The most obvious impacts will be on security, privacy and authentication, but blockchain also represents an opportunity to improve the user experience.
While the technology at its core is built to enable financial transactions, its applications for digital marketing are just as compelling. Here are just a few:
Transparency: The first area that will benefit from adoption of Blockchain is transparency of users. While many steps are being taken to clean up the inventory space, today’s traffic data is extremely murky with the impact of bots. If Blockchain can motivate users to share their information securely, it would enable much better targeting by advertisers.
Advertisers would not be paying for poor quality or poorly targeted traffic. Over-serving ads would be reduced while better engagement data could be gained — all while building an authentication layer between user, advertiser and publisher. The platform called the Basic Attention Token operates on this premise.
Middlemen: The second group of people likely to be impacted are the middlemen. Ad platforms connect the publishers and the advertisers. They enable advertisers to trust the traffic numbers and the quality of the traffic they generate. Blockchain can serve as a disintermediation technology in which the advertisers directly connect with users and make micropayments for viewing of ads.
With Google and Facebook commanding as much as 75% of all digital spend, it will be interesting to see how the largest middlemen approach a blockchain evolution within the space — particularly in how they monetize. Several large publishers have already implemented blockchain into their platforms, most notably Comcast.
“Comcast Advanced Advertising Group announced a new platform at Cannes on Tuesday that will allow marketers to make ad buys in broadcast and streaming TV using blockchain technology. The platform will allow marketers to anonymously match their data sets with programmers and others in the industry to target consumers on any device without giving up proprietary customer info.
"Participants in the technology, dubbed the "Blockchain Insights Platform," include Disney, NBC Universal, Altice USA, Channel 4 U.K., Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia and France's TF1 Group," according to the company.
Ecommerce: Along with transaction security and payment validation, Blockchain can help map/track the entire supply chain for a project. You could know who designed the product, manufactured it and what distribution it has gone through. It could reduce incidences of fake items, as well ensure that the supply chain is mapped. For example, you may know with confidence that the diamonds that you are buying are not “blood diamonds.” Or you may decide to buy “local” with verifiability.
Users: Each of the adoptions and implementations above has positive user implications, but none strong perhaps as microtargeting. Today, users are giving away their eyeballs and attention for free. This is monetized by the publishers and ad platforms. Cryptocurrencies may make micropayments a lot easier.
That would enable a world where you get paid to view an ad. This would ensure that advertisers demand better traffic and users choose the ads to view. Users may also choose to share more data about themselves for a micropayment. They may soon realize they are better served by sharing data, so that they don’t need to be bombarded with irrelevant ads as is the case today.
This will result in a better user experience for end users and better economics for advertisers.
Tracking of viewership can also serve to secure internal data better. In an agency world, Chinese walls can be made stronger by ensuring there is strong tracking of who has viewed any data.
There are numerous applications in other areas that will also impact digital experiences. Blockchain may enable accurate medical records to help drive better patient experience. It may eventually become the de facto standard by which information is shared and stored. The implications may be more far-reaching than many can imagine.