Could Blockchain Technology Combat Ad Fraud?

Babs Rangaiah (Executive Partner, IBM iX; BRITE '18 speaker) is leading IBM’s efforts with Unilever to create a blockchain for media buying. The implications across the digital advertising supply chain could be monumental.

Print this page

It was a big moment for Babs Rangaiah, acclaimed marketer and currently Executive Partner at IBM’s in-house agency, Interactive Experience (iX). Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever took the stage at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM). During his speech, he announced the partnership between Unilever and IBM to create a blockchain for media buying. On IBM’s side, Rangaiah is leading the way.

Ad fraud is a major issue. CNBC reported that ad fraud would cost companies $16.4 billion globally in 2017, roughly 20% of total ad spend. During IAB’s ALM, Keith Weed urged digital platforms including Facebook and Google to clean up their act or else Unilever would pull its spending, reports MediaPost. Ad Age also reports that during the conference, Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of Procter & Gamble (P&G) declared, “The days of giving digital a pass are over.” This announcement follows P&G’s decision in 2017 to cut digital ad spending by more than $100 million in Q4 due to fraudulent traffic from “bots” and objectionable online content, as reported by AdWeek.

Companies have had many issues with the lack of transparency in ad spend and the multiple players that are involved in the digital advertising supply chain. As Rangaiah notes in an interview with AdExchanger, “In today’s world, you have client, agency, trade desk, and six or seven ad tech players. The publisher gets 37 cents on the dollar, but no one really knows what’s working because there are less transparency and less working dollars.”

Rangaiah, who is leading IBM’s efforts to launch the media buying blockchain, states in an interview with Beet.TV that the focus of the blockchain at the onset will be to reconcile media buying data across the supply chain. One key outcome of the reconciliation will be a universal view of the audience delivery of ads. Rangaiah plans to then integrate payments for media buys, real-time bidding, and encrypted consumer data into the media buying blockchain.

See Rangaiah speak at Columbia Business School’s BRITE ’18 conference (March 5-6 in New York City) to learn about his perspective on the next frontier of digital marketing.

articles by Topic