency.
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain is a distributed ledger, validated by a peer-to-peer network. Because there is no central authority, it’s decentralised from attack, confirmation biases and external influences. Once something has been confirmed in a ‘Block’ on the Blockchain it cannot be changed, erased, unconfirmed or manipulated – it may as well be written in stone.
How can Blockchain help marketing strategies?
This is where Blockchain tech can shine and offers brands and companies a beacon of light – not only in transparency but also in the form of validating and analysing every customer’s experience. This is done by verifying ad delivery and giving a confirmation that a real person in a specific targeted location interacted with the ad, as per specifics. In a recent study, 94% of agency and brand marketers surveyed were revealed to not have a single vision about cross-platform continuity for the consumers. This means there’s an extreme disconnect between customers and marketers on the aspects of what, when, where and how they want the products or services that are being marketed to them.
As an example of what the tech is capable of preventing, say you have just booked a nice getaway for you and your family, but two days later, you’re receiving an advert displaying the exact place of said retreat from the company you’ve already made bookings through. This is a waste of time and money and hinders growth for everyone involved.
Blockchain tech can prevent this from ever occurring, and can also ensure the optimal frequency of ad displays for all consumers. Research has shown that major consumer impact is at around four to six ad exposures per customer. By implementing a smart contract on the Blockchain, it will provide a level of transparency and tracking currently unavailable to agencies, brands and marketers. For this to work efficiently, consumers will need to share more of their personal data with companies; however, with the transparency of Blockchain companies, this could start a trusted system of open, decentralised and honest accessible information collection. The bottom line is that Blockchain will lead to more and more engagement between brands and their customers, in a trusted and open system.
With everything that has been said, we are still in the trial phase of Blockchain tech, and before actual implementation within the ad-tech industry takes place, some major crossroads need to be addressed. One of the key processes holding back the tech – because of distributed hash rate – is the time lagged verification that occurs. Generally, it takes between 10-40 second for transactions to be validated by ‘miners’. In a world where marketers want ad-tech transactions to take milliseconds, this delay means Blockchain cannot compete… yet! However, in the short term, brands and marketers can use Blockchain smart contracts as post-campaign validation, by authenticating transactions. This is of course a huge selling point for the brands who are losing faith in the lack of transparent result data delivered by their current marketing agencies or strategies.
While the landscape hasn’t been completely mapped out yet, Blockchain has and will change the face of marketing. An understanding in this space will place you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.