#AdTech in the age of #Blockchain. Who’s Who on the Decentralized Advertising Scene?

Mad Men are dead. Long live Mad Men. Ad scene players are facing the challenge of the high speed roller coaster of interface metamorphoses sweeping on the track of desktop > mobile > VR/AR > IoT, plus the advertising media evolution of banners > interactive ad formats > native ads > advertorials > videos, plus the adtech trends of Big Data, Machine Learning, Real Time DMP + DSP + SSP, Cross-matching, Per User Customized Creative, Profiling Each Visitor, Post Cookie Advertising, Header Bidding, Blockchain

Online communication & content platforms have grown to unprecedented heights, creating such new categories as communication apps, social engagement and user experience, phrases that no one would have got a few decades ago. On the other hand nothing spectacular has emerged on the arena of online advertising (and especially display advertising). We have around 3,77 billion online users. They spend roughly 60 % of their online time on social networks. This clearly shows that the battle for display traffic is between a number of players, with no single contestant as is the case with online searches. Every app is striving hard to earn keep its users engaged and active.

At the same time the advertising scene had been shaking for years as banners and display ads were already easily recognized and ignored by users. Adblockers won popularity and publishers had to struggle for CPM rates, while brands and marketers were competing for impressions at the lowest price.

Current online advertising revolvesaround numbers growth, counted either in impressions CPM, clicks CPC/PPC, conversions CPA or CPS. This plethora of numbers conjures an impression of scientific accuracy and strict accountability being applied to advertising. But, it is numbers again, that showed ROI-s consistently going down with each new metric trend adopted.

This ever more evident discordance could hardly have remained unnoticed. Finally adtech leaders took a slow and difficult change of course into the new generation of advertising media: contextual ad networks, in-content ads, programmatic bidding, native ads, DSP, SSP, DMP, DFP, header bidding.

This evolutionary shift should have left us confident about treadding the right path and dutifuly doing the best we could, unless an unforeseen circumstance had come up. Blockchain.

This time, it is all different. This is not the next trend. Thisi s a complete overhaul of the concept of doing business online. To an effect, online advertising would undergo dramatic change, too.

What is going to be different?

The first huge rapture would be affect all those impertinent, hidden flaws inherent to our trendy buzz topics, tools and job roles (strategy account manager?!). They would no longer be hidden. They’d appear on the surface, so they’d inevitable become acknowledged and this is exactly the predicament for solving any problem. ‘It’s all smoke and mirrors to get more money’ approach would be gone, hopefully :).

How is this going to happen?

“People overestimate what a technology can do in two years and underestimate what same technology will bring in 10 years”Blockchain Ecosystem OverviewA) Problems/ Causes:

  • high-speed trading is still a big issue
  • expences per transaction
  • cloud storing expences, architecture of decentralized cloud hosting?
  • which coin brings value?
  • lack of industry approval & community per coin/ICO / smart contracts?
  • no clear industry standards how to apply blockchain

B) Solutions / Implications :

  • transparency
  • open-source
  • lifetime stored transactions
  • feedback tied to the actual transaction happened
  • transaction comparrison: ROI/ performance/ value
  • decentralized API access: B2B cross-matching algorithms
  • public voting/rankings
  • less middlemen, clear industry roles
  • instant tracking access
  • GPS location of each pub/block/ ID?
  • real time API/ B2B/ cross-selling/REAL programmatic at no cost!
  • blockchain is the Facebook for your online transactions. Period.

Have you ever wondered how revealing your real names was an unthinkable breach of privacy in the Myspace era? No matter if it was Myspace or another less popular social network, or another online service, you were never asked to provide you real names publicly. Then, Facebook, somehow made us all appear with our real names and no only; more and more personal information has been steadily made public with our (opt-out) consent. Well, the same kind of transparency revolution coming over with the #Blockchain ecosystem. And not only: we are about to experience less middlemen, less broken communication, less complications and then, in addition to that, proven value/ROI feedback before you have even started cooperation with another party!

Now imagine implementing those approaches on the advertising scene. This is what the Brandvertisor team has been building since 2015, as the Transparency Advertising Marketplace concept. The emergence of Blockchain just provided the right context to articulate this concept better and made it tangible in a way. This is why we are giving it an updated moniker: Decentralized Advertising Marketplace.Brandvertisor is the first and only kind of advertising marketplace where you’d be able to browse profiles of global white listed publishers through contextual filters/ categories based on relevance/ rankings based feedback and traffic stats. Each publisher profiles would have detailed and well-structured information about all you might need to know as an advertiser — audience demographics, traffic, rates, etc. We are going to build this database through an open source ad delivery infrastructure, synchronized with all modern and proven adtech standards.Let’s meet up and discuss more about Blockchain into Adtech adoption at the Brandvertisor booth @ Web Summit 2017 on 7 Nov @ Booth A109So let see who’s who in the #AdTech decentralization .. and future standards:1. White listed publishers initiatives :A) Problems / Causes:.

