We’re always on the lookout for the newest and most exciting technologies, and few fit the bill as well as blockchain. This technology powers Bitcoin and similar currencies, but it has applications far beyond the financial sector. In fact, it may soon play a key role in digital marketing campaigns across the board.
Blockchain technology can be a little confusing for beginners to understand, particularly given the high-level definitions you’ll find across the internet. It helps to consider the term itself when trying to understand the concept.
In other words, this technology involves creating a “chain” of “blocks.” The chain in this scenario is a public database of information, connecting together all of the various blocks. The blocks themselves are individual pieces of information. Each block is stored alongside details about it, along with distinguishing information to help tell it apart from all the other blocks.
Blockchain is most commonly used to store information about monetary transactions, particularly those related to cryptocurrencies. In fact, it’s the technology that makes Bitcoin and similar currencies function. It processes, records, and verifies Bitcoin transactions.
However, blockchain technology has applications beyond cryptocurrency. While still in its early stages, it can theoretically be used to handle all types of transactional data, financial and otherwise. In fact, it has some intriguing potential applications for online marketers.
It’s worth noting that a lot of the discussion surrounding blockchain is speculative. We’re still discovering just what it can do and how it might be used. To illustrate the point, let’s look at three ways it might be of use to digital marketers.
Tracking Media Buys
Direct advertising online can involve keeping track of a lot of data. You’ll be buying ad space on various sites and platforms, each of which has its own way of charging for impressions and managing payments. It’s easy to make mistakes, and waste time going from one platform to another making sure that your ads are earning back their investments.
Blockchain technology can be used to connect media buyers and providers more directly. It can track transactions in a more efficient and reliable way, and even be used to manage multiple channels simultaneously. This offers a number of key benefits.
For example, it’s easier to ensure you’re actually getting the ad mileage you’re paying for. Plus, you’ll get access to more details and analytics to help you refine your campaigns over time. If you’re interested in this application, AdBit is a company to watch, as it’s one of the forerunners when it comes to applying blockchain technology to media buys.
Handling Social Impressions
Social media plays a key role in any digital marketing strategy. What’s more, it’s a field that can benefit immensely from a technology like blockchain. After all, running social media campaigns involves managing a lot of data, of various types and from multiple platforms. In order to be successful, you need to find ways to collate and analyze all of the data so you know what’s working (and what’s not).
One of the main pieces to this particular puzzle is impressions, the number of times a piece of social media content is viewed. Understanding your impressions is vital for knowing how much reach you have, and for calculating your Return On Investment (ROI). If you have a lot of impressions but low engagement, for example, your social media ROI could stand to be improved.
Blockchain technology may most often be used to track financial transactions, but it’s also useful for processing social transactions (such as impressions). A blockchain system can record and store information about your social campaigns in a way that makes it far easier to turn the data into meaningful results.
There are even entire social networks being built on blockchain. In other words, data collection via this technology may be built into the foundation of whatever networks succeed the current champions.
Verifying Online Identities
One of the problems facing digital marketers is the growing prevalence of bots. Few platforms are immune to this issue; most social networks and other key sites are flooded with fake accounts that have no human presence behind them.
Those bot accounts can inflate many of the numbers you need to track. For example, a significant portion of your Twitter followers may be bot accounts, along with your ad impressions. This means you may not have the reach your analytics might suggest, and some of your advertising budget is probably being wasted on views and clicks made by robots.
As we mentioned earlier, blockchain technology can do more than just record and store data. It also provides better means for verifying data, in a way that’s practically impossible to fake. Therefore, it can be used to verify your customers and other audience members.
This is an exciting possibility, as it could lead to less wasted effort and more ROI over the long term. A good place to start is with Blockpass, a relatively new app that can assist with various types of identity verification.
Blockchain is hardly a simple technology; it’s developing into a field with wide reach and a lot of varied applications. Savvy digital marketers would do well to keep a close eye on new blockchain-based software and apps, as they can offer a lot of key time- and money-saving features.
What role do you think blockchain will play in digital marketing over the coming years? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!