Thanks to soaring interest in crypto currencies like Bitcoin, more attention is beginning to focus on “blockchain,” a digital technology that underpins the growth of these alternative monetary systems. But virtual currency isn’t the only application of blockchain. In fact, a number of blockchain boosters believe the technology will soon make inroads in the digital advertising sector as well, with the IAB noting earlier this year that it is a “natural fit” for digital video advertising. But what exactly is blockchain? And what should advertisers know about how it might be used in their campaigns? Here’s an investigation into this rapidly-evolving innovation.
What Is Blockchain?
“Blockchain” refers to a distributed database that’s managed by a network of buyers and sellers who keep track of, and verify, any transactions that occur in their marketplace. Every transaction made within this network is recorded in the database, and every buyer and seller who uses the system instantly gets a copy of those transactions when they occur. This allows a blockchain to serve as an automated master document that keeps a never-ending record of all activity, almost like a massive Google document viewable by all buyers and sellers. The benefits of this approach are many:
How might it be used by the ad industry?
While real-world implementation of blockchain is still a year or two from happening in the advertising industry, there are a number of potential applications for the technology. “In the coming year, we expect to see some significant beta tests from both traditional media and new entrants,” said Alanna Gombert, chief revenue officer for digital ad blockchain firm MetaX, in an interview with Ad Age. Here are a few of the most promising possibilities:
Digital advertising can feel like an increasingly complicated discipline. But thanks to the industry’s commitment to continued innovation, and new technology solutions like blockchain, the simplification of buying, selling and measuring ad campaigns should become easier and safer for everyone involved in the near future.