As we get further into the digital age, new technologies and processes continue to pop up. One of the newest technologies that we’re learning about is blockchain. And even more, we’re learning how blockchain is applicable to marketing.
Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss what blockchain—and blockchain marketing—is, its pros and cons, and what marketers and advertisers can expect in the future.
Let’s get started.
What is the Blockchain?
Blockchain is essentially a digital chain of blocks that keeps a public ledger of transactions. It’s a decentralized technology, meaning that no single person or entity owns or runs it. Because of this, there’s no middle man and the technology is much more secure.
What do we mean by middle man?
Well, consider when you go to a bank. Your bank has to essentially approve any transactions that you make, and their technology alone is what keeps track of your money. If they say you can’t make a transaction, that’s that—even if you have the money.
However, blockchain holds a number of cryptocurrencies, or digital money. And because no one is managing the blockchain—instead, it’s a public ledger kept on a network—the amount of crypto you have is always correct, and you can always trust that number and the fact that if you send some to someone, it’s going to go through.
While blockchain technology is the perfect place for creating and housing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, there are more applications than that—including when it comes to marketing.
What Does Blockchain Marketing Mean?
When you hear the term “blockchain marketing,” it’s likely referring to the ability to use blockchain technology within a digital marketing strategy. While blockchain is currently used almost exclusively for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency, we’ll start to see even more applications as we learn even more about this new technology.
And some applications of blockchain that we’ll see will apply to marketing.
Blockchain in marketing can create more a secure relationship between brands and their customers, allowing them to design more targeted advertisements without needing to share so much data with so many companies.
As we dive further into blockchain technology, there will be so many different opportunities that open up to brands. We’re going to talk more about what those opportunities and impacts might look like shortly.
Pros and Cons of Blockchain Marketing
Is blockchain in marketing a good thing? What are the potential implications of this technology? Let’s look at some pros and cons so we’re able to understand the full scope of the potential changes.
Pros of Blockchain Marketing
There are a few pros of blockchain adoption in the marketing industry:
- Blockchain is trustworthy
- Data can never be stolen or sold
- It prevents fraud
- It eliminates the need for a middleman in both transactions and advertising
- It strengthens content monetization
Cons of Blockchain Marketing
And of course, every rose has its thorn. There are still cons to blockchain:
- Data can sometimes still be controlled, like in instances where a single entity owns the majority of the nodes
- It’s expensive
- It requires a lot of energy
Only time will tell if the pros outweigh the cons. But let’s dive into some ways that we might start to see the impact of blockchain on marketing.
How Blockchain Technology Can Impact Digital Marketing
What might the role of blockchain in the marketing industry look like? Let’s take a walk through some of the biggest changes and opportunities that blockchain technology may be able to afford the digital marketing industry in the future.
Users could be compensated for viewing ads
As it stands now, users are bombarded with advertisements on nearly any channel they access. From television ads and billboards down the highway to social media and website ads, there are constant pushes for purchases.
However, with blockchain, the advertising experience could become a lot more direct. In fact, some of the budget companies are using to pay for ads could be shifted to provide some sort of compensation to users when they view a company’s ads.
Damien Martin, marketing executive at London-based Shufti Pro, says that with blockchain, “People can opt-in to view ads in exchange for digital currency or token.”
We can already see this in action with browser program Brave. They’ve created a program where their users can opt-in to view private ads, and get compensated with tokens they can exchange for gift cards or cryptocurrency for doing so.
This could be a gamechanger for phenomena like ad fatigue as consumers will be directly asking to view ads, rather than having them appear every time they scroll down a page.
Data is more secure and won’t be sold
The way our technology works now is secure—but it’s not secure enough. How many times have you seen emails come through about data breaches for companies that have your consumer data?
But more than that, some companies that you give your data to (even if it’s just your name and email address) sell that data to other companies to make a profit. And boom, all of a sudden you’re subscribed to twelve new company newsletters that you never opted in to.
Blockchain can help change all of that. Because transactions on the blockchain are kept completely anonymous, you don’t have to worry about your data getting out.
