Put on your nerd glasses because we're talking blockchain today. At first glance, a blockchain might seem like an overzealous celebrity security or a road traffic-easing device but blockchain is all about business models and digital transformation more than just technology.
Blockchain has the ability to revolutionise how business is conducted. In the marketing and advertising world, blockchain can have direct implications on reducing ad fraud and increasing efficiency of ad spends.
Agencies will soon adopt the technology for the four broad benefits that blockchain brings to the system. "Blockchain ensures Immutability of Data. Once data is recorded on the blockchain, it cannot be changed. It is decentralised and therefore also highly transparent. Data on the blockchain is there for everyone to see. Finally, it is secure. To introduce a malicious block, one needs to change all the previous blocks and one needs to do it in more than 50 per cent of the nodes in the blockchain, which is almost impossible," explains Vijayan Parthasarathy, blockchain enthusiast and co-founder inResto.
Parthasarathy broke down the applications of blockchain in advertising into four main areas like reducing ad fraud, creating decentralised ad exchanges, creating a token economy to incentivise advertisers, publishers and users, and a transparent data analytics platform.
Let's take a look at the four areas:
1. Reduce Ad Fraud: The MetaX platform powered by AdChain offers end-to-end transparency for all data in the supply chain of digital advertising. The MetaX platform provides buyers with a scalable and trustworthy solution for tracking and verifying all advertising impressions.
"Of the $200 billion digital advertising market, $10 billion is lost to BOT traffic. There is a need to create a clean pool of supply. A central registry on the blockchain will clean up the supply side. Publishers need to register into the central registry that prevents malicious publishers from enrolling in the registry," explains Parthasarathy.
2. AdExchanges: A platform like AdEx will enable advertisers and publishers to deal directly with each other without middlemen.
"Blockchain will enable the creation of a decentralised ad exchange. This is important because 50 per cent of ad spend is lost on middlemen and middleware. P2P buying and selling eliminate middlemen and middleware. Everything is executed using smart contracts. In addition, discovery, matching, negotiation and settlement are all automated. All this will improve ad spend efficiency and transparency increases," observes Parthasarathy.
3. Valuing User Attention: According to Page Fair in December 2016, there were over 600 million devices running Adblock software globally, 62 per cent of which were on mobile devices. Large emerging markets are the current driving force behind rapid growth in mobile Adblock usage.
Blockchain that rewards users for their attention to content and ads can reverse the fortunes of publishers. Parthasarathy paints a happy picture of a blockchain driven token economy with the three stakeholders - Advertisers, Publishers and Users. In this world, advertisers pay publishers with tokens, advertisers pay users for their attention and users can use these tokens to access premium content by the publishers. What's not to like?
The Bitclave platform (Consumer Activity Token - CAT) already ensures that users are rewarded for sharing personal data.
4. Transparent Data Analytics Platform: Consider a decentralised data platform where the advertisers, publishers and users are constantly providing data about ad efficiency. The data will help advertisers reach the right customers based on their budget with a fair level of confidence.
Sadly though, India is a long way from adopting blockchain despite it being the buzzword for 2018. When the push comes for blockchain, it will come from the advertisers themselves because they have a lot to gain from this business model. "Blockchain will give transparency to the investment that clients make with the possibility of removing middlemen and reducing the costs," says Rahul Vengalil, CEO and co-founder of a digital audit firm, Whatclicks.
Blockchain will open out parts of the ecosystem that were hitherto hidden from clients. "Large clients will have to take the initiative for the adoption of this," adds Vengalil.
Even though blockchain seems to have many applications on the digital front, it can be used for both online and offline business. "But it's programmatic advertising that will have a new lease of life with blockchain technology," notes Vengalil.
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