Blockchain technology has made inroads in industries from logistics to health care. Now, it’s gaining traction with corporate brand marketers, who see it as a powerful tool that can address the pitfalls of online advertising—which despite the digitization nature, reporting and performance metrics remain to a great extent, highly opaque. Let’s frame it “Adtech Meets Martech”. And let’s give a shout-out to WSJ reporter Lara O’Reilly for below extracts from her July 11 2018 report..
Anheuser-Busch, ATT Inc., Kellogg Co, Bayer AG and Nestle SA are among the many major advertisers that are starting to use digital ledger technology and the blockchain to figure out whether their ads are viewed by real people, not computer-generated bots, and how much of their spending is syphoned off by middlemen.
“I believe in the next two to three years, most of the programmatic media will move to being blockchain-based because advertisers will want transparency and this will provide it.” Lucas Herscovici, global marketing vice president at Anheuser-Busch
For those who may have been operating in an alternative universe, blockchain is a secure, multi-dimensional digital database that can house a ledger of transactions, distributed across multiple computers. It allows business partners to keep a record of their transactions, stored as “blocks” and updated in real-time, based on an agreement among the parties. Blocks can’t be altered.
The technology –perhaps best known as the engine that powers cryptocurrency, is booming in nearly every industry sector. But, as pointed out by Prospectus.com LLC Chief Operating Officer Jay Berkman, “Its about the blockchain, blockhead; not Bitcoin!” Now the secure, transparent nature of the digital ledger technology has drawn interest in the advertising world, where dealings between marketers, their ad agencies and tech vendors often aren’t transparent, leading to distrust and fears among advertisers that they are wasting money.
Some blockchain companies promise to tell online advertisers how much of their money is going to middlemen — the so-called ad tech tax — and how much gets to the publisher selling the ad space.
Marketing-intelligence firm Warc estimated that of every dollar spent world-wide last year on “programmatic” ads—a term used for ads bought using automated software—just 40 cents on average made it to the publisher selling the ad space. Advertisers end up paying a “tech tax” to the intricate chain of vendors between a marketer and the website that runs an ad.