Best known as the infrastructure for Bitcoin, blockchains are changing the way marketers and consumers interact. Blockchain is a technology in which data can be stored in mass amounts but cannot be copied by outside sources. With blockchain being such an ambiguous term, it can be difficult to see the potential influence on the digital marketing industry. However, this technology offers changes not only to consumers, but marketers as well.
Personal Data Collection:
Since companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have seen backlash for their collection of personal data, users are becoming progressively more concerned about what information is being bought and sold by corporations on the internet. Through blockchain technology users would have the option to keep their data to themselves, rather than offer it up to pages upon entry.
Companies such as IBM have recently filed patents to create blockchain based web-browsers. IBM says that a blockchain based browser “affords a system for storing browsing information such that privacy is preserved and places privacy in the ‘hands of a user’ rather than a third party.” In addition to IBM, a firm called Blockstack, is already pursuing this technology but for the app industry. Blockstack is a decentralized computing network and app ecosystem that puts users in control of their identity and data in the same way that IBM plans to.
With more user data protected, acquiring desired information would have to come from the users themselves. Gathering this will more than likely have to come with a method that isn’t prominent in today’s digital marketing world, incentivizing the user.
Compensating the Consumer:
Through blockchain, where users are in control of their own information, marketers would have to encourage users to willingly provide their data in an exchange, rather than passively gathering it. Allowing users to charge for their information and attention, comes through two mediums.
The first of these would be when a company offers users compensation directly. This would take place in terms of microtransactions which would be for data such as providing an email for an e-newsletter and then subsequently opening it. By doing this, the consumer has the option to make money for their information and engagement.
The second option would focus on changing how digital ads are displayed within browsers. Applications such as The Brave Blockchain Browser, in conjunction with Basic Attention Token (BAT) are looking to protect users while also providing marketers with more ideal data. Through Brave and BAT, advertisers would first purchase ads which are deliverable through a multitude of mediums. After ads have been created the next step falls to the consumer. Users who surf through engines like Brave would have the choice to opt-in to see advertisements based on categories. Upon opting into viewing ads, users would receive part of the advertiser’s budget as compensation to which they could support their favorite sites or content creators. Creators such as Bart Baker and Philip DeFranco, who combined hold over 16 Million subscribers on YouTube, have already signed up and partnered with the browser along with 28,000 others.
While consumers see benefits through these processes, marketers will also see advantages. With people providing their own information to a certain category or company, the data received will be more accurate rather than acquiring the information from a third party. In addition, this will give insight to marketers about what kind of content or products someone is interested in due to the opt-in policy that focuses the category of ads people are interested in.
Through blockchain digital marketing, brands will have an easier time organically advertising with a page rather than going through Facebook or Google. With blockchain technology validating users, advertisers would know that the site they are looking to advertise on is receiving genuine clicks. All of this allows the publisher to be compensated fairly and reduces the extra costs to the marketer that a middleman such as Google would take to process and place the advertisement.