KEY POINTS

  • Blockchain can help solve one of the advertising industry’s biggest challenges: opaque advertising practices. Transparency into advertising practices is hard to come by. And fraud plagues the ad industry as a result — it's expected to cost the industry $44 billion in 2022, up from $19 billion this year, per Juniper. Blockchain promises to mitigate this issue through its function as an immutable public database, which allows it to store and validate previously murky information about digital ads.
  • Despite blockchain's promise, advertiser adoption is extremely limited. Just 11% of advertisers and agency executives have completed an ad buy using blockchain technology, according to an Advertiser Perceptions survey. 
  • This limited adoption is the result of several significant hurdles — like ad executives' skepticism around the technology's usefulness — which must be overcome before blockchain is widely accepted. Chief among these hurdles is advertising executives' skepticism about the potential usefulness of blockchain — only 16% of global advertisers think that blockchain will help solve the lack of transparency in digital advertising. And broader barriers like regulatory uncertainty, lack of standards, and slow transaction speeds also hinder blockchain's adoption. 
  • The blockchain revolution may be far off, but the technology still deserves attention now. Blockchain is heralded as a transformative technology, and while it has that potential, it's not quite there yet for advertisers. Still, it shouldn't be dismissed as "pie in the sky" — blockchain presents several short-term use cases for advertisers, and those who take advantage will be set up for long-term success as the technology matures. 
  • Valuable short-term use cases exist for blockchain, and brands would be wise to take advantage. There are several low-risk — and potentially high return — actions companies can take to start gaining benefits from blockchain. Brands can use smart contracts for payments and register domain names on blockchain protocols, for example. They can also build their comfort with the technology through use of private marketplaces and experiment with using tokens to incentivize data sharing.  

Introduction

Blockchain technology promises to transform how nearly all industries manage data. Since roaring onto the scene as the engine behind Bitcoin in 2009, it's become applicable to a diverse array of industries beyond financial services, including industrial manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. The common thread between these [...]