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Google Algorithm Core Update May 2020

Google announced its second update from 2020 amidst COVID-19. It announced the update as the May 2020 Core Update Form. The rollout will continue for two weeks from the release date.

The pandemic has caused companies to shut operations and has witnessed a huge drop in traffic and sales across industries and businesses.

This post contains information and analysis about this May 2020 core update.

Google’s update seems to be affecting SERPs throughout the world. Volatility across continents simultaneously is indicated.

Let’s get a look at what changed, the impact of the change, and an overview of recent developments in Google’s algorithms.

What has Google changed?

The impact of COVID-19 has affected not only the businesses but also the search patterns and purchase behavior of consumers. The way people search for Google has changed drastically.

Google has made this a core update stating that they are delivering their mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.

Google has made it clear that it wants to focus on improving how its systems assess content on a whole.

Google recently made some new changes with its suggestions on producing quality content and has classified them under questions as content & quality, expertise, presentation & production, and comparative questions.

Impact of the Google May 2020 Core Update

Websites with thin content will start losing their positions and underperforming websites that match the user’s search intent will gain traction for their efforts.

SERP volatility From Semrush sensor

Aggregators and Directories are winning the game with entertainment websites also on a rise. Local search businesses will be impacted negatively by the core update of Google’s algorithms.

Volatility in ranking would mean restructuring and repurposing old website content with new.

The real impact of any typical broad core algorithm update takes time to show the results of its change.

Once all the data centers are rolled out with changes globally, we will know exactly what it might cause for websites to change, apart from personalizing the content.  

Who is Affected By the Google Update?

A data report by SEMrush indicates that travel, real estate, health, pets & animals, and people & society are the industries that have been hit the most. The websites in these sectors had the highest fluctuation in rankings.

SERP Features Occurrence For All Categories

Local search has shown some tremendous fluctuations since last April 2020.

In the wake of COVID-19, Google’s algorithms might have changed a bit towards the way people are intending to see and learn while making a search query. News, Sports, Arts, and Entertainment have been the least affected categories due to the update. 

Overview of Most Recent Google Updates

Google May 2020 Core Update – May 4, 2020

On May 4, 2020, Google announced a rollout for the core update on its algorithms. Google later on May 18, 2020, announced that the rollout was complete.

This is a broad core update made by Google amidst COVID-19 which has diversified and changed the way people search.

Google Update February 2020 – February 7, 2020

There were some updates in Google algorithms which resulted in the traffic fluctuation and ranking performance of websites in February.

There was no official update given by Google on this update. Though there was no clear pattern of the impact on websites, experts out there say that it was the beginning of a big change that came out in May 2020.

Google January 2020 Core Update – January 13, 2020

The first core update by Google was announced on January 13, 2020. Search patterns of users all over the globe changed and so did the need for the algorithms too.

The update revolves around the relevance and usefulness of content to the user, trustworthy information, and backlinking to authoritative sources. 

Google Update – November 2019

Google confirmed some updates in November 2019 but nothing towards an actionable change.

Websters and SEO experts say that it took some massive changes and impacted the affiliate websites primarily in the USA. Travel, Health, and Food sectors were majorly affected. 

Google BERT Update – October 24, 2019

The BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It helps Google to understand the contextual meaning of a sentence. 

Google September 2019 Core Update – September 24, 2019

There was no consistent trend in the impact of this core update by Google in September 2019.

Though there were reports of healthcare and finance categories being affected by the SEO professionals. 

Google June 2019 Core Update – June 3, 2019

In order to be more relevant to user searches, Google keeps doing core updates on its algorithms so it better understands the need of the user to precision. Google rolled out a core update on June 3, 2019. 

Google March 2019 Core Update – March 12, 2019

The trackers showed significant volatility in ranking websites. Google confirmed it as a global core update in the search algorithms. The update was rolled out on March 12, 2019.

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Cookieless Advertising is the Future!

A brief history of cookies

Before the time of cookies, websites and users faced a lot of difficulties, like tracking the frequent vs the new visitors. Also, commercial online transactions had to be done in one visit. To overcome this, in June 1994, Lou Montulli, a highly skilled programmer from Netscape Communications came up with a solution called “persistent client state object” which places a small file on each visitor’s machine that would track what the visitor’s computer did on that site. This later came to be known as “cookies” after a data exchange process in a program called “magic cookies”.

