Blockchain technology: The future of digital advertising?

  • 2
  • October 25, 2017
Melanie Hyde

Melanie Hyde

Group Head of Paid Search

In recent years, there has been a huge surge in public awareness, interest, and investment into crytpocurrencies. And a fortunate few have made large amounts of digital cash in a relatively short space of time as a result.

What is “blockchain” technology?

It’s an interesting concept of a decentralised, peer-to-peer way of trading/purchasing goods without the use of middlemen and, more importantly, banks! A third currency alternative to government-made currencies and pure commodities like gold or silver.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and was started in 2009 by an anonymous programmer – now there are hundreds of different kinds.

Bitcoin works through a network of computers, like the internet and each transaction is noted on a blockchain. The transaction record is passed around each computer that informs all accounts, kind of like a digital ledger.

The potential uses for blockchain technology are really exciting. Lots of Fortune 500 companies are investing heavily into understanding how this could potentially affect them – which is sensible, as those who don’t will get left behind.

Are cryptos and blockchains the future in terms of how we will share data and perform transactions? I think so.

What does “blockchain” mean for digital advertising?

No single company or organisation has really nailed the potential application for blockchain technology yet, and we may be a few years away from it becoming mainstream. But that does leave the door open for those who are brave enough to make their mark.

For me, the most of obvious uses for blockchain sits in advanced machine learning/AI – to build and deliver ads fairly, without fraud, to an audience that is engaged.

The Basic Attention Token is all about a new ad-tech way of buying ads through the Brave browser. It works by buying ad space to target users who are open to viewing ads, giving advertisers and publishers the opportunity to reach people who are going to be engaged, and avoid any privacy issues.

Users who engage with ads through the BAT will be rewarded with Tokens that they can spend on the web via cryptocurrency, Ethereum. This will mean that advertisers only pay for impressions where a user is 100% engaged, rather than the more traditional route of buying on a CPM basis which has huge wastage. The advertiser also gets to reap the rewards of better ROI, better targeting, and a reduction in fraudulent activity.

Buying through a blockchain will help to eliminate the middleman of ad exchanges, reducing the cost for advertisers and encouraging a fairer network to buy ads.

I personally hope that this takes off. Having a decentralised way of purchasing digital ads will make it a fairer place for us all and can only be a good thing. It will also encourage the use of cryptos, and move us away from governmental controlled systems.

What this means for other digital channels such as PPC or social media, is yet to be seen, although cryptos and blockchains will certainly affect us there, too.

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