Digital advertising is so pervasive because it is the easiest and most effective way that companies can monetize their content. Although users have adjusted to the fact that advertisements are ever-present online, they’ve had more trouble with the recent privacy breaches highlighted by scandals involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
However, there is some good news about scandals like these: they are a wake-up call for everyone. Privacy transgressions are opening the door to smarter models of advertisement, which are now being built on blockchain. A number of these blockchain-based companies are reshaping the way in which ads are used and what information is collected in order to better protect the user.
21st Century digital advertising
There is a new model for decentralized digital advertising, which was first pioneered by Basic Attention Token (BAT). With his model, the future of blockchain ad platforms operate on the basis that consumers are paid for their information. That information is stored in a transparent, anonymized, and encrypted fashion. This decentralized method of advertising will take the power away from advertisers and will reduce privacy violations, while increasing revenue for publishers.
Image Source: Gartner 2018
Though BAT was one of the first to bring this idea to market, other traditional ad based channels are implementing protocols of their own that continue to further the concept of decentralized digital advertising. For example, Verasity, a blockchain-based video sharing platform, has evolved this idea by implementing their patent-pending Proof-of-View (PoV) protocol for ads.
Proof-of-View (PoV) for video sharing platforms
Video sharing platforms like YouTube are entirely funded by advertising. Yet, their ad monetization model is faulty because of the bad data reported due to fraudulent views and the obligatory views that are used for data collection. Why sit by passively by when neither content creators or viewers are satisfied with the service they are receiving?
With its Proof-of-View, Verasity is flipping this model on its head by allowing consumers to decide whether or not they want to watch ads, while giving publishers the liberty to decide how to best monetize their content. Ads will no longer be forced upon publishers as a method of monetization. Similar to BAT’s model for decentralized advertising, Verasity is putting the power back into the hands of publishers and viewers by ensuring their interests are protected with the PoV.
The Proof-of-View protocol is designed to securely verify content viewership in the ecosystem in a transparent and tamper-proof way. When consumers agree to watch advertisements on the platform, their views will be encrypted before being recorded on a publicly auditable log. All of the information will be anonymized in order to protect the viewer and will be stored in a decentralized manner. This method of collection will avoid debacles like that of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Information that is collected will be compliant with requirements set forth by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Payment Card Industry (PCI DDS), and ePrivacy.
In addition to increasing the privacy and security of information, Verasity’s PoV is also solving YouTube’s problem of determining which views are authentic and which are not. This protocol will verifies view authenticity. For example, when viewing an ad, consumers have to confirm their streams and the VeraPlayer will have to be visible in order for the ad to count as a ‘view’. These, along with other validation methods, will prevent fraudulent revenues.
Smarter ad monetization
Blockchain provides us with the tools necessary to improve the way in which ads are integrated online and how we engage with them. By adopting smarter methods of ad monetization that empower the viewer rather than the advertiser— such as BAT’s model and Verasity’s PoV— consumers will have more control over their information.
We’re at a tipping point in digital advertising, and we know that it’s not disappearing anytime soon. However, there is a better way for us to engage symbiotically, so that we know that our information is kept safe and so that ads are beneficial to all parties involved. Verasity’s Proof-of-View is bringing us one step closer to a more decentralized and democratic method of monetizing ads, while giving consumers power over their information.