What’s the internet for? Social media, games, YouTube videos, or your favorite publications? Not quite. The internet is for advertising. It’s advertising that is the blood and fuel and the main sponsor of the development of the web. For instance, take a look at the range of services offered by the tech giant Google: a web browser, a search engine, a mobile OS, an email service and many others—a truly wide selection.
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But only a completely naive customer would see it this way— from the perspective of business these are all just various channels for collecting data and delivering ads. Of course, Google does have other projects that have nothing to do with selling and delivering ads whatsoever, but the purpose of all of their main products is exactly that.
In 2016, the digital advertising market size was $223.74 billion, and in 2017 the market will grow even more. But the bigger the market, the bigger its problems:
- the obsolescence and vagueness of user data;
- users’ eagerness to avoid ads;
- non-human traffic and other fraudulent activities.
The advertiser might come across obsolete data at the stage of market and target audience analysis. The desire to know everything about the customer has resulted in the accumulation of a vast amount of information that is not necessarily completely accurate. That is especially so when the advertiser uses alternative and unusual sources trying to isolate their target audience out of the overall mix of web users as clearly as possible. Another big problem for the advertiser is the ‘appearance of anonymity’—search engines and advertising platforms provide only the information they consider relevant. Effectively, a certain kind of balance has been established in this market: the advertiser is provided with such an amount of audience data that makes advertising placement potentially profitable and overall attractive, but they don’t get the whole picture, so that their advertising campaign wouldn’t be too efficient, and so that they would spend more money on the campaign. Sure, there are some legal restrictions regarding the use of personal details, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Another headache—beleaguering publishers and advertisers alike—is a general level of frustration with advertising. Online media—depending on selling ad spaces as their main income source—became the first victims of the mainstream use of ad blocking software like AdBlock Plus and similar extensions. Depending upon the outlet type, the share of ad blockers’ users varies from a negligible few percent to a scary 50-70 percent. Trade publications—visited by highly tech-savvy users—are hit hardest by this trend. In that respect advertisers find themselves in a vicious cycle: they have to constantly make their ads more aggressive to get through to those who still watch them, which only increases the percent of people who one day tell themselves ‘enough is enough!’ and install an ad blocker.
Advertising is not bad, what it’s been turned into is
Common sense guides us to suppose that advertising per se is not evil. Inappropriate advertising is. But what if there was a reality where the user would only see ads for those products and services that are of interest specifically to him or her and specifically at a given moment?
The user sees only relevant advertising and, therefore, saves time on searching—the product itself goes into the hands of the user. And probably the user learns about some options and solutions that were previously unknown to him and her—and therefore the user wouldn’t search for them, either.
As for advertisers within this ideal scenario, they would radically save their ad spend making the price of their product more competitive or increasing the returns on its sales.
This hypothetical situation makes clear that the true purpose of advertising is not to be an irritating white noise burning businesses’ money and getting on users’ nerves, but to be a navigator in the world of supply and demand. As of now, this scenario cannot be brought to life but we have to work towards it: for the sake of users’ and advertisers’ interests alike. In all, this would benefit everyone, except for the existing giants of the advertising market: to them, billions of dollars burnt by businesses are like sacrifices to ancient gods that were sent by priests to heaven through the smoke of sacred pyres.
But the middleman cannot reign forever. And the alternatives are already there—including the blockchain-based ones, of course; make no mistake—this tool for the digital guarantee of fair play will find its place in the existing ad market permeated by deception.
Papyrus of justice: data should generate profits for those who it belongs to
Papyrus is the world’s first decentralized and highly scalable ecosystem for programmatic advertising capable of processing billions of ad views on a daily basis. This comprehensive system will bring together users, publishers, advertisers, and developers of decentralized applications (dApps) making their interactions efficient, transparent, and mutually beneficial.This ecosystem was created by specialists in the field in order to fix the main issues of the modern digital advertising market:
- Poor user experience;
- Lack of data privacy;
- Unreliable targeting;
- Lack of transparency;
- High administrative costs.
What is justice in terms of digital advertising? Ad services make fortunes collecting personal user data that create extremely, unsettlingly detailed user profiles—their digital replicas, albeit depersonalized ones.
Back in the day, most target audiences used to be determined by sex-age structure, whereas now advertisers have much more freedom. Web companies constantly collect data through their products, and because of that they know almost everything about you: your age, your marital status, your interests, where you live, what you buy, how you have fun, and even what you are planning to buy. Targeting has become significantly easier thanks to social media and everyone’s carelessness regarding their personal data. But even if you are extremely meticulous and careful with your personal details, there’s still a numbered ‘folder’ on you, maybe not as detailed as on everybody else. And it will also be sold to the advertiser.
But why should your personal data generate profits to some completely outside organizations when the user itself—the object of this cutthroat battle—gets nothing from it, except for annoying and inefficient advertising? If you type in a search engine ‘buy a cupboard’ you will be bombarded by ads about cupboards and other pieces of furniture for the entire week. It is especially frustrating when you’ve already bought the cupboard, but Google doesn’t know about that.
