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How Blockchain Is Disrupting Marketing & Advertising?

Updated: Apr 6, 2018

More than half of the world's large corporations are looking into blockchain technology, according to a U.K research firm, Jupiter Research. And two thirds of the companies surveyed said that they expect to implement the technology by the end of 2018.

With over $530 billion in global revenues, the advertising industry is a prime target for blockchain disruption. The multi-billion dollar industry has suffered from a lack of transparency and unethical practices such as undisclosed fees, opaque trading agreements and many intermediaries. But blockchain is set to change all of this.

Increasing Transparency

In 2017, $16.4 billion or 3% of global advertising spend was fraudulently generated by bots (from business insider). Advertising fraud has becoming a major issue plaguing the industry. Many startups like Truth, AdEx, KR8OS and Papyrus have emerged to tackle this prevalent problem by using blockchain to verify ad delivery.

What’s next? Blockchain can also enhance the tracking of customer engagement and ad performance. By accurately tracking each ad at a customer level, marketers can gain valuable behavioral information, prevent ads from being over-served to the same individual and reduce marketing spend.

In terms of branding, marketers can use blockchain to differentiate themselves from their competitors by building trust and increasing transparency. For instance, a coffee chain that sells fair trade coffee can provide customers with a mobile app to view their entire supply chain.

Social Media Influence

Social media marketing has evolved over the years. Instead of social media influencers with millions of followers, brands are using micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are everyday people that have a strong influence on their immediate social circles.

A micro-influencer network, Mavin, has piloted this idea and launched a blockchain enabled platform to connect brands to everyday people. Influencers are paid in cryptocurrency for their user generated content featuring partner brands.

Social media is like any form of advertising, it is susceptible to fraud. Marketers cannot accurately determine if a social influencer’s clout is worth the marketing dollar.

Blockchain can help by authenticating a social influencer’s followers to ensure that they are real people and not bots. Another social influencer platform, IndaHash uses block chain to track influencers’ real reach and engagement levels then pay them for their services in IndaHash Coins.

Empowering Consumers

In traditional advertising networks, there are three stakeholders; advertisers, intermediaries and consumers. Advertisers pay intermediaries like Google for search and display advertisements. And Google serves advertisements to consumers who don't have any say.

There are challenges in the traditional model. Marketers have to gather information about customers from various sources, Google, Facebook and their website and piece it together. Often, it is a challenge to integrate these information and map it at a customer level to gain useful insights.

What if customers volunteered their personal information?

An internet browser, Brave, has recently introduced a Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency developed from same blockchain technology as Ethereum. The solution empowers users by allowing them to choose the ads they want to view in exchange for BAT cryptocurrency. And marketers benefit from an engaged and targeted audience.

What’s Next? Blockchain technology can provide information that can affect consumers' purchase decisions. A blockchain platform, Provenance is empowering consumers with information to track the source of their food. From fair trade coffee from Guatemala to wild caught Alaskan Salmon, consumers are given accurate information to make informed purchase decisions.

According to the company, 8 out of 10 UK shoppers want to know where their food comes from. But is this too much information?

A Media Marketplace

Imagine a global media marketplace where marketers, publishers, agencies, creatives can purchase, license and store digital content. Creatives can sell their works (e.g. photos and articles) online without the fear of piracy and get fairly compensated. Such a utopian scenario might just become a reality with blockchain.

Kodak recently launched its platform, KodakOne, and cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, to help protect photographers and their work from piracy. The platform uses blockchain technology to allow photographers to license their photos, earn KodakCoins and monitor for any misuse. Although the launch has attract a lot of criticism, its potential applications in the media industry are limitless.

Building A Loyalty Program

Another use for blockchain is in loyalty or rewards programs. Blockchain technology can give customers a better user experience, encourage redemption and reduce fraud.

The travel industry has relied on co-brand cards and partnerships to sell points and generate incremental revenues. However, limited capacity (e.g. airline seats) have increased the unredeemed points and balance sheet liabilities.

Singapore Airlines has recently announced the launch of a digital wallet built on blockchain technology that allows passengers to redeem frequent flier miles at merchants.

Adopting blockchain would enable companies to remain flexible as they grow the list of partners and expand their loyalty programs. A simple to use interface and extensive partner network will help drive redemption rates for the airline and reduce liabilities.

The Future Of Marketing & Advertising

The marketing blockchain revolution has only just begun. With two-thirds of large corporates expected to adopt blockchain technology by 2018, marketers need to innovate and learn to stay ahead of the game.

With the global advertising spend expected to exceed $550 billion in 2018, you can be assured that tech start-ups will continue to innovate in search of the next big marketing technology.

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