The internet, as the consumers see and understand, is a database of content, data, information that are consumed proactively as well as passively. Advertising, being one of the fundamental elements of today’s world of internet has become an integral part of everyone’s daily life. However, the digital advertising industry did not grow without problems, just like any other industry. When more and more advertising-spend is taken by unauthorized intermediaries or monetized on fraudulent advertising traffic, consumers are harmed in a way that fewer quality contents are produced and available to them as publishers earn less. It is, therefore, a collective effort in the whole advertising industry to put the current threats of transparency and fraud to an end to restore the greenness of the digital advertising industry.
Despite we see more M&As happened in the digital space in the past few years, publishers are facing a financial sustainability challenge today, risking to lose their business. The current set up of the digital advertising space is giving a financial risk to publishers in a way that the publishers normally receive their revenue payment only after a few months time. With the growing number of the intermediaries, the payment speed challenge just got worse.
According to a recent study, the wider adoption of digital programmatic advertising technology in the past few years has increased the scale of fraudulent activities. The study revealed that 79% of the participating advertisers mentioned the growing level of non-transparency throughout the programmatic space is causing the main concern. And a third of these advertisers had blamed the third party technology providers for lack of spend visibility.
Can Blockchain be the solution?
In my previous story, I discussed ways how blockchain can change the way we shop. Keeping the same potential in mind, blockchain technology can be one of the most feasible solutions for the ad spend transparency issue in the digital advertising as well.
“The Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Said, Don & Alex Tapscott, the authors of Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The decentralized blockchain technology is gaining more popularity rapidly due to its “transparency” element. All the transactions are recorded on the ledger and can be accessed by the general public. Moreover, the ledger is encrypted and tamper-free. The decentralized system integrates high Byzantine fault tolerance.
According to many business enthusiasts like Zheng Zhang, CEO of Exchain, “The emerge of blockchain technology lightens up the future of the digital advertising technology and it can drive the whole industry to an ultimate trustful and autonomous execution of media buying.”
The main application of blockchain technology in advertising is to reveal the cost elements of the current ad value chain. After implementing the decentralized platform, each of the stakeholders only receives their portion of the ad spend and will not have any chance to impose an unauthorized or hidden fee as we see today.
Ad fraud is another major concern in the digital advertising industry. The blockchain technology can also be used to deduce the certain types of ad fraud such as domain spoofing. The method will effectively reveal the spend distribution and block the ad spend from flowing to the fraudsters. Instead of relying on probabilistic detection method, blockchain enforces a deterministic means to remove such fraud.
Using the blockchain technology, digital advertisers can now verify if a concept of design has been used before. As every design can be stored in the public ledger, the marketers will be able to retrieve the verifying design.
Blockchain has opened up many opportunities to tackle traditional threats in the digital space and add an extra layer of security to marketers and sensitive data, reducing the threat of cybersecurity breaches. It is very promising to adopt the blockchain technology in the digital advertising space and it will initiate a rapid revolution.