Luke Janich
Jul 3, 2017

(Block) chain reaction: A new model for marketing?

What does blockchain technology have to do with marketing? Potentially a lot.

(Block) chain reaction: A new model for marketing?

In the financial sector right now, there’s one word on everyone’s lips: blockchain. As a technology, it may not sound revolutionary to start with. It’s basically a fully-transparent, shared database of transactions. Simple enough, right?

What’s got people excited is something else: security. It’s why so many financial companies are harnessing the power of blockchain—and, some are already using it to transfer huge amounts of money and data. IBM’s recent survey of industry leaders even predicts that two-thirds of all companies will be using blockchain in only three years’ time.

You might say, “well this is all well and good for finance, but what does blockchain mean for marketing?” And you’d be right. But if you dig deeper, it’s clear to see that blockchain could revolutionize our industry too—it might just be a few more years down the line.

The new kid on the block 

One area of marketing is ripe for a revolution: ad delivery. This is where blockchain comes into its own.

There are marketers out there who still don’t use digital ads as part of their media mix. Even fewer know for sure whether their banners, social posts, or videos have been viewed—let alone if they’re converting as they should.

Why? Because ad delivery is so complicated. It’s why there’s so much guesswork, smoke and mirrors, and plenty of wishful thinking. Marketers put their trust in big agencies, but why should they when the biggest players—don’t always get it right?

Here, blockchain could be the solution.

A new model for marketing

Of course, we’re a long way off yet. But we’re already seeing some exciting applications of blockchain technology—and it’s promising.

Take adChain, a platform that has the potential to track and verify impressions across entire campaigns. They’ve started with a registry of reputable sites and are adding impression tracking, ad-delivery verification, and fraud detection. These are the features marketers want. The challenge now is adoption.

Another project, Basic Attention Token, harnesses the blockchain to solve the rising tide of ad-blockers. BAT serves viewers fewer, better quality ads—as well as being fully transparent and trackable. To top it all off, viewers are rewarded for their time through a small amount of digital currency.

We’re yet to see an industry-wide paradigm shift, but it’s hard to ignore that development’s picking up pace—and fast. BAT, for instance, recently sought funding and raised a staggering $35 million in only 30 seconds. And this is blockchain in its infancy.  

It’s worth saying again that these developments are a way off yet. But, as ever, in our industry it always pays to be prepared. Many of us remember the digital revolution—and the great divide between the early adopters and the late arrivals.

So, I guess the question is: can you afford to miss out on the blockchain revolution?

Luke Janich is CEO of RED².

 

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