Blockchain: Reprogramming the Landscape of Marketing
Clicks, ads, page traffic, impressions, and engagement all comprise key components of digital marketing and successful marketing strategy. However, digital marketers have no way of verifying that the information they pay for is valid. According to TechTarget, ad fraud is defined as, “a type of scam in which the perpetrator fools advertisers into paying for something that is worthless to them, such as fake traffic, fake leads, or misrepresented and ineffective ad placement.” In the next decade, ad fraud is predicted to cost $50 billion dollars on a global scale. A new technology called blockchain is believed capable of thwarting this.
In the simplest terms, blockchain, the infrastructure behind Bitcoin, is a transaction ledger that new information may be added to, but previous information, stored in blocks, cannot be altered or deleted. Cryptology, the study and writing of codes, connects each block of information to the last, and blockchain works through a network of thousands of computers solving mathematical proofs. The results of those proofs are shared among the computers, and the network must agree on the solution for the information to be added to the chain. The purpose of the computer network is to eliminate human error and interference, and so that no singular human or machine controls the input of information. Additionally, the recorded transactions can be published and verified, affording transparency to all parties involved.
In the realms of marketing, blockchain gives marketers the ability to track transactions with clients and verify consumer data. This transparency is so important that giant brands, such as Procter and Gamble (P&G), have cut their marketing budgets because the agencies they worked with were unable to show them exactly where their money was going. At the benefit of the marketer, blockchain analyzes every step a consumer takes through the process of ad delivery, confirming that a real person saw the ad. Additionally, it proves that the consequential information, such as clicks and impressions, is legitimate. Marketers are able to monitor where their ads are placed, relieving the threat of ad fraud from automated bots. Blockchain gives marketers the confidence that the information they gather – and pay for – is from the engagement of real consumers.
While blockchain has been described as the best thing since the internet itself, it has yet to become as common and widespread. Blockchain holds the potential to not only change marketing for the better, but to shift business conducted online as a whole. Entrepreneurs deserve to know exactly how their dollars are being spent, and consumers deserve to know exactly how their data is being used – and to determine how it should be used. Blockchain’s data being accessible to the public leaves less room for error on behalf of business, cuts costs by eliminating fraud, and shines light on questions some consumers may have about the information that is collected and stored from them. Time will tell whether or not blockchain will live up to the enthusiasm among the tech community. Yet, in such a rapidly advancing world, a little transparency in this digital age could go a long way.