Now that the world has accepted the fact that cryptocurrency is here to stay, people are starting to turn their attention towards other potential applications for the blockchain technology behind it.
Social media and digital marketing professionals in particular may wish to learn more about the inner workings of blockchain, since it stands to have a larger impact on their jobs than on many others. Read on, and learn how blockchain technology might force you to adapt in the not so distant future—and more importantly, how it can bring you unprecedented success when you make clever use of it.
Blockchain Basics: a Primer for Luddites
You might not know anything about blockchain—and while that’s forgivable in the present day and age, you’ll probably want to buff up your knowledge a bit before you get left behind in the dust. Here are the basics in a nutshell:
- Blockchain functions as a digital ledger. It was originally used to safely record transactions made with cryptocurrency (a form of digital money that does not require a central bank and has become an enigmatic draw for investors).
- Blockchain can verify crypto transaction without the need for a central institution because it does not store records in a single place—such as a server bank. Instead, blockchain copies the record whenever it is updated and distributes copies to various individual devices across a broad network.
- The number of copies and the method of their distribution ensures that the information cannot be hacked or altered fraudulently. Copies will always exist that can verify the correct information and identify fraud.
Is Blockchain a Fad?
In a word: no. In fact, blockchain’s potential has captured the imagination of many different business owners. Consider the following statistics:
- In 2016, Blockchain startups raised more than $290 million.
- To date, financial and tech companies have invested more than $1.4 billion in blockchain technology.
- By 2024, the global blockchain market is predicted to be worth more than $20 billion.
You get the idea. Blockchain is here to stay.
So How Will Blockchain Change Marketing and Social Media?
There are four major ways that blockchain could shake things up for marketers. Here’s an overview of each:
- Accurate Data for Ad Buyers… Buying ads isn’t always easy because you can’t be sure the data you’re getting is accurate. However, blockchain’s ability to verify transactions could also be used to verify the authenticity of clicks from users—helping to filter out bots or people hired to click on ads all day. As a result, marketers may have an easier time identifying views from their target audiences.
- … Or No Ad Buyers at All! There’s another possibility, though. Blockchain could eliminate the need to buy ads at all! Consider the Basic Attention Token (or BAT): a type of crypto that can be directly exchanged between publishers, advertisers and users via the Ethereum blockchain. Advertisers could use BATs to reward consumers for engaging with their content directly—creating a scenario in which the target audience comes directly to your brand and your ROI goes through the roof.
- An End to Data Farming One of the big advantages blockchain technology offers users is anonymity. No need to store your personal information on the server of a bank or credit card company when you’re using cryptocurrency—in fact, there’s no need to provide it at all in many cases. This creates a challenge for advertisers: how can they identify target customers when those customers are keeping all their personal data secret? The solution might be to create incentive programs that “buy” data directly from your consumers. While this would increase your initial cost per acquisition, it would also make your buyer profiles much more accurate since you’d only be gathering data from people who already have an interest in your brand. As such, your conversion rates would likely jump by more than enough to offset the difference.
- Using Transparency to Build Brand Loyalty The whole point of marketing (digital or otherwise) is to raise your target audience’s confidence to buy. Influencers are currently the method-du-jour on social media, but blockchain could nudge them out of first place by providing potential customers with unprecedented confidence in a given brand. Remember, the whole point of blockchain is verification. Imagine that a customer can simply access a digital ledger for your product that gives them a transparent view of its development, manufacturing, and distribution—it’s pretty hard to beat the kind of confidence that would offer.
Of course, all the scenarios described above are still hypothetical—for now, anyway. Still, it never hurts to be prepared. Learn more about blockchain now, so that you can be part of the revolution when it happens. With luck, you’ll be able to make blockchain technology work for your business (or at least invest in some promising cryptos that will help you grow your assets).