Transparency – this one word has given rise to multiple concerns for brands who are simply looking to develop and launch campaigns that resonate with consumers. Brands need to be more clear with consumers about utilization of data for a greater customer experience but transparency also helps to ensure data veracity surrounding campaign reach and spend, which helps mitigate ad fraud.
To overcome data transparency and veracity concerns, brands are taking a new approach to digital marketing by leveraging incentivized social referral marketing campaigns backed by blockchain technology. Blockchain can be used for a number of different marketing strategies from influencer deployment to ad purchasing, but its use in incentivized social referral marketing is particularly unique as it offers a level of transparency that feels secure for both brands and consumers while keeping campaign costs low and impact high.
How consumers benefit
Consumers are very concerned about what companies are doing with their data, particularly after major scandals like Cambridge Analytica and the recent push for GDPR compliance. They’re keeping their information closer to the cuff now and thinking twice about where and how they share it. But that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to provide their information in exchange for something that they deem as valuable. This is why incentivized marketing becomes the perfect opportunity for brands to deliver what consumers see as an equal transaction.
In an incentivized referral marketing campaign, interested consumers have the opportunity to exchange their information and influence for a digital reward that gives consumers the immediate satisfaction. The transaction takes only seconds and consumers get to further benefit with rewards from brands that they’re either already engaged with or looking to engage more with.
Studies have shown that consumers are more willing to provide data in exchange for something tangible. They don’t want brands just taking their data, they want to be able to exchange it for something more useful. These rewards can vary, from gif stickers to free downloads or even coupons. Digital rewards don’t have to be expensive, in fact, because they are digital they’re often low or no-cost to provide. While they may not be costly, they do provide users with something that they want and that they benefit from.
Consider this for example – you see a post shared by one of your friends on Pinterest, Instagram or via text or email about the release of a new album by one of your favorite music artists. By sharing the post, you get a free, immediate song download from the album. You’re likely going to be more willing to provide an email and/or share that post to get the download since it’s something your friend recommended, it’s likely an artist that you like or are interested in, and it’s a free reward that you can get your hands on, fast. Then, if that artist sends you notifications promoting new releases in the future, you might not be as averse to them having your data since it provides the quality customer experience that you volunteered information for.
How it benefits the brand
Blockchain used in incentivized referral marketing doesn’t just benefit the consumer through better targeting and immediate rewards, it also benefits brands with the ability to responsibly collect information, reach interested consumers directly and enhance data veracity. Data helps brands to understand their consumers interests and having the right amount of data, provided by consumers can help brands create campaigns that consumers are more responsive to.
The most valuable component of blockchain is its immutable ledger which allows brands to see exactly where a post in a referral marketing campaign was shared to and where it stemmed from. Brands are able to see how many people engage with a post, share it with their friends and most importantly, who the influential ‘power users’ are that sparked high amounts of engagement among their followers. Additionally, they are able to see where the most pivotal moments were in a campaign and what platforms their customers were most engaged with, all based on the simple information provided by a share.
With this ledger, brands increase their data veracity with a transparent look into how much was spent per click and what the engagement actually looks like, differentiating between shares, clicks and reward downloads. Knowing exactly where a post was shared, who it was shared with and what the actual cost is helps to overcome concerns surrounding ad fraud and uncertainties about the actual number of consumers reached or the true cost per click.
This approach, feels far less invasive as it doesn’t require a consumer’s entire profile to better target them, it just looks to see who is engaged, and where they’re the most engaged. Brands can take this information to analyze how their message was received, whether their reward worked, and what platforms to focus on.
For example, for a major retailer who is offering a coupon download, social referral marketing on Instagram might be more impactful since the retailer’s merchandise likely makes for an alluring visual. On the other hand, music artists would want to target people through text on mobile so listeners can get an immediate download on their phone. With blockchain’s ledger, brands better understand the sharing patterns and progress. By understanding where a message is shared for different campaigns, brands can better understand where to target the consumers with information they feel is genuinely relevant in the future.
Blockchain brings unique value to incentivized social referral marketing campaigns through its ability to provide consumers and brands with transparency on what data is provided and what the cost and actual engagement looks like. Backed by an immutable ledger that provides actual proof of who chose to engage with the campaign and how a brand’s message was shared, brands can be more comfortable knowing the reach of their efforts while ensuring the responsible use of consumer data.
Recommended Read: GDPR Deadline Will Open the Door for Data Transparency