Unilever aims to force more digital ad transparency, plots blockchain pilot with IBM

Unilever wants more transparency for its digital ad buying and its using a mix of brute force by threatening to pull spending as well teaming up with IBM on blockchain use cases.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Unilever has threatened to pull its advertising from Facebook and Google due to the swamp of fake news and other misinformation and may wind up using blockchain technology from IBM to deter fraud.

As reported on CNN and other sites, Unilever will decry the lack of transparency in digital advertising and use its $9.8 billion annual marketing budget to force change. Unilever, along with Procter & Gamble, have been aiming to force more transparency in digital advertising.

With Google and Facebook gobbling up nearly every incremental advertising dollar, Unilever is picking on the two giants to force more transparency.

IBM said that it is working with Unilever to develop a pilot program that will track the digital ad buying ecosystem via blockchain. The use of blockchain, which provides a single ledger and version of the truth in transactions, would give marketers more insight to how digital ad inventory is filled.

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Unilever will utilize IBM Blockchain and start with basic financial tools for digital media buying. The return on investment for enterprises is clear since about 20 percent of ad spending is fraudulent.

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Blockchain has also been outlined as a potential media buying tool in a whitepaper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The whitepaper, which focused on video advertising, noted:

The paper acknowledges that blockchain has captured the public's attention through the skyrocketing growth of cryptocurrency, but also illustrates that the technology is a natural fit for the digital advertising supply chain--potentially enabling increased efficiencies and a more trustworthy supply chain, as well as reducing cost and fraud for publishers and buyers.

Here's a look at how blockchain would apply to digital ad buying.

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