It is a big bang in the history of the web where cookies changed the web from a place of discontinuous visits into a rich environment, where it remembers web configuration (e.g. language preferences), login details, products that the person has added to the shopping cart and later re-visited the site to complete the purchase. Cookies have altered the nature of surfing the web from being a relatively anonymous activity, like visiting a store where the shopkeeper has amnesia, to the kind where the shopkeeper is smart enough to provide suggestions based on your preference.

1st, 2nd & 3rd Party Cookies

First-party cookies

First Party Cookies are set by the publisher’s web server on the website and it is supported by all browsers and can be blocked or deleted by the user. These cookies allow website owners to collect analytics data, remember language settings, and perform other useful functions that provide a good user experience. The domain host can see the data that the cookie retrieves. First-party cookies can’t usually be used to track a user’s activity on another site other than the original website it was placed on.

Second-party cookies

Second-party cookies are cookies that are transferred from one company (the one that created first-party cookies) to another company via some sort of data partnership. For example, A Bank could sell its first-party cookies (such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) to a trusted Credit card seller to use for ad targeting, which would mean the cookies become classed as second-party.

Third-party cookies

Third-party cookies are created by domains that are not the website you visit; instead, they are usually used for online-advertising purposes and placed on a website through adding scripts or tags by Ad-Tech companies or Ad agencies. A third-party cookie is used to collect user information like location, device type, data such as the user’s behavior on the site, and more.

Farewell to the 3rd Party Cookies

The 3rd party cookies are like the backbone of digital advertising but the Consumer Privacy Acts like GDPR, CCPA which wants to ensure that user data tracking are happening with their consent and transparency, but some third party is using the fine-grained user data to retarget them based on their past web activity which irritates most of the user.

The major players like Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox already scrapped 3rd party cookies by introducing ITP2.2 and ETP respectively by blocking the third-party cookies and also the 3rd party cookies pretend as first-party using their enhanced Tracking system to make sure transparency and explicit consent management are made.

Google Chrome has a huge share of around 62% of users across all devices, they have announced blocking the 3rd party cookies completely after two years of time, they are hitting the final nails to the coffin, by scrapping the 3rd party cookies, it would affect the targeting the relevant audiences in programmatic advertising like the following.

  • Behavioral Targeting: It shows ads to users based on their behavior across different websites.
  • Audience Targeting: exporting audiences to DSPs for targeting.
  • Ad retargeting: showing ads to users across the web who have previously visited your website.
  • Frequency capping: limiting the number of times an ad is shown to the same user in a given time frame (e.g. max 5 ad impressions in a given 24-hour period).
  • Audience extension: showing ads to a publisher’s audience across different websites.
  • View-through attribution: attributing an ad view with a conversion.

Impact on Advertising

The Impact of scrapping the 3rd party cookies is reflected on all the components of the programmatic advertising environment because for around 2 decades we have relied on the 3rd party cookies for various purposes as discussed above. (eg. Retargeting, conversion tracking, etc.)

  • Publishers: SSP and Ad Exchange won’t be able to identify users on websites in the same way they can now by using third-party cookies.
  • DMP: The end of third-party cookies in web browsers will mean that DMPs won’t be able to create audiences that can be later used for audience activation and targeting by advertisers.
  • AdTech Platforms: They can’t map the relevant user to display the ads on the browser since cookie sync won’t happen anymore so their targeting, frequency capping, and conversion tracking needs to be handled with a different approach
  • Advertisers: They used to depend on the 3rd part data to target reach relevant users need to work on building first-party audiences and tie-up with a relevant publisher to by the inventory directly

What’s Next?

 It’s the right time to focus on alternative strategies to target relevant users. Below are some of the best alternative tactics to a cookie-based audience.

First-party data

Though the 3rd party cookies are getting to bin completely in a couple of years’ time, we can still use the First-party data from Advertiser’s site, CRM tools, foot-traffic, and in-app data. It will have more relevant data of the user who has shown interest in the product and service, so the conversion rate would be more compared to the third-party audiences.

Contextual Advertising

It is an old school technique that helps in reaching “Right user, Right time” by using more relevant keywords, site content to advertiser services and product, and contextual ads are the perfect alternative. As the content of the site user visits and ads are relevant, we would have a higher click-through rate and conversion rate. Ex: Airlines showing banners and on people surfing through the sites on scenic and vacation planning.

