A discussion on blockchain will inevitably bring up the topic of cryptocurrency. The two have been inseparable since Blockchain disrupted the financial sector to give rise to Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency. Currently, the future of cryptocurrency looks unsure; however, the same cannot be said of blockchain. It has gone beyond economics and is increasingly disrupting other institutions such as education and healthcare. And with the global advertising and marketing industry undergoing massive transformations, blockchain could be the most groundbreaking advancement since the Internet itself.
Each ‘block’ in the blockchain is a digital piece of information (or, a collection of data) where the ‘chain’ links them all together with a hash function. The ‘hash’ acts like a digital signature for each unique block. When an information block is created, it is validated by a distributed network of computers and linked with the previous record in the chain via hash, thus creating the ‘blockchain’. Any change to any record alters the hash of all transactions ultimately changing the hash of the block header making it impossible to commit frauds and data tampering.
In simple terms, blockchain is a decentralized ledger that keeps an account of all the transactions that occur across a peer-to-peer network. While the information can be viewed by all peers in the network, it cannot be accessed by all, thus making it tamper-proof and less vulnerable to unwanted changes.
The companies of the future like IBM, Rebel AI and NYIAX have already latched on to the benefits that Blockchain can bring to the advertising and marketing industry. In the current digital marketing environment, where the customers have no control over their data and are compelled to receive inane commercials from clueless advertisers, blockchain applications can definitely create new opportunities and solutions for digital marketing firms.
Improved data privacy
Consumer data sharing is one of the most serious concerns in the digital marketing realm. With the amount of time each user spends online, businesses can easily retrieve their information through the sites visited, products bought, and data contributed and integrated within those sites. This leads to a high risk of data leakage and hacking, the most famous example of which are the multiple Facebook data breach incidents.
The blockchain technology aims to eliminate that flaw and equip users with hi-tech security features like data encryption and multi-factor authentication system for securing their records. Hackers would just have to go through all user devices before they can make any changes to the ledger or steal any info
Absence of middlemen
The most exasperating issue faced by an online consumer today is the overload of unnecessary, meaningless and intrusive ads. The agencies responsible, in a bid to increase their client’s brand value and market position, push through a freight of adverts in the hope that one of these will catch the audience’s attention. It not only annoys the consumer but also misdirects the campaign with incorrect and inconsistent data.
Since blockchain transactions are decentralized, marketers can omit agencies and approach consumers directly for data collection. Consumers who’re interested in the brand would share their records while the ones who aren’t, won’t. Now, marketers might have to pay or offer incentives for this data, but because the information comes from the prospect’s mouth itself, there’s a higher probability that the consumer is actually interested in the product resulting in improved marketing.
One of the major pain points for both, advertisers and clients, is the issue of transparency. Unlike traditional advertisements and search engine networks, transactions over blockchain ledgers are much more transparent for the consumers. The information is clearly visible to the users and almost impossible to erase.
The application of blockchain makes it pretty straightforward for advertisers and marketers to get the right info about their published ads. Earlier, brands didn’t have much information about the use and placement of their ads leading to unnecessary spending and expensive ad frauds. They also had no idea if the ads were targeted to the right type of audience or not. Blockchain has led to a greater transparency and marketers nowadays receive much more relevant user data prompting efficient campaign management.
The accumulation of all the points above, automatically signifies a higher trust ranking between users and brands. Ad frauds and data privacy concerns have made consumers skeptical of today’s brands and advertising tactics. Add to that, the constant threat of cybersecurity through unnecessary digital display ads, the online population needs a dependable solution to lean on.
So, if the presence of blockchain can increase transparency, do away with intermediaries and strengthen data security, we can be hopeful of a better brand and consumer relationship.