The term blockchain typically brings to mind cryptocurrency. But as blockchain technology becomes more mainstream, the data storage method is being applied to a wide range of industries.
Ad tech is no exception. Blockchain has the potential to make digital advertising more effective and transparent, especially as third-party cookies disappear.
What is Blockchain?
At its core, blockchain is a type of database. These databases are set apart from traditional technology because they store information in groups, or “blocks.” These blocks have a certain capacity of data they can hold and when they fill up, they are “chained” to other blocks. Blocks are chained chronologically and can’t be changed.
These blockchains are stored across a decentralized connection of computers. Because each network of computers stores the dataset, the data can’t (easily) be interfered with. It remains fully transparent and secure.
If a hacker tries to alter the data, the other computers will identify the source of the changes and dismiss it. A hacker would have to alter 51% of the networks’ records to be successful—a huge and extremely expensive undertaking.
Though cryptocurrency is the most famous use case of blockchain, any type of data can be stored using this technology.
How is blockchain used for ad tech?
Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency and security in the digital advertising industry.
Right now, one of the biggest struggles ad buyers and publishers face when dealing with ad tech providers is the lack of trust. There is little way to accurately confirm impressions, clicks and other metrics that drive inflated bills.
One study by Warc found that only 45% of programmatic revenue reached publishers. The remaining “tech tax” was absorbed by other players in the supply chain.
With blockchain, advertisers and publishers can see each and every transaction in a digital transaction nearly in real-time. These transactions are highly secure and essentially tamper-proof.
Companies who are already using blockchain include:
- Brave: A web-browser that allows users to block digital ads or take cryptocurrency as a reward for their attention to personalized ads.
- Mediaocean and IBM: These companies partnered to create a solution that records “all media transactions in a secure, immutable, standardized and comprehensive manner.”
- Lucidity: With blockchain, this company’s digital dashboard allows customers to validate all media transactions.
Benefits of Blockchain for Ad Tech
The benefits of blockchain for ad tech are simple: transparency, trust, security, lower hidden fees and the potential to reward the customer for authentic attention.
As the digital advertising environment removes cookies, new technology will be essential for clear tracking. Blockchain has the potential to make this happen.
“Blockchain technology provides the next step toward better tracking of digital campaigns,” explained Flynn Zaiger, CEO of Online Optimism. This is unlike current methods that “rely on platforms proprietary technology, and a black box of data that we can’t see within.”
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