Although the applications of blockchain technology are far more expansive, most people think of blockchain only as a foundation for cryptocurrencies. While this is one of the major uses of the technology, blockchain has found a number of other adoptions outside the financial world.
These days, everyone seems to be talking about blockchain for a multitude of reasons. It’s an impressive, practical system that recently expanded into the digital advertising space. However, the resulting backlash was strongly negative.
The issue with blockchain in advertising is fairly complex. Such technology projects not only follow a practice of advertising heavily across social media, but some of them are used as advertising tools themselves. At the center of these topics reside privacy and security, both of which are constantly in question in today’s online climate. As a result, marketing agencies have stayed away from advertising blockchain and crypto projects.
In 2018, social media giants including Twitter, Facebook and Google banned these types of advertisements on their platforms for the same reasons. But now over a year after the bans were implemented, tech companies are beginning to relax their stance.
How Did the Cryptocurrency Ban Affect the Blockchain Market?
As can reasonably be assumed, the influence that the crypto ban had on the blockchain market is nowhere near positive. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain go hand-in-hand, so this effect is no surprise.
The crypto ban did not only have a disastrous impact on the cryptocurrency market, but it shook the confidence of investors as well. This prevented crypto and blockchain startups from rallying the support from the public that is necessary for them to survive.
The cryptocurrency advertising ban has become a paradox where crypto and blockchain startups are unable to educate and protect their users because they lack support—but they also lack support because their users feel unprotected and uninformed. Additionally, projects related to crypto and blockchain technology have limited opportunity to grow and their failures support the theory that the ban was the right thing to do.
As of now, even though crypto and blockchain are getting a cold shoulder from the advertising world, promoting them cannot be completely thrown away if these markets are expected to grow.
Blockchain Ads on Google and Facebook
Once the full ban on blockchain ads was official, Google and Facebook stressed that the ban existed to protect the users. Even though that may at least be partially true, both networks ended up easing the ban a year later.
After a year of having an AdWords ban for advertising blockchain technology, Google eased the full ban with a whitelisting program. However, there still are whitelist applications that need to be approved for cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency project advertisements.
The aftermath of the crypto ban existing for a year has had predictable repercussions. Keywords related to blockchain technology, although no longer banned, are searched for relatively infrequently. Today, to be able to take advantage of blockchain advertising, advertisers will have to test the market again and see which keywords work and which do not. Google Trends shows that “blockchain” and “what is blockchain” are still the most searched terms in the field.
Facebook’s ban, on the other hand, was more restrictive than that of Google. The Facebook crypto ban was so strict that boosted posts that mention “hardware” were tagged as crypto postings, meaning that ads for everything that could conceivably be connected to crypto were at risk of being banned.
However, after a year of banning all ads regarding blockchain technology, Facebook is now reopening their platform for some blockchain ads related to the technology, blockchain industry news, events and education as of June 5, 2019. These ads will not need pre-approval to be published, which was the stipulation under the previous rules regarding these ads.
Facebook will continue to ban the advertisements of binaries and ICOs. As for cryptocurrency exchanges and coins, advertisers will need to seek approval for the advertisement by submitting a special form. The approval process and the results are uncertain, and no word has been given whether or not the applicant will receive an answer at all.
One upside is that Facebook’s algorithms do not fully understand the context of the advertisements and can easily be manipulated. Since human reviewers may not be trained in finance and tech, there is a workaround for the time being.
To advertisers: If your product is not a cryptocurrency, use that to your advantage and target users that are interested in blockchain technology. You can make this work by designing a funnel that uses the pain points of other industries and still targets interested parties. This can be done with or without the whitelisting application.
What You Need to Know About Blockchain Advertising
After everything we’ve said so far, you may be thinking that marketing a blockchain project is nearly impossible, at least when using some of the more common methods.
In reality, it’s not impossible but it does require some extra effort and knowledge. For your benefit, we’ve gathered all the important information you need to know about blockchain advertising, how to implement it and how to be successful at it.
Start with Proper Demographics
As always in advertising, your target audience is the most important part of the whole process. You can spend a lot of time and money advertising your project, but if you’re broadcasting to the wrong crowd, your efforts will be fruitless. Therefore, take some time to determine who your audience is in the blockchain space.
One of the best things about the crypto and blockchain audience is that they’re easy to find. The broad audience you should be looking for should be on the younger side, employed and, for the most part, male.
These are good starting points, but you will need to be more specific with your advertising. With this in mind, you should consider your blockchain project. Put yourself in the position of your ideal customer and try to define who that person is. Ask yourself some crucial questions about their interests, age and geographic location, and then use the answers to those questions to inform your advertising strategy.
It’s best to create at least three buyer personas that will guide you when creating your ads. These can be users or investors, depending on what stage the project is at.
Remaining as specific as possible will enable you to put your project in front of the right eyes that are going to see your project, understand it and want to be involved.
Embrace Affiliate Marketing
If you know a thing or two about affiliate marketing, then you already know how effective it can be. Not only is this marketing model good for you and your brand, but it’s also is a perfect outlet for the people interested in your project to earn money. Such a win-win situation makes it one of the best choices for blockchain advertising.
To use affiliate marketing to your advantage, get your users to bring other people to your platform and reward them for their efforts. To keep your users engaged, it may be a good idea to have the reward be related to your project. Before you start an affiliate program for your project, make sure you have an engaged community and a perfectly functioning product to avoid losing new customers if your product doesn’t work as advertised.
Don’t Forget Word-of-Mouth Marketing
A recommendation from a trusted person contains incredible power, so don’t overlook word-of-mouth marketing in forming your advertising strategy. You need to get people talking about your blockchain project, which is—admittedly—easier said than done.
To be able to cultivate your own engaged community, you need to create a practical plan on how to collaborate and connect with other people or businesses in the industry. The more influential sites and people you associate with, the greater chance you have of reaching a larger audience with your project. Think about which publications and leaders you want to collaborate with and reach out to establish a connection.
For instance, consider advertising or paying for sponsored posts on crypto news publications. This will give you the right exposure and attention you need in order for people interested in blockchain to get to know you and your project.
Advertise with Blockchain Tools
Just because you’re advertising a blockchain product doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider using blockchain advertising tools yourself. In fact, there are many projects that should be able to meet your advertising needs.
Among the most famous tools of such kind is BitClave, which is a decentralized search system that allows advertisers to show ads to users who are directly related to the search terms they’re using. An alternative is NYIAX, an advanced contract management platform that helps advertisers reduce their advertising costs. Both of these projects can be useful when advertising your blockchain project.
Other blockchain tools you should consider are AdEx, an Ethereum-based network that expands an advertisement’s reach for a low cost, and MadHive, which provides the ability to validate data and secure it from fraud.
Needless to say, the crypto and blockchain ad ban set back the industry from growth. By forbidding blockchain technology projects and businesses from advertising, members of the public are less able to learn about new developments in the blockchain space. Startups are unable to grow as they should and individuals interested in the field are given a reduced opportunity to educate themselves about the technology.
Although the crypto ad ban can be rationalized, there is still a need to spread the word about the existence of innovative crypto and blockchain projects. Advertising blockchain technology projects is necessary for the growth of adoption and understanding of blockchain technology.