In the current digital marketing industry, people are beholden to the advertiser. They often have little to no control of their personal data. When they use the web, their information is captured and stored for later use. This lack of control has led to widespread concerns about digital security. People are increasingly fed up with the amount of private information freely available to businesses.
For marketers, the concerns are equally alarming. Procter and Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, has openly reprimanded the industry for issues such as fraud, brand safety, and transparency. In response, people and marketers alike are becoming increasingly digi-literate. The search for private alternatives to public networks only adds to the allure of a confidential transaction.Enter blockchain.
How blockchain can be used in digital marketing
Blockchain technology could turn this model on its head, acting as an inadvertent regulator to the digital marketing industry. Currently, digital marketing is built on a model where a central middleman in the form of trusted media sites (like Facebook and Google), facilitate the advertising buying and selling process. Blockchain has the ability to disrupt this model by allowing advertisers to directly buy and sell to the user. For instance, the browser application Brave uses its “Basic Attention Token” (BAT) to allow advertisers to pay people directly for viewing their ad. The amount paid is calculated by monitoring the viewer’s “mental effort,” creating smarter advertising spend for brands and a better experience for their customers.
Another app disrupting the digital advertising landscape is Blockstack, an open-source project and Public Benefit Corp (PBC) that allows users to access websites while maintaining their privacy and security. This service is powered by blockchain technology, where people have the ability to explicitly give read/write permissions to their data. Information is then directly encrypted on their personal device, removing the need for a third party. Blockstack customers are able to access the content they wish, without the concern of receiving unwanted targeted advertising — power back to the consumer.
By eliminating the consumer’s identity from the purchasing journey, private details are no longer freely available to digital marketers searching for leads. This means that an elusive source of lead generation may all but dry up. Or so it may seem.
Consumers reclaim control, marketers generate stronger leads
Increased consumer control does not necessarily equate to reduced customers. Rather, consumers will have greater authority in determining when, to whom, and for how long their information is available. People could have the ability to buy and sell their own personal information, yielding greater autonomy of information. But the benefits of blockchain aren’t exclusive to the customer. For marketers, the amount of leads could be lower, but the quality of leads will be undoubtedly stronger.
We are already seeing companies doing this, such as Snovio, which is the first lead-generation service built on this technology. Snovio allows the customer to sell their personal data by exchanging SNOV tokens. The exchange provides people with greater control over their data, while creating a massive database of up-to-date, quality leads. The database is built on the principles of crowdsourcing data collection so its growth is wholly dependent on the users who choose to contribute. By providing financial incentive, people will be more inclined to offer their information. This dynamic will flip the standard of digital marketing models, causing a shift in power from marketer to consumer.
The way forward
There are no two ways about it — blockchain technology is here to stay. Whether or not it will be widely adopted by marketers is no longer a question of if, but when. The market’s infatuation with blockchain signifies this process has already begun.
Digital advertisers should stay on top of upcoming companies operating on blockchain technology. While they may seem overwhelming, early adoption of blockchain will be crucial to the success of any future digital marketing strategy.
To see Fred speak about blockchain’s role in programmatic advertising, get your RampUp tickets here!