In 2017, I went a bit blockchain crazy. Between the absurd amount of cash being raised via initial coin offerings (ICOs) and all of the incredible innovation showing up, I witnessed the powerfully disruptive force of blockchain. It felt a little bit like the late 90’s as more and more companies discovered the power of the Internet and the rise of digital marketing.
This year, with at least some of the hype simmering down a bit, we have an opportunity to separate the hype of blockchain with the practical applications. One article that caught my eye was Social Media Marketing in the Blockchain Era, written by Alon Braun, Decision-Making Scientist. I had an opportunity to speak with him about blockchain’s impact on Facebook’s advertising dominance, and he had some great insights that should be quite encouraging to social media marketers.
GDPR’s Impact on Selling Your Data Profitability
“Today, Facebook is totally free because the platform profits by selling hyper-targeted advertising using your data,” says Braun. “Even if you’re willing to overlook the Cambridge Analytica data breech, or even the most recent NameTests data breech, Europe’s implementation of GDPR is quickly changing the data privacy landscape globally.”
As more consumers attempt to (legally) take back control of their data, the hyper-targeted advertising business model comes under attack. Meanwhile, Braun argues, blockchain technology offers a much safer alternative because each content contributor controls his or her own data. While Facebook stores billions of customer records in a more conventional database structure (read: an enticing honey pot for hackers), a blockchain-based social media platform would disaggregate and encrypt each of these records rendering an attack essentially pointless.
The Rise of Micropayments & Performance-Based Content
Ask any content contributor what their biggest pain point is and they’ll tell you it’s getting paid for your content. As a former Inc contributor with 342 articles to my name, I can tell you this first hand that very few online platforms pay for content anymore. What’s worse, Facebook and YouTube profit from all of this content via their advertising model.
“With blockchain and cryptocurrency, instead of just liking, commenting and sharing a post, you can actually make a micropayment,” says Braun. Imagine instead of getting 2,000 likes, you actually received ten cents for each like (or $200) for your effort. This would give rise to performance-based content and wrestle control away from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
The Impact of a More Global Community
Perhaps the most important coming disruptor is the growth of the international community as the next two billion people will come from China and India. “Today, Facebook is still dominated by an English-speaking audience,” says Braun. “What happens when the majority prefer to communicate in Mandarin or Hindi?” With more global content being created and shared, Facebook’s algorithms will also have to evolve in order to remain relevant.
With blockchain as the underpinning technology for a social media platform, the trifecta of enhanced privacy protection, introduction of effective micropayments with content in your native tongue, Facebook’s advertising dominance is ripe for disruption. Just as the content and platforms evolve, so will pay-for-performance advertising campaigns that drive incremental business. While I’m in no way counting Facebook out, I will say that their current advertising dominance is likely to wane thanks in part to blockchain technology.