It seems like the latest technology to get the marketing world hot and bothered is blockchain. Previously relegated to discussions of bitcoin, using the blockchain — essentially a decentralized, ultra-secure Excel sheet — for solving many of digital advertising’s woes is en vogue. Here’s everything blockchain is purportedly hoping to do:

  • Reward and pay creators for making content.
  • Make ad buys by pooling data securely on the blockchain.
  • Ensure ads are seen and record who has seen them by tagging them.
  • Incentivize people using cryptocurrencies to police the internet and determine which publishers are fake and which are real.
  • Mattr, an influencer marketing company, is using smart contracts to handle digital contracts for influencer marketing campaigns.

And some big names are involved. The IAB is reportedly developing a working group to figure out if blockchain could in fact solve ad fraud, while Comcast has teamed up with a who’s who of brands, including Disney, to help them pool their data together to make better TV ad buyers. In China, a media platform developed on the blockchain has produced 7,000 “intelligent screens” in multiple cities that will target and personalize ads to individuals.

Reality check: Of course, the excitement about blockchain is far removed from the reality: Blockchain remains narrowly adopted and mostly theoretical. Most of the companies doing the above are still in the “proof of concept” (read: public relations) stage — most won’t have anything to show until at least six months to a year from now. Still, it’s nice to have something new to get pumped about beyond header bidding. — Shareen Pathak

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