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Blockchain in the Digital Advertising Age


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The global advertising industry in its current state is far from perfect. One of the biggest challenges in the advertising industry is the fact that advertising is centralized around the duopoly of Google and Facebook. If you are not advertising on Facebook or Google’s ad network, you are most likely wasting your time. Publishers who generate the content that drives the ads are also forced to sign up on ad networks because working directly with advertisers could be problematic.

Another challenge facing the global advertising industry relates to walking the thin line between leveraging user data to place targeted ads and infringing on their privacy rights. Another problem plaguing the global advertising industry is that most of the current ad formats are intrusive and invasive – they simply ruin the user experience and users have learnt how to ignore ads or install ad blockers.

However, ads are every important in business– we can’t just do away with ads because the industry is flawed. Ads helps businesses introduce their products/services to more people. Ads help users find great products and services that might make their lives better. Hence, blockchain technology is stepping up as a solution to some of the biggest problems with ads. This article will examine three blockchain solutions for the new digital advertising age.

Kind Ads

Kind Ads is a blockchain platform that wants to decentralize online advertising process by connecting advertisers directly to publishers to remove the intermediary service of ad networks.

The peer-to-peer blockchain-based connection of advertisers and publishers helps to cut out the fees that goes to the ad networks; hence, advertisers get to pay lower fees to buy ads and publishers earn more money for hosting ads. Users also get more benefits from being a part of the ads value-chain – users who opt to share their data get to see targeted ads, in addition; they’ll receive KIND tokens as they interact with Kind Ads syndicated throughout the web.

Kind Ads believe that there should be a sense of mutual respect among advertisers, publishers, and users. By leveraging user-friendly non-invasive ads; Kind Ads is trying to ensure that publishers don’t ruin the user experience while serving ads.

Kind Ads has a founding team and advisory board with more than 31 years of ad agency experience.  The team can leverage its strong network in the ads industry to attract many of the top advertisers to its platform. In fact, Kind Ads boasts that it has access to more than 2 million engaged readers of blogs in the marketing space; hence, the firm has decent chances to executing its deal to trigger a paradigm shift in the advertising industry.

Basic Attention Token (BAT)

Basic Attention Token (BAT) is another company trying to launch a blockchain-based digital advertising platform. BAT believes that it can improve the efficiency of the digital advertising system by creating a token that advertisers, publishers, and users can exchange and share within the digital ads ecosystem. The advertising industry is based on getting the attention of users and BAT simply provides a simple, efficient, and fraud-proof way to measure and incentivize that attention.

BAT has introduced an interesting product called Brave Browser; which, is designed to be fast, open source, and privacy-focused. BAT submits that the Brave browser can block malvertisements and measure how much attention users are paying to ads. Hence, by combining the Brave browser and BAT, publishers don’t need to jump through hoops to prove the legitimacy of their traffic, advertisers get to see value for money, and users don’t feel exploited by ad networks.

However, one of the biggest challenges with BAT’s proposition is that it requires people to stop using familiar web browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. The idea of the Brave Browser sounds good on paper but getting people to ditch familiar browsers might be somewhat difficult to pull off in practice. People can simply install ad blocker extensions if they don’t want to see ads; hence, downloading a new untested browser might not that good an idea dealing with irritating ads.

AdEx Network

AdEx is a blockchain-based ad exchange that seeks to minimize advertising fraud by providing a platform for advertisers to connect with publishers. AdEx also wants to solve the problems around lack of consumer consent, privacy concerns, and data misuse. For one, users get a dashboard where they can choose the kinds of ads they want to see, the firm uses blockchain technology to anonymize user data, it creates a data trail to verify clicks/views in ad campaigns

On AdEX, advertisers can expect to reach their target audience by working with publishers operating in the industries that their audience frequents. The fact that AdEx is built on the Ethereum blockchain also helps to minimize advertising fraud by protecting them from being billed for invalid clicks. AdEx also aims to benefit advertisers by helping them monetize their online influence though ad placement from verified advertisers.

The potential challenge with AdEx however is that it seeks to disrupt the status quo of the ads industry by going towards a heads-on collision course with Google and Facebook. AdEX has a market cap of about $55.14M as its token trades around $0.75 in the cryptocurrency markets. It simply lacks the resources to challenge Google and Facebook’s dominance in the ads industry.

Blockchain technology is still in its infancy, but many applications and ideas have been sprouted.  Apple started with an innovative vision by Steve Jobs.  Who knows, blockchain may also walk Apple’s path.      

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.





This article appears in: News Headlines , Blockchain , Entrepreneurship , Fintech



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