You don’t have to look far to find an article extolling the virtues of blockchain and heralding it as an answer to all of humanities problems. Whether this praise is well-founded or not remains to be seen, but in short-term, blockchain does have some solutions for the business world. One of the main issues found in business spheres is a lack of transparency in the advertising supply chain.

A low bar

At the moment, for every dollar that is spent on advertising, around 50% of it is lost in the supply chain on things like middleware, fraud mitigation, and mediation. This has become such a normal practice that the Interactive Advertising Bureau currently allows a 10% discrepancy in results between ad agencies and publishers. You will be hard-pressed to find another industry that has set itself such a low bar.

But things do not have to be this way and it is time for advertisers to stand up and demand a more improved way for brands and publishers to connect. This network should allow more transparency as well as more insight into the performance and details of each transaction. Luckily, this network already exists and it is blockchain.

The blockchain solution

Many in the industry believe that it will form the most profound re-platforming exercise of the advertising industry since the beginning of the digital revolution. The industry will be enabled to coalesce around a common version of the truth and this will allow it to focus on what really matters-performance.

But blockchain technology doesn’t just offer a solution for long-time industry frustrations, it provides a way to improve the entire industry. Industry forecasters believe that the technology could drive forward over $80bn in improved value, as soon as 2022.

In the long term, most of the industry value that is made possible by blockchain will come from data and process usage improvements that use data related to, but not stored on the blockchain.

An advertising industry utopia

Whilst it is easy to get carried away dreaming of this united advertising industry utopia, one thing is clear, an unprecedented level of cooperation and innovation will be needed to make it happen. One forward-thinking non-profit consortium of advertising and publishing executives, AdLedger has already started working on rules and standards to facilitate such a cooperation. At the moment, it is working on two proof-of-concept projects, one concerning GDPR compliance, and one focussing on a media campaign which is executed through its entire lifecycle on the blockchain.

As the advertising industry evolves, every single stakeholder must take an active interest in making the changes that they way. Together, the era of walled gardens can end and a new beginning of tending a shared community garden can begin. This is not hype, this is the future.

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