White list

Targeting the list of domains, channels, and apps that are relevant to the advertiser industry make the user see many related ads populating on the site, and periodical optimization of performing site would help to bring the high conversion rate of the users.

Other digital advertising mediums and channels:

There are many other areas of digital advertising where brands are spending their money. These include in-app mobile, OTT and CTV, and digital out-of-home (DOOH).

Universal ID

DMPs that collect and use non-cookie IDs, such as email addresses and device IDs, are in a good position. As most other DMPs rely on third-party cookies, they’ll be severely impacted by these changes.

We have already taken a big leap in the cookie-less era, AdTech companies are also building ID-based Infra to help the Advertisers to market their product to relevant users. Also, IAB Tech Lab announced that they are working on a Project Rearc, a new identifier that will work across different browsers and privacy standards and won’t rely on third-party cookies. It would be like climbing the Himalayas peak of Mount Himalaya but the cookieless era will better the situation for the marketers, AdTech, and User by harmonizing Privacy, transparency, personalization, and community.

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Story of vertical videos and how it’s proving to be the new black horse

Over the last 70 years, video advertising has evolved from grainy black and white commercials, coming through the ‘80s when the iconic Apple commercial for Super Bowl changed the trajectory of video marketing, to the ’90s when the internet boomed, creating more digital opportunities for marketers, and then the advent of social media, especially YouTube, that brands that adapted the ‘digital’ fast enough, could cash upon. For example, there was Nike, which became one of the first brands to hit a million viewers on YouTube. As mobile data usage continues to break new records, and social media users are found spending more time on mobile devices vis-a-vis desktops, marketers realize the future of visual storytelling is vertical video.

In the initial days of social media, when the common and more acceptable format of video storytelling was the landscape mode, since the videos were being viewed on desktops and laptops, vertical videos would be frowned upon. Social media platforms would render them with black borders. But those days are behind us. Social media platforms are quickly embracing vertical video format, integrating them into a seamless experience and pushing users to leverage the ‘story’ mode of sharing vertical video content.

Today it is known that 57% of video plays come from mobile devices. Which means most of the visual content being consumed is through mobile devices and this is only going to grow. Of this, most of the usage is via social media. So it is a good idea to be ahead of the game, make vertical video ad experience better for this increasing target audience. Additionally, statistics support the fact that most people are lazy to flip their phones sideways, which means, if as a digital marketer you have not moved to vertical videos, you are losing your audience. Social media apps are adapting and embracing vertical video format for the same reason. Remember IGTV?

Where is most video content being consumed and where is the future of digital video advertising taking us? It is on the smart phones!

Here we have some interesting numbers to convince digital marketers about a visible change of location, that is, WHERE content is being accessed is changing. For example, if most of the internet traffic has moved to smartphones and you are still making video ads customized for PCs, you are likely to lose out on a considerable and growing chunk of the audience that has already migrated. According to Stastica, the number of mobile video viewers in US alone has jumped from 125 million in 2014 to 170 million in 2018 and is likely to cross 180 million by 2020. Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2021. Another report brought out by Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021, presented some interesting insights that indicate that digital content is most likely to be concentrated in the mobile space.ther things.

  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for more than 63 percent of total IP traffic by 2021.
  • By 2021, PCs will account for only 25 percent of the internet traffic against 46 percent in 2016. Marketers have to quickly adapt their marketing strategies to this reality, since the growth in this platform is likely to be stunted with PC-originated traffic to grow only by 10% versus 21 percent growth rates expected for tablets, smartphones and machine-to-machine platforms.
  • Smartphones likely to account for 33 percent of total IP traffic by 2021, up from 13 percent in 2016. This is where the growth in the consumer base is indicated to lie.
  • People are going to be watching more videos and marketers must take note of this. Video is slated to become the most commonly consumed form of entertainment and information with video set to corner 82% of the total consumer internet pie. Global video traffic on the internet is going to grow three fold, according to the same report.

Social media is embracing vertical video

80% of social media is used on mobile, according to Future-in-Focus study. Given that more and more video content is being accessed through social media on smartphones, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have taken quick strides in adapting to this change of location from PCs to mobile. One way it has done this is by integrating vertical video format. For example, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have allowed for streaming of vertically shot videos by doing away with the black borders for vertical videos. YouTube adjusts the size of the vertical videos before rendering on the site. Not just that, social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are pushing their vertical video content publishing features, or ‘stories’. But the biggest endorsement for vertical video came with the launch of ‘Stories’ by Instagram, a platform for shooting, recording and publishing vertical videos by users. Within a year of the launch of this feature, Instagram left behind Snapchat (pioneers of vertical video content), by acquiring 250 million daily active users.

