The middlemen—don’t you just love them? They can make money out of customers and profit off creators or marketers by delivering a service or product they did not make, produce, or manufacture. If only customers can go straight to the source without having to pay a middleman for acting as a bridge. Or, if only suppliers can go straight to their market without requiring a middleman so the business owner can maximise his profits? With a disruptive technology such as blockchain, this is now possible.
Blockchain, the technology that runs Bitcoin, has transformed into one of today’s most prominent revolutionary technologies with the potential to impact every industry to date. Blockchain is the creative ingenuity of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto.” Although the real Satoshi Nakamoto denies he created Bitcoin, there’s no denying that the blockchain technology behind it can have other applications and uses far beyond what the inventor or inventors designed it for.
Blockchain Technology: A New and Safer Internet?
Blockchain allows digital information to be disseminated without being copied, creating a new structure for a new version of the internet. “Blockchain is to Bitcoin, what the internet is to email. A big electronic system, on top of which you can build applications. Currency is just one,” says Sally Davies of FT Technology (Blockchain Revolution: Understanding the Crypto Economy of the Future/Bradley Lakeman © 2018).
Initially devised for Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, the digital community is now seeing the enormous potential of the blockchain technology in other industries.
A blockchain’s simple definition is that it’s a “timestamped series of immutable records of data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity.” It works like a shared ledger or an open-record system. Different transactions are tracked through these records. Each transaction is segmented by blocks and joined by cryptographic principles or chains; that’s why it is called “blockchain.” These blocks get verified by multi-users within the system, which cannot be changed once they are confirmed. These permanent blocks are then added to a chain of other blocks that have already been validated. That’s why it can be used not just for cryptocurrency but for keeping track of data such as home records, medical information, and even voting records.
It has industry-disrupting capabilities such as:
- The blockchain network is democratised – this network does not use central authority. The information in it is open for all in the network to see because it is a shared and immutable ledger.
- The blockchain is decentralised – It is not owned by a single entity because the data is cryptographically stored inside.
- The blockchain is immutable – no one can tamper with the data that is inside the blockchain.
- The blockchain is transparent – Whatever gets built in the blockchain is very transparent as everyone involved is accountable for their actions. The data stored inside can also be tracked if needed.
How is Blockchain Disrupting the Digital Marketing Industry?
When blockchain first came into play in 1991, it was not mainstream at all. Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta worked on the first blockchain to implement a system where document timestamps can be untampered. By the following year, Bayer, Haber, and Stornetta integrated Merkle trees to its design to make it more efficient by allowing several document certificates to be collected into a block. By 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto released the whitepaper entitled Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System that described Bitcoin as a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash.” It was when blockchain technology went public.
Around 2014, some experts saw that there was more to blockchain technology than bitcoin as it could be used for different kinds of operations. It can revolutionise many other industries, from pharma to education, legal to government, and the like.
One industry where blockchain can bring the most significant disruption is in the digital marketing industry. The peer-to-peer network or decentralised ledgers, Basic Attention Token (BAT), and smart contracts are some of blockchain’s utilities that disrupt social media and digital marketing today.
- The Customer is King
“When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king,” says John Wanamaker, merchant and founder of one of the first American department stores.
Because blockchain technology is decentralised, it shifts the power from industry big players to mainstream consumers. Consumers want direct access to suppliers and vice-versa, as it provides a better user experience for both. The consumers get more value for their money, and the suppliers get better net profits. With the explosion of the eCommerce market size to 4 trillion this 2020, the growing migration of masses and suppliers to blockchain technology is alarming to eCommerce third parties. In the US alone, 91% of their population are online shoppers, and they’re expecting to have 300 million more in 2023. Experts project that global eCommerce sales will increase by up to $4.8 trillion by 2021. The way blockchain technology is beginning to impact social media and digital marketing is turning heads of marketers, social media managers, and business owners alike. Digital marketing, though, is still relevant today because it is what’s mainstream. Digital marketing training for end-to-end learning in digital domains remains in demand, for instance, because this is what drives products and services best to the consumers at maximised ROI at this time. But even the digital marketing industry is preparing future strategies as blockchain technology becomes integrated into more and more industries soon.
As a matter of fact, there were $290 million raised by blockchain startups in 2016. $1.4 billion of these investments were made by the FinTech (financial and technology) industry. By 2024, the estimated blockchain market value will be $20 billion.
The digital marketing technology prides itself on being able to engage with the masses and convert them to consumers. It’s how middlemen are making profits without having to create a product or service at all. But the blockchain technology disrupts this by giving the power back to consumers, allowing them to take control of ads that come into their space. It pushes advertisers to produce high-quality ads to generate high-quality leads. There may be costs for consumer attention, but the ROI will still be higher for marketers because you eliminate the middleman in this process.
