In the past few decades, a few major changes in technology have led the evolution of the digital world. First, in the 90s, the advent of the mainstream internet allowed digital advertising to be born. As the industry matured, in the late 2000s, the programmatic marketplaces revolutionized the landscape which created much needed automated efficiency. Today, this industry is $232 billion globally, and in some countries has already outpaced Television advertising.
While the programmatic automation has streamlined the buying and selling process, the industry has been struggling to solve the reduction of eCPMs for publishers, increased intermediary costs and lack of transparency for the advertisers. Adding to this list, this digital tech marketplace has so many middleman data vendors, making it difficult to figure out which partner actually brings value. Not to mention, the industry still does manual publisher payment processing, with several delays due to necessary audits and verification processes.
Our industry has a problem, and rather than fixing it by adding another middleman or creating a new acronym, let’s acknowledge the problem and fix it.
If one was to take a blunt view of the current state of the industry, much of it has been plagued by fraud, costing billions of loss to the brand marketers. In a recent ANA study, it described a “technology tax” that effectively accounts for more than 40% of advertisers’ programmatic spend.
Introducing now the ‘Era of Blockchain’. Although this technology was intended development was for developers to run bitcoin, the underlying separated infrastructure holds enormous implications to various sectors, leading to faster services for consumers. A recent World Economic Forum report predicts that by 2025, 10% of the GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain related technology.
One such area that would positively be impacted is the $232 billion global digital marketing industry. Blockchain brings immense transparency and data security to the programmatic supply chain. It further ensures brand safety by validating the ad placement and transactions. Imagine not ever having to worry about ads appearing next to not-so-cool content and avoiding circumstances that caused YouTube/Google to experience a boycott. Those who understand the technology behind blockchains understand its biggest positives. It is a decentralized digital ledger that enables automatic verification of the transactions through peer-to-peer networks. This method immediately solves the multi-billion dollar ad fraud problem and lack of transparency. Each transaction is connected to the one before and the one after it, leading to a traceable history of every recorded event. No record can ever be deleted as it’s immutable and nothing can be altered.
Now with ‘smart contracts’ also means the removal of the many ‘middlemen’ from the supply chain, bringing much needed efficiency to the landscape. Smart contracts are conditionally programmed into blockchains. These conditional triggers make the contracts self-enforcing; therefore, once the campaign has served the needed impressions with specified targeting or goal, publishers’ payment will be immediately released. Say goodbye to waiting for getting paid by the clients net 90.
Now I am sure if the full transparency and reduced cost brings sheer happiness to the brands, then the last line (of immediate payment) should get the publishers jumping up to dance with joy as their price of inventory will also rise!