Blockchain Fights Ad Fraud

From supermarkets to the boardroom, the demand for transparency is becoming a dominant theme across industries. Advertising is no different.

Blockchain may provide the answer. The latest Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising labeled it an “Innovation Trigger.” It makes the new technology at least investment worthy.

Blockchain addresses two key pain points that plague the advertising supply chain: transparency and decentralization. It offers an alternative way to tackle payment delays, fraud and competition barriers.

Seeing the Truth

Gauthier Bros, chief executive officer at SaTT and Atayen Inc, highlighted blockchain's advantages at the DLT101 in Taipei. He explained that the technology can solve the biggest advertising concern -- transparency.

Atayen Inc is the U.S. developer behind Iframes Apps, the app suite for business pages on Facebook. Leading brands such as Nike, Apple, Tesla, McDonald's, Netflix and Amazon are among its 4 million users. 

“We saw that there were many problems with the centralized system in advertising that could be solved with a decentralized and distributed database that could guarantee the integrity of data and transactions,” said Bros.

Advertisers and publishers use smart advertising transaction tokens (SaTT) to transact on the company's namesake decentralized app (dApp). Smart contracts govern all transactions on the SaTT dApp.

Better Data Insights

According to Bros, the setup allows for fast, transparent, secure and cost-efficient transactions. For digital advertisers, their biggest advantage is new insights. The data can help you to measure a campaign's effectiveness.

SaTT essentially addresses a common advertiser complaint: not enough information at their disposal. They are often left to take the word of ad brokers who remain unmotivated to remove the opacity in determining the precise impact of an ad.

More transparent metrics linked directly to the ads themselves would help generate stronger and more reliable numbers in terms of clicks and impressions. It can also help to decrease susceptibility to data manipulation.

So, SaTT uses Ethereum Oracles. An Oracle is a service that allows you to take data from the internet and feed it into a dApp. SaTT can then get data from third-party APIs of platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc, allowing advertisers to more accurately evaluate the performance of the advertising campaign paid for.

Oracles are not built into smart contracts. You have to use an external provider or build one yourself. Presently, the SaTT team has developed a Youtube Oracle that is already deployed successfully in several advertising campaigns.

Transparent Payments

Blockchains can help to address the high costs that undermine the industry's reputation. These are symptoms of advertising agencies using centralized business models with opaque pricing models.

The self-executing smart contract sets the conditions for campaign participation in campaigns upfront. It also guarantees the final payment.

Once all the terms of a contract are fulfilled, payments are immediate. They are also tamper-proof and not subject to transfer or currency conversion fees. It sets the foundation for an equitable distribution of monies by removing constraints imposed by centralized intermediaries.

Time Will Tell

Blockchain can make digital advertising more transparent, especially when it comes to media buying and selling. It also offers more data-driven insights and makes transactions traceable. These benefits can help advertisers to prepare for more effective campaigns.

It is still early days. Gartner advised that blockchain’s “significant problems of scalability, performance and adoption must be surmounted before blockchain can alter the status quo.”

Still, projects like SaTT show how blockchain can save the industry from its ailments.