DISPLAY LUMAscapefrom LUMA Partners

  • unknown publishers traffic: any publisher with low quality traffic can register and send traffic under random ID. If he gets banned, he would sign up again. Now imagine that happening over 20 ad networks…
  • fake bots traffic : publisher can fake 100/50/30 % of their traffic stats
  • Adblockers — emerged because of annoying advertising all over websites by means of pop-unders, pop-ups, tons of banners pn a single page, not to mention the 5 seconds video ads…
  • reselling low quality traffic in high quality ad networks (mixing low quality, high quality, bot traffic) — gray hat publishers are the hardest to fight, as they arbitrage among multiple ad networks to diversify and scale
  • cloaking publishers can fake traffic sources, rendering inaccurate traffic data on Google analytics; they can even imitate Google search results browsing
  • ad networks, on other hand, may sell you tier 3,2 traffic for tier 1 (200 % profit) or even fake traffic.

I used to be a co-founder of an ad network and I know from first hand experience, that sometimes you need to balance between publishers and advertisers happiness (it’s the two-sided market dilemma) and for that purpose you need be less careful about mid-quality publishers, so that advertisers receive traffic instantly and publishers to get paid on time.

B) Solutions / Implications:

It’s an exhausting act of constant balancing between low-mid-high level traffic and low-paying advertisers, eager for refunds, expecting sky-rocketing ROI-s for close to zero investments in creative or conversion funnels optimisation. At the end you have to close big budget deals on low quality traffic.

2. Header Bidding:A) Problems / Causes:

How come? I realized I was not that type of a salesman That’s how I decided to start Brandvertisor back in 2015.

B) Solutions / Implications:

  • ADS.TXT — USA agencies initiative — iAB Labs, Google GDN & leading programmatic networks joined the initiative of verified only and KNOWN publishers (it was about time in 2017
  • AdBlocker (Eyeo) Acceptable Ads initiative — a new wave of publishers who do not cooperate with old-generation agencies — the AdBlocker CEO announced Acceptable ads and AdTech standards in the middle of 2016, long before anyone else.
  • Adtoken publisher rating system?

3. Open source initiatives:A) Problems / Causes:

  • slow banners & cookies loading (10 seconds on average to load banners on Alexa 1000 website in 2017!?)
  • post cookies advertising > cheap scalable hosting solutions > user experience and speed experienced requirements > API based advertising solutions
  • brands demand for direct media buying — buy hyper targeted traffic, no need to buy 70 % unknown publishers traffic, when you can buy directly from the best ROI 3 ones for your campaign
  • demand for direct traffic sales by publishers — tired of being resold by the 200–2000% by ad networks and agencies, and being underpriced while required to build more viral content in much more competitive surrounding: apps, viral content rankings, quality over quantity, yet at the same time CPC/CPM goes down
  • diversification of monetization — numerous ad networks, ad formats (native ads, banners, in text ads, video ads, interactive HTML5 ads) and payment standards (CPM, CPC, CPA, CPS), programmatic networks (Appnexus, OpenX, Rubicon), sales departments selling boutique traffic to brands, adsense, affiliate/ CPA networks, white label & SaaS partnerships. If you could have all this aggregated in a single dashboard and integrated with creative A/B testing, with machine learning comparison of monetization/ earnings/ ROI, only with the click of a mouse, then, of course, you’d be using this coding-free dashboard

B) Solutions / Implications:4. DSP / SSP / DMPA) Problems / Causes:

  • Google DFP — this time Google did their homework before launching the Beta
  • open source header bidding: Appnexus & Rubicon Prebid.org < Facebook joins the header bidding
  • open source header bidding frameworks: Pubfood.org
  • open source (RTB) framework: Open bidding

B) Solutions / Implications:5. Fake NewsA) Problems / Causes:

  • lack of industry standards: API/ Ad Formats/ Publishers IDs
  • lack of industries synchronization: multiple dev languages, cookies to API, data formats

B) Solutions / Implications:6. Data implementation: actual usage/ synchronization & integrationA) Problems / Causes:

  • lack of industry API Protocols
  • no full access of each DSP/SSP to every programmatic network inventory (private deals, working with selected DSPs, programmatic network cartels)
  • hard comparing of industry providers for basic needs: DSP to DSP, SSP to SSP, DMP to DMP
  • (inventory access, traffic quality score, pricing & business models comparison, b2b cross-selling integrations)
  • hard comparing and margin tracking for: publisher earnings & advertiser expenses within different providers (how much publisher X.com earns from selling inventory to SSP X, compared to DSP Y, or ad network Z and how much a brand pays to receive traffic from X.com through two different DSPs, compared to ad network Z, compared to direct deal, compared to agency)

