Lucidity, IAB Tech Lab uncover alarming fraud, wasted spend through blockchain pilot
- Lucidity, a participant in the IAB Tech Lab's Blockchain Pilot program, released what it claims are the most complete record of results to date for a blockchain-powered digital advertising solution, according to news shared with Marketing Dive. The report from the digital advertising transparency firm looked at a series of campaigns from over a dozen brands.
- Lucidity leveraged blockchain to uncover that 14% of the impressions served programmatically during these campaigns were discrepant. Nearly half (48%) of clicks were flagged as discrepant. Only two out of three in-app mobile impressions could be confirmed, with nearly one-third of impressions were flagged as questionable inventory.
- Overall, impression match rates improved by 13% and click match rates improved by an average of 22% when optimizing campaigns against these discrepancies. For example, one campaign experienced a conversion rate increase of more than 214% by eliminating discrepant impressions and clicks.
Even as some of the initial hype around blockchain as a holy grail solution has cooled, the ledger-based technology's potential for improving transparency continues to appear promising. The findings from the new report paint a picture of an online ad ecosystem rife with fraud and bad actors that eat into a significant portion of marketers' digital ad spend. Those issues could be combated by leveraging blockchain to identify discrepancies and then optimizing campaigns against those discrepancies, as Lucidity's early results show.
While Lucidity doesn't name the brands it worked with in the release, previous reports have indicated that some heavy hitters are dabbling with the solution. Toyota last fall reported it saw a 21% lift in performance by tapping into a blockchain-optimized programmatic campaign created with Saatchi & Saatchi and Lucidity. For the campaign, sites and apps with high levels of impression and click discrepancy were blacklisted and Toyota's budget was instead shifted to higher performing sites. Other major marketers, including Unilever and AB InBev, have recently launched blockchain experiments as well.
The IAB Tech Lab first rolled out its Blockchain Working Group in 2017 to look into different applications of the technology and establish standards and best practices. By working with bigger brands and firms like Lucidity, the group can potentially further those goals.
"The pilot results are meaningful progress in support of how blockchain can bring about a more reliable, transparent and trustworthy ecosystem," Dennis Buchheim, SVP and GM of the IAB Tech Lab, said in a statement.
Figuring out more concrete ways of improving transparency in digital advertising could be vital as programmatic commands more of the market. This year, 65% of all digital media ad spend is expected to be traded programmatically, according to a recent forecast from Zenith. Advertisers are projected to spend $84 billion programmatically, marking an increase over $70 billion last year. By 2020, programmatic ad spend will reach $98 billion, representing 68% of all digital media ad spend