Blockchain has arrived!
In fact, Blockchain technology
was one of the Gartner’s top 10 technology trends in 2017.
Why should we bother about Blockchain technology?
If you go to Google
and perform a search
using the keywords “blockchain”,
you will get around 70.8 Million results!
Do you know what is the global blockchain market size?
Well, here is a chart showing the global Blockchain
technology market from 2016 to 2021 (in million U.S. dollars):
No wonder, the Industry is abuzz with this term.
It will not be completely wrong to say that
Blockchain marketing technology has arrived and is about to explode.
As a marketer (or business owner),
you might be wondering- what is blockchain and what is its impact on marketing?
Before we jump on to applications of Blockchain technology
in digital marketing (or marketing in general),
let’s first understand the fundamentals of Blockchain.
Remember the phrase- learn to walk before you run!
What is Blockchain?
A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that
is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered
retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.
Now I am a Digital Growth Hacker;
so I’m assuming you would like a simpler definition as well.
And for this,
let’s use examples of some popular document creation and
collaboration tools to understand blockchain marketing technology.
William Mougayar has written a wonderful post on this.
Using DataBase to Understand Blockchain
Let us assume a customer with Bank A wants
to send money to another user with Bank B.
In a typical scenario,
Bank A will hold the money until Bank B confirms
that it has received the money.
Not in the case of Blockchain.
With blockchain technology, there is only ONE ledger
(not two disparate databases) of transaction entries between the two banks.
Using Google Docs to Understand BlockChain
In this example, let’s say I want to
send YOU a Microsoft Word document.
Now, when you are editing the document,
I cannot do anything with it since I am locked out of editing.
And I’d have to wait until you finish revising the document.
In other words,
two users cannot update the same record simultaneously.
This applies to money transfers as well.
However, if I send the same document to you via Google Docs,
we both will have access to the same version-
aka, a shared document.
Think of blockchain as a shared document.
It contains blocks of identical information minus single-points of control and failure.
I will be a patient teacher!
Maybe this image will help:
What’s the Big Deal about Blockchain Technology?
While Blockchain has become synonymous with cryptocurrencies (such as the Bitcoin)
in recent times, its implications are huge.
The technology would facilitate the transfer of massive amounts of data without security breaches;
making it almost impossible to destroy or alter the blockchain.
Think about its applications to reduce financial fraud.
Blockchain technology has diverse applications.
For example, it can help collect taxes from immigrants to transfer money
to their family in countries where banking is not easy.
I would not be surprised if blockchain could become the epitome of financial trust
between buyers and sellers in the digital space.
Blockchain technology transparency,
security and trust could also disrupt online advertising.
In online advertising, two factors are at risk of being manipulated-
engagement and ad performance.
Using blockchain, an advertiser could curb ad fraud by
making sure that ads were served to REAL users and not to bots.
Blockchain: Any Takers?
A survey by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council
mentions that 0.025% of the global GDP is held in the blockchain.
Tech Giants such as Microsoft, IBM and PwC
are all set to adopt blockchain technology.
Industries such as music distribution, identify verification and title registry can benefit from this technology.
The “transparency” involved with blockchain technology is one of its biggest strengths.
Here is a chart showing the growth of the global blockchain technology market from 2016 to 2021 (projected).
BlockChain Digital Marketing: Why Digital Marketing needs Blockchain ?
Agreed, blockchain is often associated with
cryptocurrency (such as bitcoin) and money.
But blockchain’s reach is quite wide.
How will blockchain technologies affect digital marketing and other search engine marketing (SEM) areas?
Let’s find out.
Here is a video from IBM to help you understand
how blockchain technology works:
BlockChain Digital Marketing & SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Do you like middlemen?
I hear NO! So do I.
In the current situation, businesses such as Google, Facebook,
and LinkedIn act as middlemen-
they connect advertisers with website owner,
and take a cut in the profits.
For example, Google uses the Google Display Network (GDN)
to enable advertisers run ads on websites.
Yup, that’s programmatic advertising.
And websites choose GDN over manually
choosing advertisers because of
the “trust” they have in Google-
that Google includes only the fair ones in its display network;
and that it ensures that the website owner
is paid fairly for clicks on the ads.
What if there is no third party (middlemen) such as
Google between the advertisers and the website owners?
YOU (a website owner) would not have to find advertisers
This is a win-win situation for
the advertisers and website owners.
On one hand, the advertisers can be sure
that they are paying for genuine clicks.
And on the other hand, website owners would witness fair pay.
I hear more profits for the website owners.
And that is what blockchain marketing technology will facilitate- disrupt the middlemen model in media buying.
How about some examples?
The browser app Brave uses the basic attention token,
to allow advertisers to pay users directly for viewing their ads.
The open source, transparent, decentralized and efficient
blockchain based digital advertising token model eliminates the intermediary such as Google or Facebook.
Blockstack is another good example of a
digital service powered by blockchain technology.
With help of this app,
you can access websites while maintaining
your privacy and security.
This means no more annoying ads.
Is it war between GDN and Blockchain?
The security related to Blockchain would also mean reduced online Ad fraud.
Did you know that for every $3 spent on digital ads, fraud takes away $1?
According to Marketing Week, US brands lost around $6.5 billion to ad fraud last year.
Here is a chart depicting the estimated cost of
digital ad fraud worldwide in 2018 and 2022 (Billion USD):
Power Shift From Marketer to CONSUMER
Blockchain gives the control in the hands of the consumer.
Thanks to this technology,
consumers would have greater authority in determining
when, to whom, and for how long to keep their information public.
But this does not necessarily mean it is bad for businesses.
Yes, there could be fewer leads,
but the quality of leads would be better.
How about talking about the world’s first decentralized lead generation platform Snovio!
This platform allows customers to sell their personal data using SNOV tokens.
The financial incentive would attract more users to offer their information.
For businesses, this means up-to-date, quality leads.
BlockChain Digital Marketing & SEO
Once blockchain gains more acceptance on a global level,
SEOs and web developers would have to work together to combat technical challenges related to this technology.
Given the wide range of CMS (content management systems)
and web programming technologies,
compatibility issues would surely arise.
Tony Edward has written a wonderful post on blockchain digital marketing and search engine optimization.
Blockchain & Branding/Influencer Marketing
As a business, adopting blockchain technology (using Bitcoin-friendly payment systems)
would put you in the league of “futuristic” organizations.
You can then create a PR strategy to spread the news.
However, Blockchain would be detrimental to businesses
that make tall promises through marketing and public relations.
Since a customer would be able to verify product/company info,
businesses would have no choice but to present only the REAL facts.
Today, you can see influencers on Instagram or Facebook promoting a wide range of products.
Come Blockchain and businesses would be able to identify if an influencer truly meets their brand’s persona.
A New Paradigm In Customer Data
Customer data is the backbone of organizations today.
What if businesses could pay their customers more to get more details about their behavioral and psychographic traits?
And in lieu of this, companies can demonstrate it to the consumer
how they would use all this information.
Blockchain would help build TRUST between the two sides.
This would remove the guesswork from persona building,
and help marketers target only HOT leads.
Trust, Engagement, and Repeat Business aka Loyalty.
Content Marketing focuses on storytelling.
There is much noise in the digital space today.
Blockchain will change that.
Using Blockchain technology, consumers would have access to
product info as well as the supply chain details.
This would help brands reach consumers in a
more personalized manner.
There will be a shift from
one-to-many marketing approach to one-to-one strategy.
And when that happens, marketing would not sound like a car salesman
trying to use every tuile in the book to
“manipulate” a consumer into buying a vehicle.
While Blockchain is still gaining ground,
marketers and businesses should take this technology seriously.
This could very well be the next BIG thing that could take the world by storm.
What do you think about Blockchain Digital Marketing?
Would you use it in your business?
Share your comments below and voice your thoughts.