Vertical videos likely to have higher completion rates

This understanding is important for those who craft digital campaigns. Once social media sites have adapted to vertical video format and enhanced it for an immersive experience for the user, ones who stand to gain the most from it is digital marketing companies making vertical ad video campaigns. This is because these campaigns are likely to have a higher completion rate and a larger pie of the consumer’s attention because of the smoother experience, making it a more effective tool for carrying the brand messaging across. In 2015, Snapchat shared that full screen vertical videos had 90% more completion rates than horizontal ones. Research further shows that visual attention for vertical video ads is twice as higher than in other formats.

Where should you be as a publisher of vertical videos?

Here is a quick lowdown on the various sites and how they are using vertical videos for audience engagement:

  • YouTube is still adapting to vertical videos since it has primarily been a platform for horizontal video content. It is not to say, there is no scope for vertical videos on YouTube. Music heavy videos in vertical format have started engaging YouTubers in droves.
  • Within a year of the launch of the feature, Instagram Stories cornered 250 million daily active users because of its higher engagement value. Almost half of Instagram users have taken to the feature launched in January 2017. One of the five stories shared by brands on Instagram Stories is likely to draw an engagement from followers in the form of a direct message.
  • Snapchat stories are similar to Instagram, but are older and meant for a narrower audience which is essentially the teen age group, whereas Instagram has a wider audience reach across age groups. About 7 million video clips are viewed on Snapchat. In a report, Snapchat said, for a particular brand, their brand awareness improved by 15 points and buying intent rose by 22 percent from a 10 sec ad clip.

There is a good reason why social media sites are adapting vertical video.

Consumers are too lazy to flip their phones sideways

The social media apps on the mobile are designed keeping in mind consumer’s tendency to hold the device vertically. As a campaign designer, your job is to be aware of this human behavior, while creating video ads. Horizontal ads created for mobile devices where people are consuming information vertically most of the time, can be disadvantageous since people are unlikely to flip their phones and tap to watch them on full screen for a few seconds advert unless it is extraordinarily engaging.  The Mobile Overview Report in 2014 found, smartphone users hold their phones vertically about 94% of the time. This is to do with the fact that, very basic functions of a phone-calling and receiving phone calls or text-are performed vertically. So that is what we are most used to. But we have always historically watched videos in the form of films and TC shows or even music videos. Then came the age of mobile data, where now we were forced to flip the phone to watch videos that were shot in landscape mode. So as consumers switch to smartphones to devour content vertically for longer periods of time, it makes more sense to have them play videos vertically too, for higher attention.

There is enough merit and also the first mover’s advantage in incorporating vertical videos as part of your digital campaigns at this point. As video becomes the king of content and low cost technology makes smartphones cheaper and more widely affordable, social media marketing strategies will need to incorporate video storytelling in a way (ideally vertically) that is easy on the eye and immersive, to increase completion rates and have higher visual attention. At the end of the day, you want people to remember your brand and your brand’s story.

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8 Reasons Why Digital Marketers Need To Get On With AI

Not just to sanction your loan application and craft the ideal buying recommendation for you on Amazon, artificial intelligence’s latest applications in marketing is letting online businesses optimize their campaigns almost real time based on feedback or sentiment analysis tools. But one of the greatest blessings of AI has been with regards to targeting audiences better and generation of quality leads. In other words, predictive analysis is helping improve conversion rates and thereby reduce marketing costs, solving the biggest and most expensive problem for digital marketers which was-poor audience targeting. Here we take a look at why marketers need to get on with AI as soon as possible and why indeed according to a study by PwC, 72% marketers believed, adapting AI was a ‘business advantage’ and those who have not adapted, may already have fallen behind the curve.

AI in marketing helps you answer these basic questions better:

  1. On discovering your product, how likely is a consumer to buy it?
  2. How does your consumer feel about the product? Is he liking it, not liking it, common reasons for either negative or positive behaviour.
  3. Can you map the psychographics like interests, habits, preferences, propensities, age etc.

