In 2017 WPP’s marketing services company Mindshare started working with the Singapore public blockchain Zilliqa on Project Proton. The initiative aims to make digital advertising buying more cost-effective. Today the group announced a 28% efficiency improvement was shown in March tests for PepsiCo ads run in the Asia Pacific. The benefit related to costs for viewable impressions.
The problem in digital advertising is a small proportion of the money spent by advertisers reaches publishers. Between the advertiser and publisher there are layers of intermediaries who each take a cut of the spending. Plus a significant proportion of ad spend is fraudulent or wasted including from bots.
Hence the aim is to ensure spending is on verifiable ads. The project uses smart contracts and an internal Native Alliance Token (NAT). The only ads paid for are those deemed viewable, brand-safe and free from any ad fraud. It enables transparency so that it’s clear which payments go to each party. Additionally, encryption is used to enable privacy so each party can only view data according to their role.
Farida Shakhshir, Director of Consumer Engagement for PepsiCo AMENA commented that “the results are encouraging, and we plan to run a few more campaigns under different conditions to verify more hypotheses and measure overall impact.”
Zilliqa is a public blockchain that, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, uses the Proof of Work as an anti-spam mechanism.
Other participants in the project include digital media buying platform Mediamath that serves 250 billion ad impressions a day and advertising agency Rubicon Project.
Other advertising initiatives
There are a number of blockchain advertising initiatives. Three months ago Lucidity ran a pilot with the IAB that showed 48% of clicks are wasteful. Mediaocean has a blockchain platform developed with IBM and signed up Kellogg, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer and Unilever. In-app mobile advertising platform Kiip ran the first blockchain based mobile ad campaign for AB InBev which owns the Budweiser beer brand.
Some projects are part of umbrella initiatives by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). And AdLedger is a consortium that’s targeting standards whose members include IBM, Publicis, Media Ocean and the IAB Tech Lab.