Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have become an important fixture on the digital landscape in recent years, with far-reaching impacts on all kinds of businesses, both online and physical. But when it comes to digital marketing, the concept of the blockchain is proving especially exciting.
Put simply, a blockchain is a digital record of transactions that is practically immune to fraud. It works as the recorded transactions are distributed on countless computers all over the world, and these ‘blocks’ are chained together to accurately show all the previous transactions. There is no central authority to this ledger, meaning they cannot be faked or manipulated. Many cryptocurrencies are based on this kind of blockchain technology.
But how can this affect online marketing? As we’ve seen over recent months, consumer confidence in the digital world is slipping, leading to major tech companies like Apple and Google making seismic shifts to the way cookies and other forms of ad tracking are used. Privacy leaks and hacks have led to a loss of confidence among the public at large and a growing distrust over what huge corporations are really doing with our personal data.
Blockchain technology can rebuild consumer trust in the digital world. As an incorruptible system, the customer can feel more comfortable being part of this decentralised structure. There is no central hub so there is no one point of vulnerability for hacks by cybercriminals or technical malfunctions. This is the foundation for a more secure and transparent system that everyone can have faith in.
The old murky ways of harvesting user data and sending unwanted marketing material is out – the modern consumer wants hyper-specific targeted communication from companies they trust. The problem isn’t with online advertising – most people accept online ads as an important way to fund websites and platforms – but they want them to be relevant.
Digital advertising tokens such as Basic Attention Token (BAT) are attempting to address this, delivering key benefits to every party in the chain, including the platform, the advertiser and the end-user. While it is some way from competing with leading browsers, it’s easy to imagine the teams behind Chrome or Firefox adopting some of these technologies and bringing them into the mainstream world and completely transforming the world of online ads.
But BAT is just one example of how the blockchain can help the world of digital marketing. There are undoubtedly many more technologies being worked on right now, taking advantage of the anti-fraud and highly-targeted mechanisms inherent to the blockchain system as a whole.
Digital marketing is in a state of flux right now. High profile hacks and privacy concerns have led to some of the world’s biggest tech companies making drastic moves to reassure their customers that they have their best interests at heart. This is undeniably positive, as the Wild West-style free-for-all world of online marketing from the early days of the world wide web needs to be squashed and rebuilt as a more trustworthy and useful system. Blockchain technology is the key to this new system and we’re now beginning to see it applied to our online lives in a wider sense.