One of the most widely discussed advantages of artificial intelligence in digital marketing has been its skill to leverage customer data and applying machine learning to predict customer behavior, thereby improving the customer experience right from searching for the right goods to buying them and then having them come back to the brand.

Better Audience Targeting

This partly answers our first question-What is the consumer of your ad buying? Before the advent of AI, digital marketers would launch a campaign and would not really know much about who was watching those ads and how were these ads being received. The ads campaigns would suffer from poor click through rates or poor quality lead generation. For example, with reference to Facebook ads, you are often shown ads of products that you recently purchased or of hotel reservations when you have just booked a hotel and this means total loss of the ad spend. Here’s where Big Data has revolutionized audience targeting. Big data is the application of machine learning to aggregate and augment large sets of data with minimal human interference. The outcome is, this helped marketers reach the right audiences at the right time.

How does this work? Let us consider an example.

Artificial intelligence systems like IBM’s Watson or Microsoft’s Azure have algorithms that allow the system to sift through reams of data to bring out meaningful psychographs based on parameters like interests, email clicks, age, location, shopping habits, preferences among other things.

High Quality Results

Another major problem that has been facing marketing teams is the poor quality of lead generation. You may run a campaign for a product for men working at mid management levels but the leads you get may be from interns or fresh graduates, which may not be of any relevance to you. The customized algorithms of the AI systems mentioned above scores audiences based on machine learning through lead scoring tools, there by segregating them to give you a clearer picture of the quality of your leads. This then makes it easier to optimize your campaigns almost real time to maximize sales or sales targeting.

How does AI help lead generation?

Artificial intelligence is the process of creating systems that enable machines to understand, learn from patterns and interact with the environment to make decisions much the same way as humans would. In other words, we are preparing our systems to not just respond to the customers in the most efficient way that would enhance their interactive experience with the brand but also help in large scale data collection and analysis of the patterns that enhances audience targeting and lead selection. AI systems are advanced enough now to identify major themes and patterns in consumer behavior by way of interpreting natural language, read sentiment, and draw inferences from customer’s interactions on social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or Facebook or email or on ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. All of this makes lead analysis a fairly comprehensive task based on logical algorithm that can significantly improve the media buying experience.

Simplifying and Automating The Process Of Data Collection and Response

A simple example is the runaway success of viral agent engines or chat bots run by AI, installed by many brands on their websites. The algorithms use machine learning models to allow the chat bots to interpret human language and respond accordingly on real time basis. These AI bots can process information available all over the net to come up with the most well analyzed response. The chat bots can take in queries, discern intent, predict behavior, help deepen psychographic information collected, sometimes more efficiently than humans.Similarly, AI driven sentiment analyzers can give you a real time feedback about the brand, campaigns, customers’ buying experience, retention of the customer or even potential buyers. This helps brands to work on the negative information about product features that are not working with the customers. At a time when some industries like e-commerce sites are playing for the margins, employing AI can significantly impact the output of marketing divisions.  But how accurate are they? The efficiency of these systems, based on the machine learning models that they use, can range from 90-95%. For example, the latest in marketing is the Deep Forest Decision tree machine learning model that has been working magic in sentiment analysis and claims to have the highest accuracy in this area.

Predictive Marketing 

The fundamental principle of predictive analysis is the ability to make sense out of data, that is, to identify patterns, remember them and predict events or behavior in the future. It is no more as simple as preening over historical searches, but going deeper into preferences, behavioral dispensations, age, and propensity to consume. Predictive analytical systems have algorithms for predictive lead scoring based on lead records, social information and behavioral data. For example, many omni-channel marketers or multi-channel marketers running campaigns across platforms use predictive marketing for simulation exercises before sending out the communication to millions. The simulation assesses the estimated outcome of the campaign, based on which it can recommend the changes in the communication which could be a change in the subject line of an email or change in the content or toggling around the Call To Action buttons among other things, for optimum results.

Predictive analysis has also resulted in real time optimization of brand campaigns based on the feedback coming in, through features like sentiment analysis.  For example, if a campaign running on YouTube is not working out with customers, you can be informed by this input almost real time and make it better to suit the right audiences.

Doing Away With Irrelevant Content

There is nothing that puts a customer off like being bombarded with irrelevant content, which is set to be fixed by AI. Following the same rules of the game as discussed earlier, when marketers know how to reach the right audiences at the right time, and know what the customer is looking for and how likely is he/she to engage in buying, the marketers can then craft their content messaging in a way to encourage certain behavior, educate them on theme the customer is looking to know more about and thereby eventually convert and retain the audience. With machine learning, it is also possible to create template content for the targeted audiences that they find relevant and consumable, revolutionizing the content marketing space.

