Arm Candy’s Quentin Smith Evaluates Blockchain Viability in Advertising
A year and some change ago, crypto companies spent $39 million dollars to have A-Listers like Matt Damon and Larry David promote their products during the big game. A year and some change has passed and crypto has seen better days. Those who touted it as a sure investment have grown suspiciously quiet, and its skeptics bask in the warm glow of schadenfreude. Meta Industries is now pivoting away from blockchain technology as being a part of their grand vision for “Web 3” and replacing it with user-facing advanced AI technology. Despite diminishing returns and attention now turned to the capabilities of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the blockchain isn’t going anywhere and could be a part of your company’s next advertising campaign.
Early Forays into Blockchain Advertising
Arm Candy has incorporated blockchain channels in campaigns before. However, I feel it important to establish an age-old rule regarding any new innovation in its infancy: “Do not focus on what can be, focus on what is.” I understand the fervent vigor expressed by blockchain and Web3 enthusiasts as much as I understand the jaded pessimism from its critics. The truth is, crypto and blockchain tech have a long way to go if it’s ever going to become a standard in advertising.
One of the toughest challenges regarding blockchain based campaigns is tracking blockchain transactions post wallet connect. This was evident in our campaign for Fan Controlled Football. We could measure and directly attribute wallet connects (New KPI: CPWC) to Arm Candy’s campaign, but what happened beyond that initial connect was beyond our tracking capabilities. Most agencies and clients might be satisfied with slapping a CPWC or a more comprehensible CPO measuring NFT sales and crypto exchanges on their wrap report and calling it a day. However, doing this overlooks the very nature of blockchain assets and what separates them from other products.
A Measurement Blackbox
Products and the conversion actions associated with them generally share the same journey. A customer clicks on an ad and orders a product off of a website. The product arrives at their doorstep or in their inbox. That’s a wildly gross overgeneralization, but you get the idea. Blockchain assets have a completely different journey. The journey of a blockchain product doesn’t end when it’s in the consumer’s hand. It’s meant to be traded and exchanged with others. That opens up us, as the agency, and you, the client, to a lot of questions.
How long are people holding our coin or NFT before exchanging it?
What’s the final sales price?
How many store their product on a hot wallet (think exchanges like OpenSea or *gulp* FTX) or a cold wallet (think a USB stick or a hard drive)?
Questions like this might seem persnickety, but they are pretty important when it comes to measuring the success of a blockchain campaign. You would think this sort of thing would be easy given the public nature of the blockchain, but alas it just adds another layer of complexity.
A lot of big companies (like IHOP) unveiled their own tokens, which were really just rewards programs that borrowed the language of crypto but had no blockchain technology backing it. Although blockchain technology has been used successfully in digital advertising, the fact that it hasn’t been used at scale shows that companies have some reservations before taking the leap.