We live in a 21st-century digital world, filled with smartphones and home assistants, yet much of the advertising industry still seems stuck in the Mad Men era, clinging to the old way and slow to adopt newer, better technology that is now available.
For consumers, the reluctance of the advertising industry to modernize may seem like a mere curiosity, but it has real implications for those in the business world. Whether they work for the newest startup or the stodgiest old-line corporation, marketing executives have faced a real challenge when buying advertising in the many digital spaces that now dot the landscape.
Now a new startup is trying to change all that, altering the face of the advertising industry and helping it adapt to the new complexities of a 21st-century world. By connecting companies that want to advertise with the places where that advertising is for sale, Ternio hopes to change the way business is done and alter the way companies market their goods and services.
We talked to Ian Kane, the co-founder of Ternio:
“We’re solving a real problem in digital advertising. Currently, when a brand like BMW wants to buy digital advertising on Wall Street Journal, they need to work through a collection of middle men.”
As Kane points out, there is often as many as 20 middlemen standing between those who need to advertise and those with advertising space to sell:
“The problem is that for every $1.00 BMW spends, only $0.40 makes it to WSJ. In addition, WSJ is left waiting 60-120 days to collect payment.”
This outdated advertising model is a real problem for everyone involved. For the firms buying space in news publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the built-in inefficiency and high number of middlemen means that more than half of their advertising dollars are wasted. For the publishers themselves, the outdated model means lost revenue and an uncertain future.
Those inefficiencies and the presence of so many go-betweens is not the only problem companies face as they try to maximize their marketing budgets. As the world has become progressively flatter, more and more players have entered an already crowded marketplace. For every Wall Street Journal and New York Times there are a hundred Buzzfeeds and Daily Beasts. Sorting through those digital platforms and determining which sites are reputable and reliable is no easy thing to do.
As Kane puts it –
“There are many low quality sites that try to misrepresent themselves as WSJ to capture those ad dollars.”
Not only is more than half of every advertising dollar currently wasted, but companies also have to distinguish between the real Wall Street Journal and dozens of sites trying to trade on their good name and integrity.
The Ternio co-founder does a good job of laying out the many problems with the current advertising model, from rampant corruption and confusion to the presence of middleman and built-in inefficiencies, but he believes he has found a better way forward.
By relying on the power and transparency of the blockchain, Ternio hope to change things for the better –
“Ternio is the only scalable blockchain solution that can support the programmatic digital advertising industry. Our technology makes it easy to verify users, instantly pay publishers, and protect advertisers from ad fraud. Unlike other blockchain solutions, Ternio is not involved with any aspect of ad serving or yield management.”
If the Ternio model succeeds, both businesses and publishers stand to benefit. Instead of waiting 60-120 days for payment, publishers like the Wall Street Journal can get their money right away and benefit from positive cash flow and greater predictability of earnings. At the same time, the businesses buying the digital ad space know they are dealing with a reputable publication and not one of the many imitators that dot the digital landscape.
Kane is quick to point out that the company provides its blockchain technology only to verified and trustworthy companies. This restriction helps reassure customers that they will get what they pay for and that they are getting real value for their marketing dollars.
Since the businesses in the Ternio network are already part of the ad supply chain, businesses who need to advertise benefit from a new level of transparency, something that has been sorely lacking in the digital ad buying process. Many blockchain proponents have predicted that this emerging technology has the power to transform everything from healthcare to banking, but Ternio hopes the advertising space can be similarly transformed.
The history of Ternio and its new idea is relatively new. The company has been in development since late 2017, and they will go live in June of 2018, following the end of their token sale. Ad3 Media, a company owned by one of the co-founders of Ternio, will be the first to deploy its blockchain technology. Since Ad3 already supplies video advertising technology for a number of publishers, this should create a positive and symbiotic relationship.
While there are some others in the blockchain advertising space, Kane is quick to point out his inherent competitive advantages:
“Other blockchain solutions in the ad space offered today are
1) dependent on a specific web browser or browser extension (ie: a walled garden)
2) trying to be intermediaries competing with the existing supply chain
3) are built on Ethereum which has scaling limitations and/or
4) do not have the infrastructure and fee structure to handle programmatic advertising which is how the majority of all ad dollars flow today.
Ternio’s blockchain solution works with any system, any browser and works in parallel with the existing ad supply chain; we’re not competing with them. In addition, we have the first scalable solution that can support the high transaction volume needed programmatic buying.”
Kane and the others at Ternio certainly hope that the world of advertising is changing. They see an advertising industry that is stuck in the past, and they hope to bring that industry into the 21st century. If all goes as planned, both corporate America and legitimate online publications stand to profit.