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Blockchain is known for being used in the financial world, specifically for Bitcoin, as a digital ledger that records cryptocurrency publicly and chronologically. However, it works for more than just financial transactions, and other industries have been adopting it. Don't believe me? Just look at the stats! 

Fake news and ad fraud have been persistent problems in the digital advertising industry. Advertisers are growing frustrated with the flaws in programmatic technology. However, blockchain just may be the answer to our prayers.

What is blockchain exactly?

Blockchain's ability to function as a ledger of transactions that is open and shared has opened up possibilities in the eyes of marketers. It allows large amounts of information to be transmitted and added onto without any security risks or compromises. Why? Because no one can alter the blockchain and no one person can destroy it.

What can it do for the advertising industry?

The idea behind blockchain in the ad industry is that blockchain and adchain could allow several parts of the industry to work together. And they wouldn’t have to depend on each other's data.  

While blockchain adoption is still several years away, there are many ways the industry is looking forward to seeing blockchain applied. Below are just a few of them.

Managing consumer data

We live an era of privacy concerns. Brands can access a lot of data now, but not everyone is comfortable with that. Blockchain could potentially allow marketers to access large amounts of data without being able to pin it to one individual. That way they can still use the data for brand-building purposes.

Ad-delivery verification

Trust in advertising has plummeted in recent years. Fake news is rampant and ad fraud is plaguing the industry. It’s starting to make advertisers pull money out of their digital ad budgets. This is why another hope for blockchain is that it could be used to ensure ads are being delivered, as well as being delivered to the right place.

With the stress of ad fraud and poor ad placement, this is especially interesting to advertisers. It could also help them cut down on the expenses of auditing their ad deliveries.

The idea is that a brand can take the ad deliveries from an ad server and then release them to the blockchain. From that point, the blockchain would analyze the deliveries and detect any fraud.

Corporate social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is bigger than ever right now. If a brand has great CSR, 80% of people say they’re eager to share that with friends and family. And 90% are more likely to trust your brand based on good CSR.

The way things currently are, people just have to trust that a company is doing what it claims it’s doing. Blockchain could potentially be a way to hold a brand accountable for their CSR claims.

How would this work? Well, blockchain is already being used the verify the authenticity of a product. So, the idea is that it could also be used to verify the authenticity of a promise. If a brand decided to take on a sustainability as part of their CSR, they could make this promise public and accountable through blockchain.  

What can it not do for the advertising industry?

“Real time” is a hot phrase in advertising right now, with real-time bidding being everyone’s favorite technique. However, real time is one of the things that blockchain just can’t do. This is because of the decentralization aspect of blockchain. The transactions are verified by “miners” from all over the world. This means it takes anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds to confirm a transaction.

As it currently stands, blockchain just isn’t fast enough to analyze and process real-time transactions in advertising. This means that it, unfortunately, can’t do real-time fraud prevention. Instead, brands would need to use it as a “post-campaign” way to validate and authenticate transactions.

The other issue with blockchain is its scale and reliance on adoption. The ecosystem of blockchain is one in which all parties are holding each other accountable. The way it is designed, blockchain needs to reach a certain number of users in order to work as intended. So, the industry would have to work as a whole to see a full adoption of blockchain.

Conclusion

Blockchain is still at the start of its lifespan. It will take a while before its own unique bugs and issues are addressed enough that widespread adoption happens. Despite this, blockchain does look to be in the future for many industries and will change the landscape for each. This is true of digital advertising as well.