The marketing industry generates billions of dollars every year. After all, every company needs ads and various marketing strategies in order to reach their target consumers.
Forrester, a leading market research company, even said that by 2021, digital marketing costs will reach $120 billion. Unfortunately, about half of ad traffic is created by bots. It's a decidedly dishonest practice, especially when you consider how much money companies put out just to reach prospective clients. But this practice might soon come to an end once businesses have a greater capacity to focus on specific customers.
Graphic via Techspot.com
It's a good thing then that digital marketing is very dynamic and open to change. It easily adapts to new technology and the shifting perceptions of customers. At the moment, there's one tech advancement that has the potential to change digital marketing (and the world) like never before – the blockchain.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain might seem too technical for most people to fully grasp, but it's a fairly simple concept. The technology is essentially a public ledger that stores and distributes data. More importantly, everyone that uses blockchain can see and share all its data and by doing so, each user plays a role in keeping it updated and transparent.
The system works by keeping data stored in a chain-like pattern and the transaction history is stored in “blocks.” Information stored in a blockchain can only be added to. It can't be changed or copied. If someone were to attempt to change the history or hack the system, the ledger would have to be updated on all the users' computers. Considering the number of users in a blockchain, this would be almost impossible to do, making the service very secure.
How Will it Impact Digital Marketing?
Blockchain is often linked to cryptocurrency. It's decentralized nature, the freedom it offers, and heightened cybersecurity features makes it perfect storage for virtual money. However, blockchain also has a major impact on digital marketing.
It Will Take Out the Middleman
There's always a middleman in digital marketing which means businesses only get half the value of what they have paid. Blockchain can do away with these intermediaries and help create better value for marketing campaigns.
Graphic via Linkedin.com
With a blockchain, companies can forego the ad buy process and just target their prospective customers directly by paying them to view the ads. Businesses can use “microcurrencies” that customers can avail of once they've proven that they have watched the ad. The Brave browser has already started this, using their Basic Attention Token (BAT) to ensure that companies only pay for the ads that have been viewed by a real person.
Trust is Built With Transparency
One concern that companies have with online advertising is that it's virtually impossible to know if the stats provided are accurate. There's no way to check if the counted site clicks or followers are real customers, or even real people, for that matter. After all, ad companies can hire “clickers” or use bots to boost ad stats so distributors can charge higher fees.
Blockchain will definitely have a significant impact here. Since the system is encrypted and transparent, companies can easily check if those viewing their ads are part of their target audience or not.
There's nothing more disheartening than spending your hard earned cash on a counterfeit product. Blockchain can lessen the odds of this happening by improving merchants' accountability in every step of the supply chain.
Blockchain's vaunted digital ledger system enables transparency that cannot be tampered with. Customers can check details like where the product came from, if it's legit or fake, whether it's bought from a physical store or an online action. Simply put, blockchain empowers the customer and improves their buying experience.
There's no question that the idea behind blockchain is a powerful one. The technology has the potential to impact cryptocurrency, digital marketing, and customer experience. The system is still in its infancy but is expected to see significant growth in the coming year.