By Ester Brierley
In 1997, when digital marketing was born, nobody would expect that social media will change it forever and become one of its most important parts. In 2003, companies started exploring the capabilities of social networks, and today, social media marketing is a global industry worth millions of dollars. In 2008, a new thing has gone viral — it was blockchain. Ten years later, everyone still talks about blockchain and its benefits.
Experts from various industries call blockchain a disruptive technology and constantly discover new ways of its application. According to the latest estimations, it’s going to change more than 20 largest industries. Is social media going to change? Companies like Facebook got used to their special status, introducing new trends in social marketing and moving global markets. On the other hand, Facebook has proven to be completely unreliable in terms of safety. It’s enough to mention the Cambridge Analytica scandal when personal data of 87 million users was revealed and used to show biased and misleading advertisements. Today, many people see blockchain as a possible solution and an opportunity to create safe alternatives to the existing social media.
What Blockchain Is?
Let’s figure out what blockchain is, and why it’s so popular. This technology appeared as a basis for Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Today, blockchain is used for any cryptocurrency, and various companies develop their own versions of this open-source technology. Thousands of cryptocurrencies rely on blockchain because it can verify digital transactions and protect data.
The main feature of this technology is a digital ledger. It gets updated every time users make transactions. Even though it may seem similar to the way banks keep their records, the truth is that blockchain is completely different. The digital ledger is distributed among thousands of computers. As it gets updated, it is sent to many devices in the network, and it cannot be changed by anyone due to a complicated system of encryption. The main difference from the traditional record-keeping systems is that there’s no need for a central institution that would verify the transactions. The technology itself makes it impossible to falsify the information that is stored in a blockchain. There will always be many copies of any record so the data can always be checked.
Why Should Marketers Be Aware of Blockchain and Its Impact on Social Media?
First, blockchain allows us to store data of virtually any kind, including user personal data. Personal data is the most valuable asset in digital marketing, as marketers use it to understand what consumers need and how to provide them with products. Before the blockchain technology was invented, companies needed to use Facebook as a bank of personal data. The main advantage of this technology is that now companies get an opportunity to reach out to their potential customers directly, with no need to involve middlemen.
The disruptive potential of blockchain is determined by the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies. As more people use cryptocurrencies to buy products and services online, their personal data is protected by blockchain. The chances are that in the future, companies won’t be able to purchase the necessary data from Google or Facebook. They will need to get this data from users directly, using the system of smart сontracts. In return, users will receive compensation from companies. Another advantage of this approach is that users can choose what data they want to share and what companies they are interested in, which also allows companies to communicate with a perfectly targeted audience.
How Blockchain Will Impact Social Media
- Blockchain introduces new standards of transparency
The issue of data validation is one of the most difficult challenges for digital marketers. They need to use various third-party tools to make sure their data is accurate, while blockchain is able to verify its data automatically. According to research, companies lose up to $16.4 billion because of the fraudulent traffic. Bots and people who get paid for clicking ads are able to change the statistics now, however, they won’t be able to impact the data stored in a blockchain.
- Better targeting with consumer profiles received directly from customers
Digital marketers get an opportunity to build consumer profiles, getting all the necessary data in one place. As we have already mentioned above, marketers can receive more accurate data. Companies can get data from consumers who are really interested in a certain product, rewarding them for their engagement and having the most reliable consumer profiles possible.
- The authenticity of the content
Fake news is one of the biggest problems of modern social media, especially after the latest presidential election in the U.S., when platforms like Twitter and Facebook were used to manipulate voters’ viewpoints. The reputation of these websites was damaged so they were forced to search for solutions, collaborating with independent fact checkers. Blockchain will allow users to rank content and to receive rewards for it. In addition, blockchain allows everyone to track some post and to determine its origin, as blockchain keeps the whole history of records. Thanks to this technology, user-generated content can be easily checked for authenticity.
Social media face new challenges every day, and giants like Facebook are in danger due to their inability to protect the personal data of their users. Blockchain is not only able to protect personal data but it also allows companies to get closer to their consumers, improving their targeting and building more accurate consumer profiles. Even though most applications of blockchain for social media remain hypothetical, marketers need to keep in mind these opportunities to not lag behind when the industry as we know it changes forever.
Ester Brierley is a QA Engineer in software outsourcing company, a seasoned content creator and virtual assistant for College Writers. Adores researching cutting-edge digital trends and sharing them in her writing pieces. Follow her on Twitter.