Unless you’ve been traveling in outer space, you have heard of cryptocurrency and blockchain. Stories about cryptocurrency and blockchain, the technology that foments digital currencies (or tokens), dominate the news as newly minted millionaires seem to get younger every story. However, they are two separate entities when it comes to future applications.
Certainly, cryptocurrency is disrupting the financial world in many ways. However, blockchain will massively impact how we do business, communicate and transact. Its capabilities reach beyond the financial sector and will change many industries, including law enforcement, healthcare, intellectual property rights to name a few. And soon marketing in new and profound ways.
What Is Blockchain?
In basic terms, blockchain is a kind of ledger. Imagine a huge spreadsheet where massive amounts of data can be seen, stored, amended and shared securely. Years ago Napster created the first peer-to-peer network; today blockchain is the evolutionary result of those early platforms that allows information to be stored and distributed but not copied. “Every section of the peer-to-peer network verifies every incoming transaction,” says Martech’s Barry Levine, “which becomes a new block of data that gets added to the ‘blockchain,’ so the recorded value is available to everyone on the network.”
In a recent Forbes article, Ahmal Williams states, “No one can alter or destroy a blockchain. That kind of inviolability creates a single point of truth, which will be highly valuable to businesses and marketers. It’s possible that a second currency resulting from blockchain initiatives will be trust. The truth about products and claims is easily verified via blockchain technology, and marketers will be able to capitalize on that like never before.”
And it’s the marketer’s job to build trust with a product to pull it through the marketing funnel.
How Will It Impact Digital Marketing?
Brand storytelling, which relies on interaction with consumers and users of a product or service will benefit from blockchain. Brands can share verifiable information to their target audience, on a one-to-one basis who will instantly have access to the product’s journey and the full story of that product. This moves us from a one-to-many model to a one-to-one connection with the consumer that does not appear as marketing, but a unique experience between a brand and consumer.
Ad delivery, where it’s almost impossible to know if stats are accurate, will benefit from this trust currency. On a blockchain platform, there can be no discrepancy in confirming that a targeted person saw the ad and for how long. As a transparent record of each activity or transaction is made on the blockchain, ad performance is verified for the optimal frequency with limits set on overserving.
Further, publishers will be able to bypass the media buyers (middlemen). Forrester estimated that removing the middleman could improve CPM from $1-$5. It’s conceivable that blockchain could allow publishers to skip the ad buy all together and pay audiences to view their ads, receive instant feedback, launch loyalty programs and develop a dialogue. In other words, prove they have their targets audience’s attention before any exchange of currency. Currently, the Basic Attention Token (BAT) allows advertisers to pay based on an effort and engagement by the person viewing the ad.
The opportunities for blockchain to transform marketing and business are profound. The day where advertisers will pay consumers for their information is not far off. And we can only imagine the impact blockchain will have on corporate accountability, social responsibility and the enormous efficiencies it will bring for marketers to speak with their target audiences.
The future will be here sooner than we think and it will be for the better.