Blockchain is well-positioned to impact ad industry and shouldn't be ignored, GroupM says
- Distributed ledger technology (DLT), available as blockchain, will make its way to viable products and solutions in 2019, as the industry looks beyond the hype that has surrounded the technology, according to a new GroupM report, "Blockchain & Marketing," shared with Marketing Dive.
- GroupM outlined five steps for marketers to perform to see the full benefit from DLT. First is to have a proper data strategy in place to understand how information is distributed across the web. Then, migrate from a distributed database to a distrusted ledger, as a start for digital transformation. Third, understand cryptography, which guards and protects information. The industry also needs to come to a consensus on a DLT protocol. Last, marketers need to decide whether networks should be private-permissioned, like financial institutions, or public-permissionless.
- The report also includes a flow chart of "checkpoints" to help marketers determine when to use DLT or blockchain in programmatic. There is also a list of questions to help determine how marketers can benefit from a DLT partner, including "Is the solution provider part of a platform or any supply-side organization;" "What type of distributed ledger is being used to write into it, at scale and speed, with real data to demonstrate it;" "How global, regional or local is the solution," and "How does the solution provider handle data security and integrity?"
GroupM wants its four-step plan to help marketers break through several challenges related to blockchain and realize the benefits of the technology. The report from WPP’s media investment arm suggests that blockchain is a natural fit for digital advertising, with benefits including increased efficiency and transparency, reduced costs and reduced fraud. To date, a lack of understanding and performance have been barriers to marketers fully embracing the tech.
While blockchain’s widespread adoption has not been as quick as many in the industry believed, the tech is progressing. Ad holding companies have shown support for blockchain by forming the Adschain Consortium to use the technology to address ad fraud and increase transparency in programmatic. Major brands, including Unilever, AB InBev and others, have also been experimenting with the technology and seeing promising results.
Toyota, for example, saw a 21% lift in performance in a pilot of a blockchain-optimized programmatic campaign created with agency Saatchi & Saatchi and blockchain ad analytics organization Lucidity. The campaign blacklisted sites and apps with high impression levels and click discrepancy and shifted the brand’s budget to higher-performing sites to reduce waste. Lucidity, which is participating in the IAB Tech Lab's Blockchain Pilot program, also released results from its blockchain-powered digital ad solution, revealing that impression match rates improved by 13% and click match rates improved by an average of 22% when campaigns were optimized against discrepancies in impressions and clicks.
During a session at CES in January, Unilever CMO Keith Weed said the early days of blockchain — which the company has been piloting — are promising but that the problems it addresses aren't going to be solved overnight.
"Blockchain could be a fantastic answer to some of the challenges that we have," Weed said.