- Eliminate the Middle Man
Again, streamlining operations and removing the middleman is immediately one of the disruptions brought by the blockchain technology. Today, middlemen are used for customer data and browsing history. In blockchain technology, you do not need a middleman for this information. Marketers are discovering they can reach their target CPM much faster because the costs for a middleman is eliminated.
Third-parties such as Google Adsense charges for a fee so that advertisers can target a specific market and place ads on legitimate sites. In a way, it makes both advertisers and the site owners feel confident that all will be well based on the notion that Google Adsense connected them to reliable partners. With blockchain technology, however, you can easily verify users in the network and would not need a third-party to do this for them. Advertisers would know precisely the value of their ad compared to PPCs that may not be genuine. It’s a safer, secure, and more transparent way to process transactions.
Google and other marketing platforms will still be on-demand this year and the years to come. But we need to be aware that there is now an option for consumers and companies to ditch these marketing platforms so they can steer clear of added fees. If you are a middleman and this is all you do, you need to strategize to thrive in this industry, especially when blockchain technology gains momentum. Don’t be a Nokia or a Kodak. Don’t knock yourself obsolete thinking that this scenario where blockchain technology knocks out third-parties is not possible, because it can be.
- More Improved Audience Analytics and Ad Buys
Ad-based social media platforms actually make it difficult for companies to gauge the real sense of their audience’s worth truly. In short, are you paying for ads clicked and viewed by real people or by bots? The Esthereum blockchain gives decentralised ledger for social media managers and business owners to track data better. It allows you to see the real value of your clients and how to best engage them in social media.
Paid ads became a vulnerability for cyber attackers to exploit in 2016 when there was a $7 billion loss resulting from adbots programmed to click ads repeatedly. It caused ad results to be unreliable and for ad expenses done by marketers to balloon incredibly. With the blockchain technology, you will be able to purchase better ads, and fraudulent activities will be kept at bay. Because every data chain in this technology is created, verified, secured, and enforced without fail, you will know if your PPCs were because of real viewers or not. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) delivers ads directly to consumers who are actually interested in the brand or business. You can pay the user for their interest in your ad and increase ROI by increasing customer connections. Using AdChain, an open protocol that gives advertisers full lifecycle transparency via a decentralised whitelist and campaign audit in the Ethereum blockchain, returns control over to first-party data and eliminates ad fraud.
- Transparency and Accountability = Higher Customer Trust
When customers see greater transparency and accountability with companies, their trust levels for that company and the ads on that company increases as well. Trustworthiness is a significant element in their buying and subscription decisions. Even digital marketers As we see in this illustration below by Edelman Trust Barometer, trust ratings have been on a decline, especially in the technology sector. The people are hungry for a system that can truly protect them and not put their families endangered. Here is where blockchain technology comes in.. Trustworthiness can drive blockchain mainstream into the future because consumers and companies are avoiding data breach attacks, malware, and other exploitation by cybercriminals, especially in their online shopping and banking transactions.
Blockchain will eventually force businesses to become more transparent about their operations because every step and record can be verified and documented in these open-source networks. Information such as manufacturing date and location will now be public record, so if you made those cotton shirts through underaged minors in an impoverished country, people would know. Companies will be held more liable for their actions through blockchain technology. If manufacturers try to mask information or they seem fraudulent, they will NOT be accepted or verified in the blockchain. That simple. And some companies have already started doing this, so it will just become more popular in the future, as consumers demand greater transparency.
- Cybersecurity is a Priority
With the blockchain technology becoming more commonplace with the masses, businesses owners will also need to heighten their cybersecurity protocols. Fraud verification needs to increase, and in the blockchain technology, the verification process to add blocks in the system can deter cybercriminals and bots from conducting data breaches and other attacks.
We need to know the various ways we can be hacked and how do we fight the attacks and make cybersecurity a priority.
- Increase in Alternative Payment Methods
Using Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency is not yet an accessible mode of payment, but forward-thinking companies are already thinking of alternative payment methods of the future.
As with any technological advancement, exponential growth can come just like that. In the future, as blockchain technology continues to increase steadily, we can only anticipate Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency becoming an industry standard. Be ready today by setting up multiple secure payment options so you will be ready to adapt and adjust when emerging payment methods take the wheel.
The Future of Blockchain is Not Far From Today
We need to learn all that we can with blockchain technology now in preparation for the inevitable. Better user experience like never seen before, targeted ads, stronger consumer connectivity, accurate data, secured platforms, are just some of the many ways that are driving blockchain technology at the forefront, and we need to be prepared as can be when integration becomes our most profitable or viable option to drive our net profits and consumer safety and satisfaction upward. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” it will happen. It’s better to prepare now than cram in the future, which is not so far away.
About The Author
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.