Commentary

Will Blockchain Put Consumers In Charge Of Ad And Marketing Industry?

Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, is likely to have a significant impact on the world of advertising and marketing.

Talking Blockchain and the advertising industry is not a new topic here. Last year, Online Spinner Josh Engroff wrote about  how the Blockchain could revolutionize payments,enable content firewall micro-payments and facilitate more robust relationships between marketers and consumers.

While the Blockchain has been popularized for powering Bitcoin, it’s a technology with much more far-reaching applications. Simply, it’s a massive, highly decentralized ledger that is ideal to solve calculations that are hard to compute but easy to verify. It breaks up problems into millions of component pieces and distributes those pieces to hundreds of thousands of participating computers across the network to solve their constituent and overlapping parts and then verify with each other the results of their computing, since each distributed ledger is public to all others.  Thus, its capacity to support an alternative global currency like Bitcoin was a great fit.

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What about the world of advertising and marketing? Like Josh, I believe that Blockchain technology has some natural applications to our industry and will certainly find a home here over the next few years. It could become a deeply embedded technology in how our industry does business.

Managing billions of consumer relationships and trillions of transactions. The future of our industry will be all marketers having direct, ongoing relationships with their ultimate consumers. Most will not want to go through centralized, gatekeepers to build and maintain those relationships as they must today, whether is it media packagers, telecommunications providers or payment service companies. The only way to maintain and verify trillions of transactions and events with billions of people and hundreds of thousands of brands will be with a highly decentralized technology that no one entity can control, like the Blockchain.

Ad-delivery verification. It’s virtually impossible to publicly track, verify and certify all digital ad transactions today with our current centralized systems. The Blockchain can help.

Multiparty payments settlement. The Blockchain could certainly help expedite all kinds of multiparty payments that we see in the ad and promotion industry today, and would bring a lot of transparency to an opaque process at the same time.

Verification of user identity; protection of private and proprietary data. Every large marketer and marketing service company would like a massive identity graph of all consumers, with the ability to leverage that information in all communications with their customers.

I doubt many could achieve this goal. First, it’s unlikely that many will be able to build and maintain truly omniscient databases like that. Second, consumers (and regulators) aren’t likely to let such databases be created, let alone exploited, if they can stop it.

Enter the Blockchain. Combining Blockchain technology with multikey encryption could give us a well-distributed, user-controlled identity graph that could massively shift power in the ad and marketing world -- from centralized media and marketing companies to end consumers.

Basically, consumers could be in charge of who can access their data and deliver ads and offers to them as simply as they order an Uber car -- without the plethora of Uber-like new service companies getting to keep and exploit their data beyond that single transaction.

What do you think? Might Blockchain be the technology that could finally put consumers in charge of all marketing and advertising?

1 comment about "Will Blockchain Put Consumers In Charge Of Ad And Marketing Industry?".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from DragonSearch, June 17, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.

    First, the blockchain technology will have to be explained in terms the users - whether consumers or product and service providers transacting with them - can understand. Then the benefits to all must be apparent, or it won't succeed. Finally, it must be as easy and automatic as possible. People shouldn't have to go through a number of steps for this to work. Right now, it's being tried in the online ad world, between the buy and sell sides, so end consumers don't enter the picture. There isn't enough real world experience yet to make a judgment on efficacy (at least in the opinion of this correspondent,) but anything that makes the entire ad booking, invoicing and settlement process easier should be embraced. So the ad delievry and multiparty settlements described in this piece might be the b est place to start, as this is the pain point for market participants. Technology is mostly about business pain relief.

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