What B2B Content Marketers Should Know About Blockchain

By Laurie Fullerton / 30 March 2018

Blockchain has the potential to disrupt B2B content marketing. Learn the 4 ways marketers can integrate blockchain in their content marketing, from engaging customers to attracting influencers.

Blockchain for B2B content marketing is in its beginning stage, particularly because the industry is still developing. However, blockchain technology is evolving quickly, and it may become one of the biggest disruptors to B2B content marketing.

Blockchain's transaction model can be used to track and connect influencers, writers, content creators, and advertisers to brands that sell, share, analyze, develop, and distribute content. These capabilities are particularly promising for B2B content marketing

Because blockchain is decentralized - there is no middleman that can alter it - it is an inherently more trustworthy way to track transactions, including content.

This article explains blockchain, and explores 4 ways B2B marketers can integrate blockchain into their marketing initiatives:

  • Engage consumers
  • Attract influencers
  • Reward content creators
  • Improve targeted marketing

What Is Blockchain?

Originally developed in 1991, blockchain's original purpose was to provide a record of ownership of digital assets.

Blockchain's name is derived from two parts – block and chain:

  • When a transaction or asset is first created, it forms a "block."
  • The block is then added to the "chain" and recorded in a ledger that is distributed across connecting locations.

Ultimately, the block lives in the chain and is unalterable and cannot be deleted.

In 2009, with the advent of Bitcoin, blockchain technology became a transparent and secure way of financial exchange.

Can a Blockchain-Based System Work With B2B Content Marketing?

While the blockchain industry is still developing, the ability to share secure information through the blockchain means that startup companies, app developers, and brands are adopting adChain technology as the next step in their marketing efforts.

Developed by blockchain and development company MetaX, adChain is an open protocol built on Ethereum, a decentralized platform where blockchain-based applications are created.

AdChain aims to provide:

  • An open and comprehensive record of digital ad transactions
  • A repository of trusted identities
  • A mechanism for agreements that implements their terms (i.e., "smart contracts")

AdChain integrates with various ad tech providers, such as demand-side platforms (DSPs) that allow buyers of digital advertising to manage data exchanges through a single interface. These integrations make it easy to verify specific bid requests and track events for publishers.

How Is the Marketing Industry Using Blockchain Technology? 

Blockchain technology is a new avenue for B2B brands looking for a better return on investment (ROI). It allows brands to:

  • Engage consumers directly without a publishing platform such as Facebook, Google or Amazon
  • Connect with influencers
  • Incentive content creators to submit work to reputable companies
  • Reimagine targeted marketing

1. Engage Consumers Directly

Blockchain technology allows brands to track who consumes their content.

For example, look to companies like MetaX and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA). Both companies recently launched adChain, an open protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that links a creative piece from an agency to a publisher and follows it on the Internet.

Graph of how adChain works

Tracking the creative in this way allows the publisher to:

  • Make sure someone sees it
  • Identify who saw it 
  • Determine what actions the viewer took afterward

Additionally, according to a recent article in Digiday, The New York Interactive Advertising Exchange, in partnership with Nasdaq, began using blockchain technology through smart contracts

Screenshot of NYIAX

Smart contracts facilitate exchanges by allowing certain contracts to execute automatically, as long as conditions are met.

For example, Comcast's advanced advertising group lets brands make ad buys on both broadcast and over-the-top (OTT) TV using blockchain technology.

Comcast's group estimates that this year, marketers, publishers, and programmers will be able to use data from a content producer like Hulu to understand how to target its ad buys without receiving the actual data itself.

Over time, all media will be digital, all digital will be addressable, and addressable media will be bought and sold programmatically.

Brian Lesser, CEO at Group M, predicted in a recent article in Media Village that "over time, all media will be digital, all digital will be addressable, and addressable media will be bought and sold programmatically."

2. Attract Influencers for Influencer Marketing

Another fairly new development is the ongoing work by the team behind Socialmedia.market, a blockchain-based influencer marketing platform that aims to reduce the costs of influencer marketing.

Screenshot of Socialmedia.market

Because brands that use influencers to promote their message must manage so many different partnerships, it can be time consuming and expensive.

To that end, Socialmedia.market announced it is developing tokens called "Social Media Tokens (SMT)." Users can use SMTs as an economy of exchange between influencers, advertisers, marketing agencies, and agents.

Socialmedia.market will enable influencers to quickly find and connect with brands to monetize their content.

Brands are able to connect with and pay influencers using SMTs and have a hub to manage them.

Meanwhile companies like Mavin offer brands a campaign that matches influencers with their brand requirements.

Influencers are shown available campaigns and can choose to participate.

The incentive is that they earn points for using hashtags, taking part in competitions, and mentioning brands. These points can then be turned into Maven tokens, which in turn can be exchanged for other crypto currencies or sold for fiat currencies.

3. Incentivize and Reward Content Creators 

B2B content marketers can use blockchain to monetize content by whitelisting.

Whitelisting is a way for users to decide if a publisher is reputable through a cryptocurrency called "adToken," developed by the DMA and ConsenSys.

For example, blockchain technology firm Decent recently launched Public, a "rewarding" process that lets writers and creators distribute content on the blockchain and get paid immediately.

Screenshot "Introducing adToken"

Further, applications like CryptPad began to integrate blockchain technology into writing and editing programs.

Caleb James DeLisle, a developer on the CryptPad project, describes the process of collecting information as wanting "to know everything about people, we want to know how people use CryptPad, why people use CryptPad, and how we can make their experience easier. However, we don't want to know anything at all about you."

Though anonymity and encryption might not be the top issue facing marketers today, the potential for blockchain to change the way we collaborate on written marketing projects is huge. 

Graph "Priority Level for Understanding How Blockchain Could Improve Transparency and Reduce Fraud According to Advertisers Worldwide"

4. Reimagine Target Marketing

One area where blockchain technology might cause the most disruption is in targeted marketing.

Currently, targeted advertising is highly sought after by brands, but slowly, brands have recognized that targeted marketing is not meeting buyer's expectations. 

"Digital was made out to be the ultimate targeting system and measuring platform, but it has not lived up to that. People soon found it is based more on devices, cookies and impressions than actual reach," according to Barney Farmer, Nielsen's marketing effectiveness director for the UK and Ireland, in Marketing Week.

Currently, blockchain platform BitClave aims to enhance targeted advertising efficiency with more consumer participation.

BitClave provides consumers with an option to use a decentralized search engine and reveal their browsing habits to businesses, which can then serve them targeted ads.

Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, reported in Forbes Magazine that, "In the past, advertisers gained information about customers from various disparate sources." However, "Using blockchain, advertisers will now have the ability to build a customer profile directly from the customer - gaining all the information the customer is willing to share in one swoop." 

If consumers choose to interact with ads served via the BitClave platform, they are rewarded with a "Consumer Activity Token," which can be traded for other crypto-currencies or fiat currency. 

Blockchain Has Potential For B2B Marketing

According to a report in eMarketer the most successful content should be integrated across all B2B marketing, advertising, and sales initiatives.

B2B marketers shouldn't think of content as a separate entity to bring an audience to. Rather, it should be woven through all channels and used by all customer-facing teams, not just marketing.

Measurement and attribution are still major challenges for B2Bs as they connect their content marketing programs to revenue, eMarketer notes.

While some brands are building the technology needed to track buyers across content touch points, those that don't will not be able to prove ROI.

Although much of blockchain in marketing is in its theoretical phase and not yet widely adopted by marketers, blockchain has proved itself robust and adaptable to dozens of high-impact use cases.

Companies now need to develop compelling applications so blockchain can make a real impact. 

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