It hardly needs saying that the current ad tech system is broken, fraught by opaque and sometimes shady practices. Ad blockers and bots abound, Facebook and Google further cement their monopolies every day and mediocre ad content proliferates.
And while advertisers might disagree, the absence of vital clarity in the media supply chain has harmed publishers arguably more than any other group in the ecosystem. A lack of transparent and immutable data around ad transactions and impressions means payments are often dramatically late, compromising cash flow.
Meanwhile, amid a torrent of bot-driven invalid traffic (IVT) – especially in the video sector – advertisers struggle to trust that their advertising has been seen by the human eyeballs they have paid for, and the IVT solutions on the market lack transparency in their own right.
So here we are: Everyone has different data; no-one can conclusively unravel it; and the very viability of digital advertising increasingly hangs in the balance.
But there is a technology that can return trust, transparency and accountability to the supply chain, and its name is a well-known one. Blockchain, at its core, is an electronic system for recording information that is impervious to manipulation. This technology offers an open, transparent database of information – one which shows transactions clearly, improves security and can cut out unnecessary layers of middlemen.
Blockchain, at its core, is an electronic system for recording information that is impervious to manipulation.
An enormous simplifier
In this context, blockchain has the potential to be an enormous simplifier: a trusted ledger system without bias that enables access to universal, commercially viable and critical information, free from jargon or spin.
The best solution is an AI-driven system, built on blockchain, which allows all parties to access universal numbers securely, so that buyers and sellers can agree on what transactions have happened and what they mean for all parties. Combine that with proof-of-view technology capable of cutting out ad fraud in real time, in a privacy compliant way, and the market will have something it can work with.
With advertisers and publishers using the same system, and robust anti-fraud technology underpinning it, post-impression payments can be settled swiftly and automatically – to the relief of publishers who often do not receive funds for months under the current, broken system.
Of course, blockchain, as with any other emerging technology, is not a silver bullet. The blockchain brand has been tarnished by ventures that have failed to focus on workable solutions to business problems, and many of them have also got their own sums wrong into the bargain.
As always, it’s about how you use it. By combining blockchain and IVT detection, we can highlight potential issues and tackle pain points in a way that allows publishers to fix problems efficiently, and in turn to demand suitable payment terms. What’s more, with all parties in agreement about the figures, the parameters are finally clear; their shared data providing a central point of truth.
The right technology, in appropriate scenarios, also has the power to enable publishers to improve the value exchange for users. Privacy, rightly still a huge concern, is placed at the core of the solution, with data anonymised and no personally identifiable information held.
It’s no overstatement to say that the arrival of blockchain-driven transparency and immutability in the supply chain is capable of bringing about a genuine paradigm shift in the industry, replacing infighting and obfuscation with collaboration and mutual benefit.
So, as we emerge from an opaque and complex ecosystem, in which both publishers and advertisers are increasingly unhappy, transparency and trust can be regained right across the value chain – increasing user engagement, dramatically improving premium publisher monetisation and finally rewarding the true value creators of the industry.
Verasity’s end to end adtech solution, VeraViews, is built on the blockchain to increase security and accountability. Its patented Proof of View technology is the foundation for transparent and trusted ad transactions that enables unparalleled fraud detection in real time. With this, Verasity is able to guarantee legitimate views by eradicating video ad fraud, and ensure publishers and content creators are recompensed accurately, timely and transparently.