‘Blockchain’ is not just a buzzword. It has found its way into several fields including Finance, Healthcare, IoT, Insurance, and more. Of course, some of the verticals are just brewing the ‘blockchain technology’ and are planning to deploy it in the near future (Not now).
Is Adtech going to be one of them?
Before analyzing the question, we first need to understand the ‘101’. Without knowing the roadblocks between us and blockchain, it isn’t possible to settle on the answer.
So, What is blockchain?
The Blockchain is a decentralized, peer-to-peer operating, incorruptible database.
Here’s what we mean:
Decentralized – Blockchain technology is completely decentralized and isn’t administered by a single entity. No one (Person or Entity) can delete or manage the database, for security purposes.
Peer-to-Peer – It relies on individual persons or entities for functioning. Assume a shared google document where many people can access and edit simultaneously. The same goes with blockchain. There will be multiple copies (equal to the number of nodes*) distributed among the network, where individual nodes can update their own copy independently. In the end, the most popular copy will become the de-facto official record or Master Copy.
*Nodes are the persons or entities in a Network
Incorruptible – Why it is incorruptible? No single entity is responsible for managing the blockchain. It is open to all the nodes in the network and every node in the network can see what’s happening.
As you can see, it is a great way to lift veracity in legal transactions. Now, let’s dive into our pool.
Why is Adtech Industry getting in?
Our industry has been scrutinized for ad fraud and transparency issues, right from the start. And, with the advent of ‘programmatic’ and ‘Header Bidding’, the complexity got higher and fraudsters haven’t had a break then.
On the long run of finding solutions, blockchain showed up as a possible stop.
By now, you’re probably aware of the fact that ‘Ad frauds’ are majorly due to the lack of transparency and advertisers were easily blindfolded by the spammers using domain spoofing, ad Injection, bot traffic, etc.
On the contrary, Blockchain promises the decentralized framework and 100% transparency to all the nodes in the networks. Blockchain enthusiasts say our industry can be the framework and asking publishers and advertisers (along with the middlemen) to act as the nodes.
Everyone knows what’s happening!
So far applications?
The Blockchain is a new kid on the block. So, only a few friends to play with.
Content Monetization – Last year, Decent announced an application called ‘Publiq’ to let creators share content on the network and get rewarded by a crypto-token in return. Advertisers can also place their ads on the blockchain with the help of targeting options available.
Programmatic – Blockchain Programmatic Corporation(BPC), a Silicon Valley startup founded by veterans of our industry serves three products to the ecosystem. Blockchain Demand Side Platform (BDSP), Decentralized Data Management Platform (DDMP), and Smart contract Ad Exchange (SMARTEX); all based on blockchain and RTB technology.
Digital Media Buying and Selling – MetaX, a Blockchain based digital advertising Exchange promises Advertisers and Publishers end-to-end, transparent, fraud-free, and scalable campaigns. It runs on AdChain (Ethereum blockchain), which the MetaX and the Data & Marketing Association founded last year.
Exchange – NYIAX, an exchange to trade advertising contracts between publishers and advertisers. It functions by combining a Financial Matching Engine and Blockchain technology and promises increased ROI and transparency.
What do the Experts Say?
With a few tech companies participating in the game, most believe it takes time to put blockchain on a broader scale.
Nick Jordan, founder of Narrative I/O – Blockchain can only handle around 2000 transaction in a sec. We in programmatic process a million transaction per sec*. Adtech likes to add layers of solutions on top of other solutions.
*Then, how the above-mentioned companies are utilizing Blockchain. Well, some of them are in proof-of-concept stage and a few others like BPC say their multi-layered blockchain approach allows over 100K transaction bandwidth per sec. In other words, not really in a substantial use.
Even if blockchain can process billion ad transactions per day, we need GIANTS like Google, Amazon to power them. So, it’s going to be centralized again.
Drew Bradstock, SVP of Product of Index Exchange – There’s going to lot more ad tax involved in Blockchain. And, you don’t need blockchain to audit a digital ledger. Advertisers For advertisers, it’s always cheaper and easier to hold their partners accountable than pay extra tech tax.
Elena Yegorova, CTO of London Media Exchange – There’s going to be a minimum of hundreds of thousands of pounds needed for implementing Blockchain technology as everyone in the chain need to apply blockchain software.
Ciaran O’Kane, CEO of ExchangeWire – Blockchain really could be transformational in advertising, just not for inventory transparency purposes but for data use and privacy
Recently, Horizon Media held a summit to discuss blockchain technology and adoption. Without a surprise, it resulted in a few more mixed views.
Final Question – Is it Possible?
eMarketer predicts by 2019, 83.6% of US digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically. And, everyone including publishers, advertisers, and Exchanges would like to go with the crowd as blockchain is brand new to the adtech and not scalable until today.
It takes time (an incredible amount of time) to convince and transform any industry. Adtech is no exception (And, it’s worth $200B!). No one is sure about how exactly blockchain will help reduce ad fraud and improve ‘programmatic’. But a handful of experts believe that it can address privacy issues, PMP deals, domain spoofing, etc.