Bitcoin introduced us to blockchain technology, and how it could be used to transfer digital currencies over the internet. However, it was Ethereum that, through the implementation of smart contracts, allowed blockchain tech to penetrate in other industries than finance.
Since the release of decentralized applications and smart contracts, blockchain has become more than just a means to purchase bitcoin or other cryptos. Today, this decentralized ledger can be used in a wide array of industries, including healthcare, insurances, banking, and advertising, among others.
In this article, we explore the impact of blockchain tech on the advertising and marketing sectors. To this end, we look at some of the main benefits of blockchain and how they can be applied to advertising. Finally, we will take a look at some practical examples of businesses and projects that directly use blockchain in marketing.
But first, let’s quickly have an overview of blockchain technology and how it works.
What is blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a decentralized ledger of transaction records that is accessible to anyone. Their initial usage is to allow peer-to-peer transactions, without the need for any intermediaries. Transactions are organized in blocks (hence the name) and added to the end of the chain using cryptography.
Usually, blockchains are distributed, which means that a large number of computers hold a copy of the ledger simultaneously. Consequently, they are very secure, as they don’t present a single point of failure for hackers to exploit.
Moreover, once transactions are recorded in a block, they remain permanently embedded in the blockchain. As such, records are immutable and can be used to easily verify the veracity of a transaction.
Worth noting is that thanks to the asymmetric cryptography used in blockchains (private and public keys), blockchain allows for true ownership of assets exchanged through them.
In our introduction, we briefly mentioned smart contracts. Their usage is essential for blockchain technology to be used more than just a vessel for digital coin transactions. This is because they allow us to tokenize anything of value, including contracts, digital items, commodities, and even advertisements.
With smart contracts, blockchain can be used to record data and access it seamlessly, without the fear of it being falsified. Because of these features, blockchains present a lot of advantages to their users.
Advantages of blockchain
Below, we summarize the main advantages of blockchain technology that are relevant to the advertisement industry. These advantages have influenced the price of cryptocurrencies to reach extremely high levels in the past years.
- Data integrity – data on the blockchain is immutable and reviewed constantly by the computers that validate the transactions. Any attempt at modifying it will be detected immediately and prevented.
- Fraud prevention – the assets present on a blockchain are just transaction records. As such, they cannot be copied or duplicated in any manner.
- Global access – blockchains are accessible globally, allowing anyone in the world to consult or use their data as they see fit.
- Permissionless networks – because they are decentralized, anyone can use blockchain networks without requesting access.
- Eliminates the middleman – the primary function of a blockchain is to allow peer-to-peer transactions. This allows us to eliminate intermediaries when delivering advertising content to people around the world.
Blockchain applied to the advertisement industry
With all that said, it is interesting to see how blockchain can be used to disrupt the advertisement industry as we know it.
Digital ads and data management
Blockchain can help us deploy data management solutions that are based on cryptographic verification. This can help us fight advertising fraud by ensuring transparency in the entire ad process.
For instance, in blockchain-enabled advertisements, everyone can see how many people interacted with the ad, avoiding fake views. This can be done by assigning unique identities to everyone involved in the process, including the marketers, publishers, and consumers.
This can help publishers and companies avoid wasteful spending on ads and focus their budgets where it really matters.
Optimal audience targeting
Thanks to smart contracts, advertisers can automate their campaigns to follow a certain set of rules. This way, the user can block ads they don’t want to view, and at the same time access those that are relevant to them.
A practical example of this is the popular Brave browser, which blocks ads by default. Users can opt-in to view ads and get rewarded with tokens for viewing them. At the same time, content creators get rewarded as well, and publishers can easily access this data to analyse their campaigns.
Ultimately, this leads to higher-quality advertisements, and better audience targeting.
Blockchain technology has slowly crept up in almost every technological sector and advertising is no exception to this rule. By providing accurate and transparent data, blockchains can allow companies to have a better view of their campaigns.
At the same time, users can finally have their say in how and where their personal data is used. They can opt-out of advertising campaigns or get rewarded by participating in them.