For those of you who know what blockchain is or have heard of it before, it’s likely that you know it primarily as part of the whole cryptocurrency ecosystem. It’s where the term was coined and popularized as a method of ensuring secure, legitimate payments. However, the blockchain is being used much more widely nowadays, and internet marketers could be the latest to capitalize on it.
In this article we’re going to look at how blockchain could change marketing forever, so let’s start with a quick layperson’s description of the blockchain.
What Is Blockchain?
We’re not going to go into the technical aspects of how blockchain works, exactly, as that is an entire article unto itself.
To put it simply, a blockchain system is a decentralized information system where records are stored in not just one server or database. Rather, the records are replicated and stored across a system of hundreds, or thousands of devices.
It’s a list of transactions (stored in blocks), and it doesn’t just mean cryptocurrency transactions, either. It can show a record of any kind of transaction, with the multiple individual versions of the blockchain verifying themselves against every other copy of the record on other systems.
There’s no way for one person to keep hold of all the blockchain records or to corrupt them and falsify records, as they are self-verifying.
It’s an invisible system that most consumers will never interact with, but it may drive the majority of online transactions, all the same.
Goodbye Closed System, Hello Open Market
Blockchain is primed to be incredibly disruptive. Banks are already rushing to incorporate the technology to compete with the security and verification power that it offers cryptocurrency providers.
The most disruptive part of it applies just easily to marketing, too. We’re talking about the idea of decentralized marketing data.
Right now, marketing data tends to be centralized in one place. An individual business can put together all the data they get from sources like Google. But large corporations like Facebook and Amazon are sitting on a goldmine of customer data, all in their own central storage.
With blockchain, there is no centralized storage. Rather, information is kept between many individual systems without any middleman.
The different copies of the information verify and validate each other, ensuring that they’re all legitimate and identical.
A business using blockchain could adapt their marketing strategies to a customer’s past records much more easily. They will be able to tailor their marketing not only to marketing platforms they control, but a whole range of platforms can use the same blockchain.
Better Ad Veracity
One of the biggest problems in internet marketing is verifying that you are spending money without the assurance that your ads are being seen by humans as often as is being reported.
Programmatic marketing can see you relying on a lot of third parties, who may inflate the numbers for their own purposes or because their own systems aren’t sophisticated enough to know when they are dealing with fake traffic and fake leads.
Ad fraud has fast become a serious concern in internet marketing.
Whether it’s a deliberate move by marketing companies and partners, or simply a result of being on an internet where malicious bots and competitors are likely to try and waste your ad budget, it can be extremely expensive.
There have been different attempts to better verify that ads are being seen by real humans and blockchain could be the best hope that we have in combatting ad fraud. In particular, blockchain means that spend history on ads becomes much more transparent.
You don’t necessarily have to rely on third-party marketing partners. It can offer verified ad delivery, assuring you that a real person interacted with the ad, and allows anyone to verify exactly where those ads have been placed.
Fewer Redundant Marketing Costs
This means that, for instance, you will have fewer redundant ads.
Many consumers have experience of being marketing to with advertisements for things they have recently purchased. For instance, if they just bought a car, that one website may adapt its marketing to ensure that they don’t have a car advertised to them. But if they leave that site and go on another platform, they see the exact same ad or a different one but for the same brand and the same car.
Blockchain will allow each individual platform and system to stay updated with the customer’s journey.
If that customer bought a car through one online platform, then others will have that information updated through the blockchain and won’t show those same advertisements when the customer comes around. This not only means that customers are going to be annoyed much less often by redundant ads. It also means that the one car manufacturer or dealing paying for those ads is no longer going to be paying for them.
Marketers are constantly learning more about customer behavioural habits. For instance, you can learn exactly how many times an ad should be shown to a customer. If they see it a little less, it might not be as effective a lead-building strategy. If they see it more, it starts to annoy them and makes them less likely to spend convert.
Blockchain offers better veracity, ensuring you that your marketing isn’t cluttered by fake views, while also staying updated as to the latest record of interactions with the individual customer. This can help you find that sweet spot of ad exposure for every individual customer.
When will the future of blockchain marketing arrive?
With blockchain, tailoring your marketing strategies to individual customers is going to be easier than ever.
A moving, breathing record of any customer’s interaction with your marketing, as well as more informed data targeting customers with a specific interest in your product, will drastically cut on the amount of money spent on redundant advertising.
It will take time for marketers to fully figure out blockchain, but it may well become one of the core disciplines of online marketing, just like SEO before it. There’s no standardization of blockchain just yet, so uptake is still rather slow.
However, there’s a lot of incentive to standardize blockchain in not just marketing, but banking, voting systems, the internet of things and much more. The future may be here sooner than you might think.
Check out this video on where the blockchain will disrupt marketing and payment gateways: