Many consider blockchain's value in the finance industry, but it also benefits marketers.
- Blockchain has made an impact in all areas of business, including marketing departments.
- Blockchain can be used to achieve key goals in marketing, such as combating fraud and building brand recognition.
- Blockchain addresses a customer's need for transparency and data protection.
What is blockchain, and how does it apply to marketing?
Blockchain is best described as a series of digital records, known as blocks, that are linked together without the need for third-party verification. Blockchain gained public recognition for being the technology that made Bitcoin possible. With blockchain, all transactions could be verified and recorded. Marketers can leverage the technology's positive attributes that customers are searching for in today's digital landscape: transparency and data protection.
Marketing – and data transparency – may take strides forward thanks to blockchain. Blockchain technology is rapidly moving in on many industries. While it's usually discussed in the financial and banking realm, there are many implications of blockchain outside of traditional markets.
According to Statista, blockchain research is well underway in the telecommunications, media, and technology sector. Of this group, 40% said they are in the awareness phase or becoming educated on the technology; 39% said they are experimenting with blockchain or creating proofs of concept; 12% are already deploying blockchain technology and using it in their business.
Since blockchain is so synonymous with finance, many wonder how marketers would even use this technology. Is there a place for blockchain technology in marketing? As it turns out, yes, there is. Blockchain has the ability to change how marketers collect and use data, how they address customers and how they manage ads. Here's a look at the impact blockchain will have on digital marketing.
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Tracking keywords is a challenge for marketers. First, search engine algorithms change often enough that marketers continuously have to change course. Second, tracking keywords on different devices and trying to decipher a local versus national search is problematic. Organic SERP rankings are incredibly complicated to understand, and many marketers have to guess or assume when creating reports.
Using blockchain, marketers could have real numbers for tracking keywords. A tracker built on the blockchain could account for all of the inconsistencies that marketers currently have to account for when summarizing efforts. This type of technology could track keyword positions across all devices and in any location. Marketers could then use this information to create more data-driven, accurate campaigns.
Changes to social media
Companies such as Sociall are changing the way users think about social media. This decentralized network allows users to share, discover and connect without the traditional social media surveillance. Another platform called WildSpark, the first tool released by Synereo, offers its users "a new way to pay attention." It essentially monetizes viral content with the idea that only the best, most popular content will climb the ranks. To quote the website, WildSpark "is a platform-agnostic Attention Economy layer situated on top of existing social media hubs. WildSpark allows content creators and curators to benefit directly from the value they generate online."
These social media changes give users more control over their data. They also reward users for good content or viral content. For marketers, this changes a lot. First and foremost, marketers must assess how relevant these decentralized social networks will become and whether or not their customer base will use them. Second, brands have to offer absolute transparency.
While some marketers fear that they will lose out on data collection, since it's relatively easy to collect data from the current social network giants, it will simply change the way marketers get leads.
Currently, data collection for marketing takes a varied approach. Many marketers collect data from a variety of sources, put it all together and run a campaign based on that. This method is not great, and many campaigns run off of inconsistent or incorrect data.
Since blockchain transactions are decentralized, marketers have to go right to the source for data collection: the consumer. Marketers can pay or incentivize consumers for their data. While this is a higher upfront cost, the ROI from the campaign run off of this data will likely be higher. This way, marketers have accurate data that comes right from their consumers.
Consider this: Consumers who give your brand their data are likely already interested in your company. This makes scoring leads and conversions in the funnel much easier, because these are already prospects ready for nurturing. So yes, it will be more effort and cost upfront, but marketers will gather far better leads using blockchain.
Combating fraud in the ad space
As marketers know too well, there is frequent click fraud in advertising. AdChain is a company trying to combat this with adChain Registry, a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. Ad impressions and clicks are authentic because they're on the trusted blockchain. The company wants to solve the problem of the lack of transparency and the high levels of ad fraud. The platform provides end-to-end transparency for all data, which does not exist in the traditional ad space today.
More transparency for consumers
Many blockchain technologies ultimately provide more transparency for consumers. They know who has their data and how those businesses got the data. For marketers, there will be more data to run campaigns. Though marketers may have to pay for incentive data collection, the information will be real and highly usable in campaigns.
The marketing industry is seemingly just beginning to adopt blockchain technology, but the possibilities and implications are endless.