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Ad Tech Finally Gets Real-World Uses For Blockchain Through Lucidity, MadHive Deals
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Ad Tech Finally Gets Real-World Uses For Blockchain Through Lucidity, MadHive Deals

After years of hype and promise, the ever-so-complicated business of advertising technology has finally found some real-world applications for blockchain technologies that can ensure that buyers get the audiences they want and are paying for in automated, highly targeted programmatic campaigns.

First came word this week from Toyota and big ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi that a trial project with Lucidity resulted in 21-percent better performance for a live, programmatic ad campaign that used a blockchain-based technology system to track and weed out suspect sites and bot fraud.

“Before today, there was no way to verify with confidence what’s happening behind the scenes in a programmatic buy,” said Nancy Inouye, Toyota’s national marketing communications manager. “We’ve had our eyes on blockchain innovation for a long time, but didn’t have a workable blockchain solution to implement until now.”

Separately, big ad-tech company Beachfront, which serves more than 1 billion impressions a month for thousands of digital video publishers, said it is integrating cryptographic and blockchain-based technology from MadHive into its ad platforms, to provide better targeting during campaigns, as well as post-campaign verification for video ads on connected TVs, the web and mobile devices.

“We looked at the entire (ad-tech) ecosystem,” said Frank Sinton, Beachfront’s president and founder. “We found that everyone is in perfect concept mode today. We wanted to see what could we deliver in real time at actual enterprise scale.”

MadHive’s encrypted data-management platform will be used to provide additional market segments for advertisers to target their campaigns, then track and aid in reporting on where those campaigns were seen, and by whom.

“Beachfront is a great supply-side partner because they’re plugged into the burgeoning ad-supported, connected-TV marketplace, and we’re able to come in and deliver first-of-its-kind solutions to publishers and advertisers without adding complexity,” said MadHive CEO Adam Helfgott in a statement. “We seemed to have turned a corner, and it’s exciting to see the market adopting blockchain- and cryptography-powered solutions in practical ways to address the real challenges in digital advertising.”

New York-based MadHive’s approach also creates a highly detailed, immutable and permanent third-party record of each campaign, allowing publishers to better prove they delivered what ads to which audiences, and for advertisers to better target and fine-tune campaigns.

“It’s a huge win for both the publishers and for advertisers,” Sinton said. “(Publishers) can get higher CPMs. For the advertisers, where blockchain comes in is with making it immutable and reportable. Right now there’s not a lot of
people that can do that.”
Sinton said the real value at this point in blockchain’s development is providing more transparency and accuracy in reporting, to reduce any inaccuracies or mistargeting that can undermine campaigns and increase advertiser uncertainty. Programmatic holds great promise but its speed and algorithmic black boxes have undermined transparency, an issue further complicated by bot fraud and other problems. Sinton called the MadHive integration “a stepping stone” that provides meaningful improvements while working within blockchain’s current limits.
“Ideally, it does save money, but the bigger thing is transparency on the audience and audience data,” Sinton said. “(MadHive are) actually delivering on the technology. They actually have technology that works. I take a very pragmatic approach, and go with the company that has the relationships and has the technology to deliver results.”

Elsewhere, Sony said it has found a “more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works” that uses a blockchain-based rights-management system for digital content such as its films, music and even e-books. The latest technology is built on a previously announced Sony system for tracking ownership of and access to educational data, though the company provided few details on its latest offering.

There’s a big race in various corners of the entertainment business to create systems that track intellectual property, authenticate that audiences have the right to view the resulting digital content, and then to ensure payments are accurately distributed to rights holders.

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