Another tool, Stacks, has created a network of decentralized apps that ensures your data doesn’t need to be stored inside of these apps to use them. Think about how logging into certain apps and websites requires certain data—this is no longer a factor with Stacks. It instead holds your data securely in their tool and uses that to log you into other apps without ever sharing your data.
Marketing becomes much more transparent and reliable
Brands may say that they’re selling 100% organic products. But can they prove it? Customers understandably have doubts when it comes to marketing campaigns and advertisements.
But with the blockchain, brands are able to be much more transparent, making it easier than ever for consumers to gain trust in businesses. Because blockchain showcases different transactions, businesses are able to use it to prove their supply chain process.
This means customers are able to see exactly where certain products came from, where they were made, and with what materials. “For instance,” Martin also explained, “if the product was really organic or if the farmer in the supply chain was paid fairly.”
Information like this will make a big impact when it comes to competition. Companies that may have been preferred in the past will be jilted for companies with a more ethical supply chain, as consumers are becoming more and more conscious about their buying decisions.
But this is a good thing. It means small businesses are able to be trusted more easily, giving them a competitive edge in the market, especially when up against big box stores.
Businesses can gather more accurate leads
But blockchain is also beneficial for businesses; not just consumers. Right now, brands are gathering customer data through cookies. This then informs things like retargeting campaigns and email funnels. However, not all of that data is always accurate, making some of these campaigns a massive waste of money.
With blockchain, companies will be able to get much more accurate leads because they’ll be getting the exact data from the customers themselves.
And how is that happening? We already talked about how blockchain technology is more secure and doesn’t hand over customer data.
In this instance, the customer would be handing over their data and information themselves. And similar to Brave’s ad compensation program, the customer would be incentivized to do so, either through discounts, tokens, or another form of compensation.
Because the customer will be opting in themselves, the lead data that companies are able to gather will be much more accurate, allowing them to market much more effectively.
Ads may become more affordable
If you want to run online ads, you have to go through a trusted—or at least reputable—platform like Google or Facebook. Because the market for ad platforms is slim, they’re able to pretty much set their prices. And this is why they’re generating $43 billion and $32 billion per quarter in ad revenue, respectively.
With blockchain technology, brands and websites with available ad space can be verified automatically so they can work together directly without having a middleman inflate ad costs.
Not only does this mean that ads may be much cheaper and more affordable in the future, but it means brands will also have much more accurate data and metrics from their ads. They’ll know exactly how many people saw their ads, making ad tracking much more seamless.
Plus, as all transactions on the blockchain are publicly viewable, brands will be able to see which purchases came as a direct result of their advertisements—and where those advertisements were placed.
Anytime new technology comes to the forefront, there can be questions and concerns around its security and viability. But blockchain technology is providing us with a lot more pros than cons—especially in the marketing industry.
Although it will take some time for blockchain marketing to catch on, it’s important to understand where the industry is headed so you can start adopting some new tools and best practices for your marketing strategy.
Want to learn even more about blockchain marketing? We’ve got a few big FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is blockchain marketing?
The blockchain creates a direct line of communication and interaction between brands and their customers. This is a game-changer for marketing and partnership collaborations as it makes processes become easier and straightforward, eliminating middlemen in things like contracts, online advertising, online transactions, and more.
How is blockchain used in advertising?
Because blockchain is a great space for keeping a digital record of transactions that cannot be altered, blockchain can be used to keep track of ad spend in real-time.
Where can you advertise cryptocurrency?
There are a number of places crypto brands can advertise. From search engine ads to social media ads, there are a lot of options—however many platforms do have regulations in place for cryptocurrency.
There are also a few cryptocurrency advertising platforms to check out, like:
Can you run cryptocurrency ads on Facebook?
While Facebook banned cryptocurrency ads in the beginning of 2018, they scaled that ban back mid-2019, so crypto brands are able to run Facebook ads as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
What industries will benefit most from blockchain technology?
There are a number of industries that blockchain could change in the future, from banking, cybersecurity, and supply chain management to government, insurance, healthcare, and cloud storage.