There are AI systems like PERSADO which help you optimise content by helping you with words and phrases that are more likely to work with a certain consumer and have him/her buy your service or product.

Personalised Experience 

Based on your browsing data on multiple devices, systems will analyze millions of behavioral data points using probabilistic modeling to map a use on multiple devices and then suggest ways to personalize ads for device targeting where maximum return/engagement can be expected.

Let us look at this example of California based Drawbridge which uses AI and machine learning to enable brands to personalize ads based on data mined across multiple devices of a customer, and then tying it back to the buying behavior of the customer. For example, based on the information you were consuming on your laptop, the ads you see on your tablet would stand customized. Secondly, if you bought something on line or even offline, Drawbridge will let the advertiser know what ad campaign prompted the purchase.

Better and Faster Decision Making

With minimal human intervention, AI can take care of simple decision making actions that are based on logic. For example, chat bots are set up to take in representational responses from the customers on factors like, what product feature did the consumer like and which one did they not, was delivery on time, if the quality of the product good, bad or worse, or if the customer is likely to return or not. This can help design more consumer-centric campaigns.

Smart Search

An important point for marketers to know is how AI has fired up search engines to give the consumer exacting choices. This not only helps you find the right information on Google but also on various ecommerce sites and online businesses like Amazon, Flipkart or find the right movies on Netflix or movies you are most likely to watch.  Big data solutions can help marketers be guided by the advanced search patterns thrown up by these AI systems. For example, technologies like Elasticsearch allow ecommerce stores to have search engines that are more nuanced than just matching keywords. There are softwares to detect commonly misspelled words and can correct them by context.

Programmatic Advertising

This helps automate the process of buying media by targeting specific audiences and demographics. In other words, programmed ads are placed using AI where the bidding for inventory is on a real time basis for either online display, mobile, or social media ads or even ads on TV.

But like with every scientific advancement, there are sections of people who continue to be skeptical about the scope of role that will be played by AI in marketing. Some say, AI at the end of the day can at best only be integrated into marketing campaigns and its utility will really still be driven by highly skilled resources for the most part. It will also rely on human intervention for creative use of the analysis in the best interest of the brand. Can AI driven campaigns be as creative as human designed campaigns? Or do they need to be? A question that only time can answer. Another issue that has been at the center of the debate around Big Data is that of privacy of the consumer. How will brands tackle this crucial question as they get prying around your desktops and mobile phones, to make you the best campaigns and recommendations like Netflix or Amazon have already been doing.

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Marketing Maroons – The Blockchain Saga

Marketing has always been a shape shifter that moulds as per the current waves. Be it an innovation, a trend or an abolishment, it brings about a significant change. For several years now, Big Data had been the backbone of Digital Marketing. Standing strong on the four pillars- Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity. While the first three positively influence and impact the strategies and the decisions, the fourth has always been a matter of concern. Veracity, the uncertainty of data has forever rendered a marketer, helpless. The authenticity of the information, the accuracy and quality of the data, or the transparency of the execution and implementation has always been questionable.

The ‘Blockchain Technology’ is the newest wave that has hit the market really hard. It is believed that in the field of data-driven marketing, this technology comes to sabotage several limitations. 

What is Blockchain? 

The technological advancements enable us to communicate directly, across the world. For example, one can make voice or video calls, or send pictures, videos, or instant messages to another user. This direct form of communication helps in maintaining privacy, irrespective of the distance between these individuals. 

But when it comes to money, the transaction takes place through a third party. For example, a bank or a payment portal. This is where the Blockchain Technology comes into the picture. It challenges the status quo of such transactions in a very radical way. 

Using Math and Cryptography, this technology provides an open, decentralized database for any transaction that involves value – Money, property, work, goods, etc. And the authenticity of this record can be verified by anyone.

Blockchain aspires to transform the global economy into one of distributed property and trust. Where the internet is the only requirement to get involved in Blockchain based transactions. Thus making the existence of a third party trust organization completely futile. 

It is believed that once embraced, the Blockchain technology can be used to gather taxes or make cross-country monetary transactions, and also significantly reduce financial frauds. The fact that every transaction that is made would be recorded on a public and distributed ledger, which can be accessed by anyone who has internet, makes Blockchain, a technology that can be looked at as a global decentralised source of trust.  

