Blockchain would be a success story in marketing and advertising if the industry determined how to harness its decentralized and distributed ledger concepts, but that’s something that has yet to happen.
Speaking about blockchain in 2018 is similar to speaking about internet routers and switches in 1998. Those technologies were critically important to the development of the internet, but most users don’t think twice about them when doing a Google search today. In order for blockchain to see any mainstream success in marketing and advertising, the technology needs to be enmeshed into the inner workings of new offerings.
Here are three ways advertisers and marketers need to start using blockchain to increase their ROI, adhere to changing regulations and better target customers and prospects.
Marketers struggle with the fact that 50–60 percent of clicks are bots. They should be able to verify the identity of a real human on the other end of an ad, allowing for more direct ROI calculations. But bringing this concept to scale has not yet been proven possible.
Marketers can combine blockchain solutions and a robust onboarding process to verify the entity that’s actually clicking on an ad, increasing ROI and reducing fraudulent clicks. In order to verify that the data being written to the blockchain is not fraudulent, you need a rigorous ingestion process to ensure the data is valid before it is written to the blockchain.
In the B2B context, this could include proof of incorporation (UCC filings) or proof of ownership of a range of IP addresses (for corporate offices). In theory, data verification on a blockchain would require a similar onboarding process to getting a driver’s license, requiring multiple verification points and procedures to verify identity initially.
Privacy is a paramount concern for B2B companies trying to reach individuals within a business. With laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) looming and multiple state and national privacy laws already in place, it will become increasingly difficult for marketers and advertisers to legally collect information to use in their targeting.
Marketers can stay ahead of the ever-changing regulatory curve by using blockchain to geofence data. Here, blockchain acts like a digital rights management (DRM) system. A smart contract residing on the blockchain will include certain rights and privileges, like where the data is allowed to be used, where it can’t be used, where you can store it and so on. Users then directly opt into those choices, and data is collected according to those agreed-upon rules.
This means that marketers and advertisers need to offer enough value to the customer that they willingly volunteer information on their interests.
Businesses need to be thinking about this now; it is so different than the way programmatic advertising has typically been run. If customers see they are no longer receiving value from making their data available, they have no reason to leave it open and accessible.
Blockchain, along with more granular first-party data, allows buyers and sellers to become more directly connected. The challenge in a B2B context is tying an individual buyer to the company for which they work, allowing B2B businesses to interact with these high-value individuals.
Marketers can begin identifying individuals using a public key on the blockchain. That key can then be used along with a unique business identifier in order to track the potential prospect and their buying behavior. This allows B2B companies to track a person in the context of their business so that the actions for that account can be easily traced.
While blockchain is still in its infancy in the marketing and advertising space, it will provide multiple benefits once companies figure out how to harness its power. And like the technologies that came before it, all it’s going to take is one big success story to propel blockchain into modern day marketing use. Marketers can start by using blockchain to prevent fraud, adhere to regulatory changes and identify verified users, all things that will boost your ROI.
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