Blockchain in Digital Advertising: An Overview

blockchain in digital advertising

Blockchain in digital advertising is a hot subject. The global ad industry will hit $563.4 billion in 2017 as digital drives growth, and TV spends being overtaken by digital in 2018. With the increasing spend comes new advertising platforms and trading platforms that focus on offering ad operations optimisation and management efficiencies. Forget about the competitors, the complexity in ad operations comes from being able to get in front of your customers at the right place at the right time.

While programmatic isn’t new, it’s hailed as a solution for bringing advertising in-house, delivering more targeted ads online with speed and efficiency, but it lacks transparency with spend and ad fraud causing inaccurate ad share allocation and complications with foreign exchange conversions. Marketing News contributor Zheng Zhang elaborates it to the point that the overreliance on technology has impacted advertisers bottom line.

Behind the scenes, blockchain in digital advertising technology has been developing momentum as the solution to not only deliver transparency for accurately automated advertising but more trust through the decentralization of the entire network in performing transactions and sharing data. Given its success in cryptocurrency (think Bitcoin), it’s now set to explode on the advertising scene.

Before we sing it’s praises, let’s bring you up to speed around the blockchain technology and the current uses and implications in blockchain for advertising.

What is blockchain?

CNBC International provides a comprehensive overview, but in short, it’s an online decentralized database technology which uses ledgers to record activity across users computers which are then protected using cryptology for safety. Think of it as a Google Doc that you can add and share, but you can’t alter.

Types of blockchain in digital advertising

The list of contenders is building up, and more providers are increasing, but here are the different kinds of blockchains available as the date of this writing.

  • AdChain is an open protocol on Ethereum’s public blockchain. Advertisers and publishers can create their applications which can leave a campaign trail, allowing them to obtain 1st party data ownership
  • Adex is a decentralized ad exchange that utilizes Ethereum to address problems like fraud, privacy, consent and bidding transparency
  • Amino combines technologies from blockchain, payments, and adtech to bring transparency, integrity, and suitability to online advertising
  • Ethereum is a blockchain based, publicly available open source distributed computing platform with its currency called ether
  • Faktor is a blockchain-based identity management platform for connecting brands to content
  • Hyperledger is an umbrella project of open source blockchain initiatives that was started and managed by the Linux Foundation
  • NYIAX helps buy, sell, and re-trade premium advertising inventory utilizing blockchain in partnership with NASDAQ
  • Rebel AI uses machine learning, blockchain, and encryption technologies for advertising fraud
  • The Basic Attention Token (BAT) utilizes the Ethereum blockchain to create a token that can be used to obtain a variety of advertising and attention-based services on a purpose-built platform.

Uses in advertising and media

Some of the long-term impacts and uses in advertising and media which will allow users to pay for someone’s attention directly include:

  • Monetization: Letting writers get immediately paid for the content they distribute to amongst their audiences
  • Data Access: Being able to access data from broadcasters, ad buyers and other content streaming platforms on performance, efficiently and more importantly for free.
  • Fraud: Creating a creative and ensuring that it goes to the actual targeted person
  • Whitelisting: With the use of ad tokens, brands can automatically determine whether they’d like to advertise with them or not
  • Ad Buying – Creating automated contracts for buying and selling ads through a decentralized marketplace

For example, Brave created by the creator JavaScript and the co-founder of JavaScript provides an Adblock browser which users use to pay publishers to access their site content using cryptocurrency. Advertisers use Basic Attention Token (BAT) as a means to pay for users directly for their intention, instead of going through an intermediary like Facebook or Google.

Now is the time to start considering and investing in this technology, because the potential for recovering expenses from and to target your audience is coming back to the publishers/advertisers hands. Let’s encourage faster adoption to make this happen sooner than later.

Did you have any questions around blockchain for advertising that we didn’t cover? Please post them in the comments section below.

This post is by Vahe Arabian, Founder and Editor in Chief of . My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and the latest trends for all to benefit.