Blockchain Technology – Making Marketing More Efficient

As mentioned earlier, one of the major pain points for the marketers and advertisers is the lack of transparency and accountability. There are no certain records of how their ad money is being spent. Hence, one has no clue, whether the media purchased was delivered as intended. 

Therefore Ad fraud is prevalent and often costs marketers and publishers a large amount of money. Thus, it is proved that the lack of visibility on third parties is one of their key concerns. 

The Blockchain validates and analyses every consumer’s journey and thus, makes data-driven marketing more transparent. Using verified ad delivery, this technology confirms that a real person saw the ad, as per the media contract. Marketers will able to monitor exactly where their ads were being placed and that real followers and consumers were engaging with their ads.

Consumer satisfaction is extremely important. One cannot afford to lose customers at any cost. Therefore, catering to their needs without any impositions becomes necessary. Unfortunately, that has not been the case until now. Several surveys have proved that consumers feel overwhelmed and burdened by the innumerable ads, emails, coupons and messages. And this is because of the lack of clarity of the consumer’s’ preferences. Undeniably there is a disconnect between the consumers and the marketers.

For example, you may have often come across advertisements on various portals, of a product that you have already purchased or of a service that you have already availed, about a few days ago. Blockchain technology has the ability to prevent the same display ad from being over-served to a consumer and at the same time it also ensures an optimal frequency of ad serving to each consumer.

Blockchain Technology and its influence on Digital Marketing 

Like any other technology, the Blockchain comes with its own set of challenges. It has quite a Ying-Yang effect on Digital marketing as well. While some of its properties smoothen the process, some make it a bit effortful and time-consuming. 

1. The Data Collection Strategy

In order to access the internet, we all have to go through gatekeepers. These gatekeepers record all the information that we have fed it while online. Everything from our choices and preferences to our personal contacts and conversations is recorded as data. This data is subject to innumerable threats and can be easily sold or purchased for a certain cost. This directly hampers the privacy factor of the user. The Blockchain technology is the solution to this problem. It not only secures one’s personal data but also allows them to retain it, only with themselves. 

But this would mean that a marketer no longer gets information of its users. They wouldn’t know, when and for what a particular user had visited their or their clients’ website. In this case, the marketers would have to gather data directly from the prospects and consumers.

This technology would also allow users to voluntarily decide what type of content and ads they want to see. And therefore the marketers would have to customize their user experience accordingly.

2. The Digital Display Advertising

Irrespective of the positive results, it is undeniable that the online display ads are expensive and difficult to manage. Another hard-hitting fact is that the inventory is almost completely controlled by two major companies – Facebook and Google. 

The issues from the user perspective are also loud and clear. They feel that the display ads are intrusive and annoying. That they not only waste bandwidth but also drain the mobile device’s battery. 

As per the Blockchain technology fewer yet quality ads would be released in the ecosystem. The users can provide accurate information, choose the kind of ads they want to see and even get compensated with cryptocurrency for volunteering to view these ads. 

In this way it’s a win-win situation for all, the marketers get an appropriate target audience, the publisher gets a fair share from both the marketer and the user and the user sees relevant ads only. 

3. The Smart Contracts 

A smart contract is a code that can keep track of terms of agreements and automate the steps towards each term’s fulfilment. So if you have hired a contract employee, then you can sign a smart contract with them. It automatically verifies whether the work is done as per the norms stated in the agreement and thus, triggers a transfer. 

As per a block chain service, a creator gets paid whenever a company or an individual uses his/her creation. The smart contract also enables one to purchase or license rights from the content creators. This eliminates the chances of any legal issues.

A smart contract on Blockchain affirms to provide an intense level of tracking and transparency. This way the consumer gets to share more accurate information. Which in turn benefits both the consumers and the marketers, as it increases the relevance of their messages and decreases the frequency of advertising.

As stated, all the data collected through the Blockchain technology is maintained in a public and distributed ledger. This level of transparency, allows the consumers to know what has been done with that data and thus, mitigates their trust related concerns. 

     The Blockchain technology is constantly evolving. And is headed towards revolutionizing the marketing strategies and campaigns. If embraced completely, one will have to change the ways of deploying, consuming, and managing the conventional methods of marketing. 

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