B) Solutions / Implications:7. Machine Learning & Performance into MadTech:A) Problems / Causes:

  • Facebook is the ultimate political PR marketplace. No need to get into details of all the creativity put by those guys to win another mandate.
  • social media influence: 71 % of internet users, which is as good as risky
  • fake news to earn traffic > leads > clients from all industries but few are very active: finance/ forex/ crypto/ biz opp/ beauty/ nutra/ gambling/ adult; even fake news are being used to drive traffic from social media to yellow press websites with Adsense monetization
  • South Park explains it spot-on as always: It’s Not a News Story!? — Youtube

B) Solutions / Implications:8. Post cookies advertising:A) Problems / Causes:B) Solutions / Implications:9. Proximity (GEO/Location based) Advertising:A) Problems / Causes:

  • lack of global data pools: by industry/ category/ tags; audiences: geo/ age/ sex/ finance/ interests
  • lack of profiling of each user from multiple DMPs, Publishers, APPs etc.
  • lack of data synchronization providers
  • lack of data machine learning platforms with customizable data usage and cases updated & synchronized on a daily basis

B) Solutions / Implications:

  • data pre-sorting according to algorithms needs
  • AdTech + ad marketing + machine learning + Blockchain intersection experts
  • machine learning for everyday business, ads, marketing implementation
  • constant machine learning improvement solutions
  • ML/ performance feedback synchronization among multiple platforms
  • per industry/ vertical ML systematic approach
  • lack of machine learning communities per industry
  • slow industry adoption
  • lack of offline to online data usage case studies
  • lack of B2B integration?
  • offline to online UX interaction?
  • Beacon / Proximity ad networks
  • online to offline events campaigns: Black Friday, Christmas, New Year, Halloween etc.

A) Problems / Causes:

So many innovations come with years of delay… (or so we think, no one scheduled them after all, right? ) Suddenly the Blockchain technology emerges and uncompromisingly sheds light over all those flaws festering for years…

B) Solutions / Implications:

Here is an overview of AdTech/Advertising #Blockchain Trends, Projects, initiatives & worthy DAO’s/ICO’s in 2017:

  • lack of transparency: both of pricing & traffic sources
  • traffic quality/ performance
  • dozens of middlemen and resellers on the chain (not a block based one)
  • lack of industry software protocols and traffic quality standards
  • lack of educated clients
  • lack of trust and effectiveness into current display advertising ROI/Performance
  • lack of global protocols and standards for synchronization
  • iAB ADS.TXT initiative helps with lack of transparency into traffic sources
  • machine zone “Satori” platform brings performance to next level
  • most AdTech DAOs & ICOs are set onto eliminating middlemen. Finally.
  • DAC (Decentralized Advertising Community) utopia is the only viable way to bring industry standards
  • brands should adopt the performance approach from online/ affiliate marketers and that would only work with the right tools (here Google is working systematically to educate agencies and at the same time the brands, taking slowly its well worthed market share as Gabriel Leydon freak out a room full of media people)
  • seems banner ads have evolved after all in the last few years — we have native ads, responsive ads, custom audience ads, crm ads, marketing automation ads, advertorials, html5 ads, real time delivery ads, dashboard retention ads, category & contextual vertical ads, b2b brand awareness, ecommerce shopping feeds ads, industry/local marketplaces ads, real time leads ads etc, real time big data ads, machine learning ads, influencers pay per post ads, q&a sponsored answers ads, email lists re/m/targeting ads, acquisition & reactivation ads, data ads, b2b leads ads, 360 ads, video ads, ar/vr ads, hologram ads, just to name a few

C) AdTech DAOs & ICOs:

https://www.iab.com/news/blockchain-for-advertising/ iAB seems excited on the Blockchain into advertising

DAC (Decentralized Advertising Community) Utopia: A) Problems / Causes:

