Five Ways Blockchain Technology is Transforming the Marketing, Digital Media & Advertising Industries


I was asked to speak on the panel of the Modern Marketers meetup at WeWork about “The Adventures of Blockchain” and I gladly accepted for the chance to educate my colleagues in the industry about this emerging technology. As a marketer, I truly believe that blockchain technology will improve current marketing, digital media and advertising business practices as we look to beat advertising fraud, expose transparency and ensure brand credibility.

Issues in the industry

Brands and advertisers do not get exposure to how our ad dollars are spent. Digital advertising is complex, ad fraud is pervasive and the lack of transparency and accountability is costing marketers and publishers a significant amount of money and a large portion of the budget.

In a report by Forrester, it states that as much as 56% of all display ad dollars were lost to fraudulent inventory, with the cost of ad fraud expected to increase to $50 billion over the next decade globally. In a study into programmatic advertising revealed that 79% of advertisers surveyed expressed worries about transparency, and the news that powerful brands like P&G are starting to scale back their media spend and demanding full transparency from their digital agency suppliers.

Why would blockchain technology be a solution?

Blockchain is described as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. It will play a major role in solving the current issues and challenges faced by marketers, advertisers and digital media professionals with these key attributes:

· Immutability: resistant to modification of the data

· Transparency: anyone is able to publicly see, access and verify this information

· Decentralization: not kept in one place which makes data safer across multiple storage places in places, cities, countries etc

Centralized Vs Decentralised

Centralized Vs Decentralised

How will blockchain transform the digital landscape?

1) Advertising will become more transparent

The implementation of blockchain will provide transparency on actual marketing claims. This is particularly important for marketers who use third party media agencies to deliver targeted digital advertising. Each component of the journey can be analyzed, tracked and validated. Marketers will be able to control how their assets are delivered by monitoring exactly where their ads are being placed, ensuring real followers and consumers are engaging with their ads, and proper tracking of ad engagement is validated. This will even lead to the ability to negotiate contracts and accept terms based on those results.

2) It will change how we use influencers in marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns will change dramatically. With blockchain, marketers will be able to see if the influencer’s followers are true people or simply bots. Essentially, it will reduce the number of influencers but the influencers with organic traffic will remain at the top, enabling marketers to select quality influencers with real followers.

3) Publishers will become more accountable

Publishers will need to increase their accountability as transactions become more transparent. Advertisers can see exactly where their traffic is going, and marketers will no longer solely accept measuring ad impressions. Blockchain technology will unveil all activities, decreasing fraud and increasing attribution.

4) Decentralisation will remove the media middlemen

Martech and adtech blockchain startups are already aiming to tokenize user behavior and offer a credit system between advertisers and the consumer, which completely removes the middlemen in managing media. As we continue to decentralize our world, marketers will eventually become the source. Transactions that take place between the buyer and seller in self-executing contracts (smart contracts) will be written into lines of code and making payments to suppliers and vendors will be easier, more efficient and automatic.

5) Alleviate privacy concerns and increase user trust

Providing complete control to the user regarding their personal information will appease privacy concerns from the user’s perspective and promote social responsibility from the advertiser’s side. Studies routinely show that if you ask for permission first, users are more than willing to give personal information if there’s a reward in return. That reward is paying users directly to view ads.

Lucy on the WeWork panel talking about Blockchain can affect and improve the marketing and advertising industries, November 2018

Lucy on the WeWork panel talking about Blockchain can affect and improve the marketing and advertising industries, November 2018

Making it matter for the future

Like many emerging technologies, it is too early to truly understand how blockchain will impact marketing. But as it stands today, I predict blockchain technology will make data-driven marketing more transparent by validating and analyzing the consumer’s journey through verified ad delivery. It will also enable brands to directly build consumer trust by distributing and tracking data and information. Decentralization allows the storage of private data to be safer across multiple storage places and data to be immutable. And as blockchain technology development improves, it will only be a matter of time when blockchain will completely revolutionize how marketers, advertisers and publishers do business everyday.

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