March 8, 2018 | Written by: Keith Wood and Babs Rangaiah
It used to be so simple. The supply chain behind a media buy
was made up of three main players — client, agency and media property — and each type of media came with a single measurement source. But the digital era is making that model obsolete, like rabbit ears or appointment-viewing TV. In today’s programmatic era, new ad tech solutions, complete with adservers and multiple measurement companies, have redefined the ecosystem.This complex new environment has ushered in a host of issues for marketers, including lack of quality control, security and financial transparency between the many parties involved.In fact, it’s estimated
that roughly 20 percent of spend today is fraudulent.
Executives from many of the top advertisers in the world are demanding a solution — including Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers. This topic was a major focus of discussions at this week’s IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
. It is also why IBM and Unilever are collaborating on a pioneering project to establish trust throughout the digital ad buying ecosystem. At the heart of it is blockchain.
Blockchain enables the secure exchange of digital assets, and we believe it was built to solve these very issues: lack of transparency and murky reconciliation. With blockchain, once a transaction is validated through a consensus process, it’s instantly committed to all ledgers in the network. To compare it to something more common, consider email. When you send an email, you’re actually sending a copy, so there are copies in multiple places. With blockchain, you have a whole ledger or database that securely stores entire blocks of information, so changes in any one place are then reflected everywhere.
Additionally, the design prevents data from being altered retroactively, ensuring the verifiability and integrity of transactions. By providing participants full transparency into the process, blockchain guarantees status accuracy and minimizes the risk of manipulation.
Blockchain has the potential to be transformative for the advertising industry, among many others. As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty says, “blockchain could do for transactions what the internet did for communications.” Blockchain will not only ensure trust and transparency, it can help advertisers of all sizes reduce transaction costs, increase efficiency, simplify contracts and improve invoice processing.
It is time for the industry to drastically reduce ad fraud and significantly improve measurement standards. Using blockchain, we hope to revolutionize the media buying industry.