  • Papyrus.Global — those guys seem to know their game! Theirs is the most detailed and solution-rich white paper I have come across in the Blockchain trend. They focus on building a decentralized advertising ecosystem, helping all AdTech entrepreneurs to build their future advertising apps on the Blockchain. They offer 50k transactions per second, compared to Blockchain’s 7/s. Their focus on a single industry could make them a leader. They have attracted some of the finest advisors and have an experienced team, so I am expecting them to scale big over the next few years
  • AdToken/AdCoin (dang, I bought AdToken.io and then I saw their patent filed — AdToken are a well established team in LA, actively networking among iAB and they seem to what they are doing. We are to see their tech-wise solutions in the middle of 2018
  • KochavaXCHNGWhite Paper: an interesting solution from an interesting company indeed. Kochava is a well-known player and would most probably deliver the tech they claim. The only question here is: which framework would become the leader in AdTech & Blockchain integration? Are we going to see the same level of fragmentation like we saw in Programmatic?
  • ADEX — a decentralized advertising exchange. The team consists of startup veterans who seem to have strong support within Bitcoin community, as well. Theare good at adopting innovations ETH > NEO > Partnerships. We are to see their beta in the beginning of 2018
  • Hashgraph — White Paper — 250k/s transpactions. A great team supported by Hive, which seems to know how to deliver great technologies on the market. Not an AdTech ICO, but their technology could be very handful in the future of the Ad-Tech-Chain scene.
  • https://lucidity.tech — The blockchain advertising protocol for complete data transparency

B) Solutions / Implications:

Starting as a Transparency Advertising Marketplace in 2015, we have evolved to a Decentralized Advertising Marketplace in 2017. Since our beginning, our vision has been to bring transparency into AdTech, in all its facets, from pricing (fixed), through traffic sources (tagged, currently block-IDs lifetime), to direct communication and ROI/ performance tracking & feedback between all participants in the advertising ecosystem, as well as bringing full public data about each participant, in a free public profile format. As Adeo Ressi instructed me this summer, Brandvertisor should follow the Hammer business model, helping brands & publisher organizations with “rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization’s mission”.

  • people are short-term thinking animals after all. Most people are reluctant to adapt and seek to survive on minimum change.
  • market segmentation
  • unknown margin
  • lack of ROI tracking
  • sweeping monopolisation in seemingly fragmented segments
  • lack of global marketing & advertising standards. Per country specifications should not interfere with the global scale of a company.
  • divided market players. Lack of strong AdTech industry community
  • blockchain lifetime tagging & synchronization of each ad industry participant: Pub#1 is Pub#1 in every ad network, exchange, marketplace etc.
  • feedback from network “A” for Pub#1 forwards to marketplace “Z”, ROI campaign feedback for PPC expert “J1” is transferred between 3 freelancers and 4 agencies platforms in real time. Market players may unite only if they start with the same rules for everyone on the playground. This can happen with:
  • AdTech industry global protocols and standards/ open source, API synchronization, ad formats
  • public voting & contributing frameworks based on #Blockchain (Google is doing great with this, having 50 million local guides adding content on daily basis)
  • B2B integration frameworks: cross-matching, cross-synchronization, cross-selling
  • decentralized partnerships: case studies: B2B cross-matching services/ solutions API exchanged/ usage/ reselling based on rankings/ ROI/ performance + data synchronization
  • real time API (ad formats, publisher relevancy, etc) + data (DMP) + functions (SaaS solutions APIs) >> synchronizing and delivering the right content to the right publisher, for the right use,r at the right time
  • vision: decentralized API + SaaS features + white labeling integrations >> bringing real time value based on advertiser needs with zero limitation crossmatching technologies >> bringing real time value to publishers, bringing content feedback, UI/UX, content building directions, best monetization within publisher, long-term business vision, machine learning, creativity ad, formats, etc
  • public (fixed $/%) transactions with lifetime feedback
  • easy shared ROI/ performance of each player of the advertising industry among multiple platforms: agency rates, PPC expert skills, B2B software functions, sales infrastructure, publisher ROI, brand budgets, network monetization, etc
  • all parties + all solutions/ features, functions through API + all data > real time value bidding exchange < marketplace < real time white label solutions exchanger

My DAC Utopia is:21 Century AdTech/advertising community for everyone who wants to contribute, vote, build, optimize & support other industry players and grow his business on the principles of cooperation/co-sharing economy/ and transparency. Everyone who builds quality and follows the community standards can instantly access billions of clients through real time b2b cross-partnership framework based on the #Blockchain infrastructures.

Automation & programmatic would have been all great, if they were really done as the AdTech companies claimed — excluding middlemen strategy account managers or ad agencies & publisher agents striking deals for pre-sold inventory or ad networks mixing high quality with low quality traffi and even bot traffic, etc. #Blockchain currently looks like the only infrastructure possible to enable a system level approach. No one would be able to disturb or bypass the whole process, as it would be tracked, compared, given public feedback and checked to industry standards and API protocols. Behind the scene phone calls would not be able to sell traffic inventory for a private deal, as that would become visible on the chain transaction. People would be able to ask questions, provide feedback and react in real time, within multiple platforms. Blockchain would make your payments & b2b transactions transparent. The block-ID would be for lifetime and transaction would not be possible to delete. Those looking to make long-term business would better stick to the rules or the market would punish them with their coin ledgers :):