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Blockchain and the Evolution of Programmatic Advertising – a 2018 Perspective

Dec 05, 2018

Even as the GDPR continues its all-pervasive parade into the ad buying industry worldwide, there seems to be a serious lack of acknowledgement of the power blockchain holds.

Programmatic advertising has surged ahead as the weapon of choice for advertisers and marketers across the planet for almost a decade now. Data-driven decision making and unprecedented efficiencies have spurred it on even faster and wider in the last five years. But like in any other industry that has outgrown its nascence, programmatic ad-tech is entering its consolidation and maturity phase, and the erstwhile machine learning and AI studs that were infringing user privacy have been firmly reined in, thanks to the GDPR implementation.

So, where does blockchain fit into the scheme of things here?

Dissecting the Innards

Programmatic advertising spawned off the osmosis between online advertising and the burgeoning data science industry in the late 2000s. The tremendous rise in social media among consumers hit the tipping point as advertisers sought to deliver their marketing messages with laser precision and perfect timing to their prospects. ROI on ad spend soared like never before, as ad driven sales stepped out from the realm of esoteric sciences to marketing dashboards.

But as Peter Parker’s alter ego said in the movie, with great power comes great responsibility. And responsibility the advertising channels certainly did shirk. Pretty soon users were complaining en masse about data privacy breaches, publishers were crying foul of menial margins in a world where they were the platforms doing the actual broadcasting, but far more importantly, it was losing the faith of those whose dollars were the lifeblood of the tech itself – the advertisers. Sure, hyper targeted ads on social media did kick start a whole new breed of entrepreneurs and success stories and leveled the playing fields for both the antiquated sharks and the small fry starting up. But as Big Business is wont to do, the exploits soon surfaced, and the online ad buying community were looking for that elusive solution to the element that was fast fading in the world of programmatic advertising – trust.

Is it a Bird? is it a Plane?

No, it’s the democratization of digital records and the restoration of trust in programmatic advertising, also known as probably the next big opportunity in blockchain. Experts around the world agree on the transparencies that blockchain has wrought in every traditional industry it has touched. And the online advertising industry, hitherto dominated largely by machine learning and artificial intelligence, seems to be next. The trend certainly points out to thought and industry leaders agreeing on a decentralized and immutable database of unique transaction dollars for programmatic advertising campaigns, being able to track every dollar in ad spend and the channels and platforms being guided into some semblance of accountability to both publishers and advertisers. Going by the number of implementations of ad related blockchains in the ethereum platforms already, most experts agree that in the very near future, GDPR and blockchain in programmatic will scale up to be one of the most radical implementations of the tech till date. We’re looking forward to the transformation, as we’re sure every single forward- thinking advertiser and blockchain developer is.

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