Mentions of blockchain and blockchain technology are reverberating across multiple industries. Chances are you’ve heard it mentioned in relation to Bitcoin, since it was originally developed to support it, but what about when it comes to marketing automation? We didn’t either until very recently – the relationship is in its infancy but the potential for a breakthrough is there.
In this article we’d like to take you through some of the main developments we can expect from the blockchain and marketing automation’s nascent relationship.
What is blockchain, anyway?
Don’t worry if you’re still a little fuzzy with your understanding of what blockchain actually is. Blockchain technology is a process whereby digital information can be distributed but not copied and it was developed specifically to support Bitcoin; when launched, blockchain was hailed as the foundation of a new type of internet. Data isn’t recorded in a traditional database, blockchain uses a ‘ledger’ – transparent but secure record of transactions – to store data in a decentralised manner.
Here’s a concise primer on blockchain:
Solving advertising fraud
As the technology becomes more familiar to people, uses for it outside of Bitcoin are being discovered and adapted by many industries.
One of the biggest issues currently plaguing the marketing industry is advertising fraud and it’s become enough of a problem for companies like P&G that they’ve begun to cut their advertising budgets. Figures from Proxima show that 35% of web activity is fraudulent, 60% of all digital marketing spend is going to waste since a total of 54% of all online ads are never seen by humans. Reflect on these figures for a minute and what this means for brands’ advertising budgets coupled with ROI predictions. It’s no wonder that even giant conglomerates, with seemingly depthless pockets, are starting to lose patience, and revenue.
But how can blockchain help in this situation? Blockchain has the ability to provide companies with transparency about data. In turn, this would produce better ROI through verification of users together with insurance that any deployed marketing campaigns are actually getting seen by real people. Additionally, marketers will have greater control over delivery through better monitoring where and how the ads are placed, leading to better engagement, tracking, and data validity.
Marketing campaign optimization
Data, despite its widespread availability, is currently underutilised, leading to non-precise targeting that overwhelms consumers, creating a distrust towards the marketing industry as a whole. Not all data is created equal and without a sophisticated single customer data platform it can be near impossible to gather the kind of insights that would assist in the creation of successful marketing campaigns.
Dr Redman, an advisor and innovator at Data Quality Solutions, believes that “The way our organizations are set up today is wrong for data. Companies are built around a division of labour, with an assembly line mentality. In the Industrial Age, this was remarkably effective. But now, these silos prevent data-sharing.” Data should be accessible and used by all staff across the board, rather than just the IT department, and this can be made possible with the help of easy to use marketing automation software.
Blockchain can boost the individual approach to data by ensuring that ads are never over-served, a common bugbear of customers who see online ads follow them even after they’ve purchased from the advertised site, implementing optimal ad frequency. Blockchain offers a level of tracking and transparency that’s currently not available to brands.
Marketing has much to gain from blockchain technology even as it remains a fairly niche system that’s not well understood by many. Marketers everywhere need to be more aware of the challenges facing them online, mainly the amount of fraudulent activity siphoning advertising budgets.
There’s still a long way to go before blockchain can be successfully implemented as the process remains too slow and manual (transactions have to be verified by ‘miners’ globally) before it is successfully integrated into ad-tech. In the meantime, gathering and precise use of data is the best solution currently available to marketers and brands looking to make a real impact with consumers.