Today Gartner published its Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising 2019. Blockchain for Advertising was one of the four emerging trends identified. Somewhat surprisingly, it shows blockchain advertising as in the very early stages. In other words, it hasn’t yet started ascending the hype curve.
The other three trends identified were AI, Customer Data Platforms, and real-time marketing.
Gartner describes blockchain for advertising as having “tremendous promise” for marketers. However, it says it is unproven and has to address issues of scalability, performance and adoption. It claims none of the dozen or so companies that launched experimental platforms has demonstrated ongoing viability.
Despite the challenges, Gartner acknowledges there is some momentum. It highlights innovations from IBM, Comcast and Amazon, as well as challengers from outside the industry.
Of the three big names, Amazon is the latest to enter the arena following recent job advertisements on Linkedin. The job for a software engineer described it as “an opportunity to define a technology architectural direction of a greenfield area for Amazon’s advertising business using Blockchain technology.”
Amazon Web Services has had some blockchain advertising involvement already. One of its clients is online ad exchange smaato, which was one of the first to try out Amazon’s QLDB offering, its blockchain-like solution. Unlike blockchains, QLDB is centralized, and as a result, offers scalability. The benefit is immutability and the ability to provide a transparent audit trail.
Ιn the case of smaato that audit trail includes the initial auction, the winning bid, through to the final impression delivery. Smaato said: “Since we act as a centralized point of trust in this value chain, we’re really excited about Amazon QLDB.”
A year ago, MediaOcean and IBM announced an advertising consortium that includes Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer and Unilever. The solution went live in January with a dozen brands.
Comcast, through its Freewheel subsidiary, incubated BlockGraph. The platform uses blockchain for managing data for TV advertising and claims to protect consumer privacy. Tests have involved Viacom and Spectrum Reach, the advertising sales division of Charter Communications.
While Gartner mentioned these three initiatives, along with the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) blockchain activities, there are many others.