From data protection to asset tracking, blockchain technology is revolutionising many industries worldwide. The digital advertising industry is no exception as blockchain is now being increasingly recognised for its ability to help solve two of the sector’s most rife and long-standing challenges; ad fraud and a lack of transparency.
Blockchain technology itself remains a relatively new concept in advertising and is still establishing itself across the industry. However, it can offer both advertisers and publishers an unprecedented solution for tackling the digital advertising’s inherent issues.
Providing true transparency over ad spend
In today’s automated ad market, advertisers are faced with an increasing amount of vendors and intermediaries at all stages. This is making it harder to trade efficiently when completing transactions, causing a lack of clarity over where budget is spent. However, integrating blockchain can reduce these risks, particularly when it comes to trading within the programmatic marketplace.
However, blockchain has been recognised for its ability to collect and store a full audit trail of every transaction made. By providing advertisers with a permanent receipt of events, they can ensure that they are only incurring fair and accurate charges, lowering the risk of hidden costs and allowing for tamper-proof accuracy of products moving through the supply chain.
Utilising blockchain’s foundation, advertisers can create a more secure network which allows them to transact with more transparency and confidence over where budget is invested and where their campaigns are delivered.
This also works to the advantage of the seller, given that they will be able to see the full buyer transaction process and know exactly which advertisers they are trading with.
Minimising the risk of ad fraud
In addition to improving transparency, blockchain is also designed to verify the validity of transactions and provide an incorruptible record, a trait which lends itself extremely well to combatting ad fraud. Through its decentralised network, blockchain is able to provide advertisers and publishers with a permanent and irreversible receipt of all transactions, leaving no room for fraud, especially when it comes to domain spoofing, which remains one of the most prevalent forms of ad fraud.
While this holds huge financial advantages, the technology can also be programmed to record almost any type of data which makes it an extremely effective alternative to traditional storage methods. By creating immutable timestamps of each transaction, blockchain will therefore protect highly personal consumer data when sharing or storing internally or externally, leading to reduced fraudulent activity.
Integrating blockchain with digital ad platforms can therefore lower or even eliminate the risk of fraud from all areas of the media trading process and could be the key to restoring security marketers need to increase efficiency and optimise their budget expenditure.
Enabling greater brand safety
In addition to combating these industry-wide issues, blockchain technology can also work to safeguard against poor ad quality. Today, programmatic ads are both targeted and placed based on the criteria of the most appropriate target demographics. While this offers more efficiency across the supply chain, it also means that marketers ultimately have less control over where their ads are being delivered, leading to poor or low quality placements.
By holding all data and insights within a public and uninterrupted network, blockchain can offer advertisers the intelligence needed to successfully track exactly where their ads are gaining impressions and through which channels.
Not only does this allow them to better understand their ad campaigns and where they are being delivered, it can provide them with the insights needed for a more selective approach to their trading strategy and ensure that only high quality ads are reaching their audiences.
Driving efficiency through automation
With efficiency central to the successful delivery of ad campaigns, marketers should recognise the ability of blockchain to automate many manual processes. Through the operation of a more traditional centralised ecosystem, advertisers are required to constantly update their whitelists in order to purchase traffic from quality suppliers. Not only is this a time consuming but the margin for error is inevitably higher. However, blockchain-hosted smart contracts can enable advertisers to acquire quality traffic and impressions automatically, lowering the likelihood of errors and improving the delivery of campaigns.
By driving security and efficiency in the supply chain in this way, blockchain can also contribute towards ensuring personalisation by freeing up more time for the advertisers to think more effectively about how to tailor their campaigns and new ways to serve them.
Ensuring security amidst GDPR
As programmatic progresses, it needs to have the right measures in place to remain compliant with the wider regulations imposed upon it. One of the most notable changes in legislation will be the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, which will shakeup data handling processes for advertisers. Once enforced, the regulation will require companies to obtain active consent from customers for the use of their personal information, whilst enabling consumers to remove data from any database.
By integrating blockchain, advertisers will be able to trace the source of personal and client transactional data which might otherwise be lost or susceptible to cybersecurity breaches. Improving the visibility and security of data in this way can reduce concerns over transparency and enable advertisers to ensure they are being fully GDPR compliant.
Within today’s increasingly competitive industry, the need for efficient and effective ad campaigns is crucial and companies must consider the benefits which new technologies, such as blockchain technology can offer. Given the huge potential for change and improvement it is offering the digital advertising industry, I predict that we will see a surge in efforts amongst advertising and publishers to implement the blockchain technology in the near future.