In this age of IoT, there is no better way to reach consumers than through online marketing. They tend to be more responsive when approached through referral links rather than through pop-up advertisements and banners.
In physical marketing, referrals come from friends and trustworthy complimentary businesses while in online marketing they are likely to come from content providers.
For the maximum amount of conversions, these content providers must be experts in their fields and provide comprehensive, unbiased reviews. Content publishers earn a commission every time a customer follows a link from their content to purchase a product.
While this type of marketing has been around since the early days of the internet and has made its fare share of millionaires and billionaires, it is not without major flaws. More often than not, content publishers do all the heavy lifting for businesses only to be rewarded poorly.
Merchants, on the other hand incur huge costs on affiliate networks and oftentimes do not get a return on their investments. This is because the affiliate network model has a lot of loopholes that are usually exploited by scammers.
Affiliate network acts as an intermediary between the merchant and the publisher by connecting the two, tracking link clicks as well as conversions and facilitating payments. Just like other centralized bodies, these intermediaries are mostly inefficient and lack transparency.
Now, with blockchain technology, affiliate networks will no longer be needed. The merchant and the content publishers will be able to interact directly and track link clicks and conversions accurately in real time. Payments will be facilitated through smart contracts so that no one party will have an advantage over the other.
A blockchain project known as Attrace is working on a solution that links a smart contract to every individual click or referral irrespective of whether there is a conversion. The aim of the project is to bridge the gap between merchants and publishers by enabling them to track link clicks and conversions transparently without the need for third party services.
By eliminating the intermediaries, this project will not only improve efficiency but will lower affiliate services costs dramatically. With the affiliate networks, merchants are required to pay 10 to 25 percent commission while the Attrace project only takes 0.5%.
Blockchain is not only providing solutions for affiliate marketing but also for referral based marketing as well. An ethereum-based blockchain project known as 2key is working on a solution that will enable tracking referral links through an entire chain using smart contracts for all those which generate impressions.
For instance, let’s say a merchant rolls out a marketing campaign on the 2key platform with a goal of getting 1 million impressions. The first thing they will be required to do is define their budget after which the platform will allow interested individuals to share the merchant’s content with their friends. If the friends are happy with the shared content, they will also share with their friends and so forth, creating a sharing chain.
People will be encouraged to share to only those who are interested by being rewarded with points when they generate an impression and fined with reduced points when they fail to generate one. These points will receive their value from the budget set by the merchant.
Unlike the traditional centralized models like Facebook, the 2Key users will have a guarantee of getting the best value for their money because payment will be made only once a conversion occurs. The sharing chain will run until the set target is achieved.
Another project known as GagaPay Network is building an all-in-one platform that will allow brands to connect with content publishers and build and track marketing campaigns. Just like Attrace and 2key, the goal of this project is to bridge the gap between content publishers and brands by enabling transparent interaction and the tracking of affiliate or referral links through smart contracts.
The only difference between the GagaPay Network and the other blockchain-based marketing platforms is that it combines affiliate, referral, network marketing, and loyalty and bounty programs, all in one place. Simply put, with a GagaPay Network account, merchants can implement these marketing techniques without relying on intermediaries. The project applies smart contracts to track links and releases payments when conversions happen.
Apart from centralizing the referral and affiliate marketing techniques, there are many other ways the blockchain is impacting online marketing. For instance, the technology is making it possible for internet users to choose what type of advertisements they want to see.
This means that online marketers must determine ways to remain highly relevant, provide valuable content and accurately target their ads. Blockchain-powered referral and affiliate marketing enable merchants to save money on costs while improving the experience of consumers and users as well.