Content-wise, the situation is even worse: apart from the constant barrage of various context banner ads, the user has to watch certain ad videos that, quite possibly, are of no interest to him or her whatsoever. The reasoning behind this boils down to the necessity of monetization and the shifting away from the paid subscription model. But, quite often, due to the depersonalized nature of data the image of the ‘average user’ doesn’t overlap with the interests of a given person. At the end of the day, we have the following situation:
- Businesses utilize user data under the slogan ‘What’s the big deal?’;
- Businesses generate profits;
- Advertisers get a slightly more accurate information and partially reduce their costs;
- Users get nothing except for scarcely ever relevant banners and ad videos;
- Data acquisition destroys privacy.
Papyrus’s idea: a blockchain-guaranteed mechanism for the fair interaction between advertisers and users
Advertisers themselves don’t care who the beneficiary of the data they acquire is—Google or John from Glasgow whose digital profile is the most valuable commodity in the digital advertising market.
Papyrus is not just another ad tech platform that is going to integrate into the existing conditions of the digital advertising market; it is a set of technologies that is going to disrupt it.
The uniqueness of Papyrys’s approach is that its participants won’t have to put their trust into intermediaries when dealing with digital advertising: the security and efficiency of the ecosystem will be ensured by blockchain consensus protocols. Papyrus will create the conditions in which advertisers will be much better protected from fraud and will get much higher results for the same amount of money. Economic benefits would amount to billions of dollars globally, and the internet will become comfortable for users because there will be no malicious and fraudulent advertising anymore.
Papyrus against non-human traffic
The damage from AdBlock and other ad blocking software is eclipsed by the volume of non-human traffic and the losses associated with its use.
The term ‘non-human traffic’ refers to bots that mimic the activity of a human user in order to trigger an ad view and get money for it from the ad campaign budget. According to various studies, advertisers lose up to 50% of their budgets due to non-human traffic used by unscrupulous developers and publishers.
That is, 50 cents of every dollar spent in online advertising is wasted by the activity of bots or users who were not supposed to end up on a given page. Yes, we are talking about so-called ‘clickbait’—a practice when unscrupulous websites ‘lure’ real people with false or provocative information in order to drive up the number of views and make a profit out of the scheme. Nowadays, non-human traffic, run by bots, principally affects mobile apps, which further diminishes the already limited efficiency of that type of advertising.
Out of $223 billion—the aforementioned size of the digital advertising market in 2016—almost $112 billion have gone to fill the pockets of the owners of non-human traffic and their clients—in complete accordance with the maxim of the great ad executive David Ogilvy: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
But everybody knows who’s paying—the customer.
Papyrus’s idea: the transparent structure of blockchain will help eradicate non-human traffic and other types of fraud
In a completely transparent system, it will be quite easy to track down any ‘fake’ activity, which will eliminate the risk of any manipulations with traffic, reviews, and other actions affecting ad campaigns. The issue of fraud is far from overblown. The opinion of our team—that it’s necessary to use blockchain in order to fix the issue—is shared by specialists in the field.
The Papyrus Architecture
Papyrus is a first-of-its-kind project which has developed a technology architecture that allows to avoid the well-known scalability issues of blockchain. The scalability of the Papyrus project will allow it to quickly and seamlessly grow up to any volumes in accordance with the demands of the market, processing billions of ad impressions on a daily basis. This comprehensive system will bring together users, publishers, advertisers, and developers of decentralized applications (dApps) making their interactions transparent and mutually beneficial.
Papyrus is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain platform and its smart contracts, a network of state channels and a secure decentralized data storage. The architecture consists of four layers with the components of each of these layers developed as an open-source software. Papyrus will also employ blockchain-based identification and reputation management tools for ecosystem participants as well as a decentralized real-time-bidding (RTB) protocol that will support dApps, instant transactions, and a transparent environment for working with programmatic advertising. And in order to accelerate the market’s adoption of the Papyrus ecosystem it will have special open-source gateways that would be easily integrated into traditional advertising systems thus making them part of Papyrus.
Compensation is guaranteed
Another great idea that the Papyrus developers have come up with is an instant feedback tool allowing the user to adjust the content provided by the advertiser. Ad executives have always dreamt about customers ordering ads for themselves. And this dream might come true if the user is properly motivated—for instance, if he or she is incentivized by a prospect of getting PPR tokens that can be easily changed to fiat money on several cryptoexchanges. These tokens can also be used instead of fiat money for paying for additional services and apps of the Papyrus platform: that kind of internal circulation of coins enriches the project ecosystem and makes it even stronger.
Payments made with the Papyrus tokens on the Ethereum blockchain simplify the financial interactions between external developers and users: services can be paid for without having to turn to payment gateways or other tools. The project tokens will be sold during the Papyrus launch crowdfunding campaign that starts on October 12. The project plans to collect at least $5 million for the development of the ecosystem, attracting advertisers, and integrations with the existing players of the advertising market.
You can support the idea of properly cleaning up the digital ad market with cryptocurrency on the Papyrus ICO website, starting October 12. And if you want to ask the developers’ team any questions—you can do that right now in their Telegram group channel.