Most people are talking about the dramatic change in digital marketing that AI and data analytics will bring in the near future. However, it is, arguably, Blockchain that has the potential to revolutionize the digital marketing industry and mark the beginning of Digital Marketing 2.0.
Introduction to Blockchain
In 2017, a huge buzz was developed around Blockchain when the concepts of cryptocurrency and bitcoin were introduced, and then it went quiet for some years. However, during this time, Blockchain didn’t remain the same. It has evolved and ripened into a more advanced technology that can now be applied across all industries and help create a more transparent environment where accountability will be a prime characteristic.
Till now, AI and Data analytics have helped businesses more than they have benefitted consumers. However, Blockchain technology transfers the control from advertisers and marketing managers to consumers. Most marketers may not like it. However, when it comes to building trust and providing a more relevant and meaningful experience to your customers, you will need to adopt Blockchain soon. What’s more, many big businesses have already started investing in it.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is the disruptive technology that allows carrying out transactions without requiring verification from third parties, such as banks, as it can record transactions in a verifiable and permanent way. At its core, it is an open, distributed, decentralized, and digital ledger that is immutable to alterations and hacks.
The cryptocurrency – Bitcoin has been the most prominent use case of Blockchain. However, it is not the only use case. Blockchain can be used in a diverse range of applications across various industries.
How Has Blockchain Evolved to Come a Long Way?
Blockchain is typically seen as a digital ledger for recording financial transactions that cannot be hacked, tampered with, and deleted but can be easily traced. That’s how, the concept of cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, emerged.
Even though Blockchain was born in October 2008, it became extremely popular in 2017 when bitcoin peaked near $20,000. However, as many Bitcoin investors harvested incredible gains, it fell apart soon as the value of Bitcoin went down. Since then, Blockchain seemed like it went in hibernation; however, innovators kept working on it to make it more powerful and versatile.
Now, Blockchain can be used as a digital ledger not just for financial transactions but almost anything digital. Thus, in today’s time, we can say that Blockchain is simply a form of peer-to-peer exchange that eliminates the need for third parties just like it eliminates the need for banks for financial transactions.
Consequently, Blockchain has evolved into something that is going to be used in countless applications across almost all industries and providing many competitive advantages to businesses in the coming years.
What Is the Role of Blockchain in the Marketing Industry?
Blockchain has a big role to play in the marketing industry because this industry heavily relies on third parties. Since Blockchain removes the intermediary between two parties, it will help both, brands and customers.
With the help of Blockchain, you can gather incorruptible customer data, create and store customer profiles, and can even encode non-fungible tokens* (NFTs) through insights drawn from CRM. It will help marketers create more targeted campaigns and advertisements.
* Non-fungible tokens are non-interchangeable and non-replicable units of data stored on a Blockchain. NFTs can be associated with digital files such as photos, videos, and audio and can be used to represent ownership of unique items.
Another big role of Blockchain is giving power back to the consumers. Until now, most agencies and brands have benefitted by gathering data from their consumers with/without their permission. Right from newspaper sites to supermarkets to research companies, everyone wants our name, email address, phone number, and even our age (in many cases). Though this strategy has helped customers through personalized campaigns and messages, many companies are making money just by taking – and sometimes selling – our information. However, Blockchain is set to change this trend by removing their ability to pull consumers’ data and that too without offering any reimbursements.
In other words, Blockchain technology will change the way how businesses will interact with their consumers.
How Is Blockchain Technology Entering Digital Marketing?
At this moment, brands are tired of data inflation and a huge amount of ad expense while getting little value in return. Undeniably, many brands have made fortune through digital marketing, but a lot of businesses are still struggling and trying to make sense of investing in digital marketing campaigns while relying on Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other third parties. In fact, Facebook has been even sued for overstating video metrics. Inflated and tapered data naturally lead to extra costs for businesses.
As Blockchain doesn’t involve third parties, it is gradually getting acceptance from brands and campaign managers in the digital marketing industry. All malpractices related to consumer data, insights, and metrics will come to an end because Blockchain makes information corruption impossible due to its decentralized nature. Marketers and advertisers will not have to use expensive ad outlets to gather consumer and campaign data.
Besides, Blockchain technology makes it possible for all necessary vendor information to be validated and presented beforehand. Thus, brands will also save on ad vendor background checks and references. Meaning, with Blockchain, you can say No to data manipulators forever.
Usability/Application of Blockchain in Online Marketing & Advertising
For providing a transparent, secure, and traceable environment, Blockchain has immense potential in the digital marketing industry. Some of the ways in which brands can use Blockchain for online marketing and advertising are as follows:
- Remove Intermediaries between Ad Buyers and Sellers
Blockchain addresses the trust and accountability issues in the digital marketing industry by removing the role of mediators and famous ad outlets like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. It allows brands to build trust and meaningful relationships with consumers by interacting with them directly.
- Help Detect Frauds and Increase Accountability
Are you paying for advertising your products and services and running campaigns online? While it was previously a grueling task to detect fraudulent clicks and impressions, you can do it with ease now by using Blockchain. All you need is to integrate Blockchain with traditional tools and it will help you identify and infiltrate click fraud and non-human (bot) engagement.
- Target Audience That Wants to Interact in Reality
The most important part of the sales funnel is to create an ad campaign based on their buyers’ interests, needs, and preferences. By using Blockchain, marketers can create a set of rules for campaigns. This way, an ad will be displayed in front of only those consumers that meet those rules. As a result, brands can allocate their resources and budget with higher accuracy.
- Gather Better and Accurate Insights from KPIs
When making strategies for ad campaigns, metrics play a big role in understanding how a campaign should be created to deliver a customized experience. However, inflated and tapered data and fake metrics can affect how brands make decisions for future campaigns. Blockchain allows brands to retrieve the correct key performance indicators (KPIs) and get accurate real-time customer preference information that will enable them to make better decisions.
- Make Content Management More Streamlined and Reliable
By using Blockchain technology, content delivery can be more data-driven, streamlined, and reliable. It will simplify everything in content management, right from content discovery and content creation to content delivery and content monetization.
Which Platforms Are Already Taking Advantage of Blockchain?
While Blockchain technology might seem quite novel to many businesses and brands, various major platforms have adopted Blockchain already. Tech giants, such as Amazon Web Services, Unilever, IBM, Accenture, Microsoft, Infosys Limited, SAP SE, and Oracle Corporation are already investing in Blockchain technology heavily.
While most companies are using Blockchain to foster transparency and verify the advertising supply chain, many are using Blockchain for developing and verifying quality advertising contracts and automating their workflows to boost the speed of reconciliation of many digital advertising supply chains.
One great example is how the Brave browser is using Blockchain. Instead of pelting its users with online ads, the Brave browser’s users opt into viewing ads and receiving Basic Attention Tokens (BATs) for ads they see and interact with. This way, the browser is changing the way how ads are displayed and customers interact with ads.
Benefits of Blockchain in Digital marketing
Here are some of the top benefits that digital marketing industry can reap from Blockchain technology:
1. Allow More Transparency than Ever
With Blockchain, brands can verify and validate ad metrics without having to rely on third-party services. This way, they can laser target the right audience and authenticate whether an ad is viewed by a real person or a robot. Consequently, it will help increase ROI on online spending and reduce ad fraud.
2. Save Money on Ad Frauds
It is common for advertisers to lose a huge amount of money on fake clicks, fake impressions, fake prints, ad stacking, pixel stuffing, domain spoofing, and a lot more fraudulent actions. Blockchain will help trace the source and save money on those things that don’t bring value to them.
3. Give Data Control to Consumers
Blockchain technology empowers consumers as it makes them in charge of their data. Advertisement platforms and data collection agencies will be rendered powerless. Therefore, consumers will feel more secure and rest assured that their data and privacy are protected.
4. Lower Brands’ Fatigue among Consumers
Blockchain makes it possible for brands to monitor the distribution of advertisements on most advertising channels. It will help reduce the frequency of ads based on the objectives of ad campaigns and that will further help reduce the brand fatigue that develops among consumers by seeing the same ad countless times.
5. Provide More Clarity to Consumers
Brands can establish unwavering trust among consumers because Blockchain offers traceability for both products and services. With Blockchain, customers can know if a beauty brand is cruelty-free, if the food is organic, what kind of soils a product was grown in, if a product was made by exploiting children, and more. This will ultimately help brands that focus on what conscious customers care about.
How to Gain a Competitive Advantage with the Use of Blockchain in Online Business
With the use of Blockchain technology, online businesses can gain competitive advantages in many ways. For instance, companies can help their customers get to the source of their products, where they were manufactured, grown, or built.
This way, companies that are tapping into the real concepts such as sustainability, eco-friendly practices, organic markets, preventing child labor, and non-exploitation of employees will quickly gain an edge and outstand from their competitors that are into shady and malpractices.
Another way that Blockchain can help businesses is by ensuring transparency and accountability in the digital advertising ecosystems. Thus, ad vendors and platforms powered by Blockchain can offer a holistic and actionable view of transactions as well as ad distribution.
The next way Blockchain can offer a competitive advantage is the ability to gather quality data without the help of third parties. Not only does Blockchain help companies save money but it also protects the integrity of data.
Blockchain also ensures secured transactions and reduces transaction costs by eliminating different payment gateway platforms. All of this is done while protecting the users’ anonymity. So, brands can also use Blockchain technology for financial transactions to give peace of mind to their users.
Familiarize with Blockchain
It is certain that Blockchain is the future of digital marketing. Even though it might be too soon to say that it will make the advertisement world fraud-free and put an end to controversies related to inflated and tapered data, Blockchain will help bring a positive and progressive impact on the digital marketing industry.
Now is the best time for businesses to adopt Blockchain-powered platforms and tools to enhance the brand-customer relationship and improve the experience. By becoming an early Blockchain adopter, you can get a head start on your competitors. So, don’t wait anymore and get acclimatized with Blockchain as soon as possible and lead by becoming an example in the Digital Marketing 2.0 revolution.