µniverse – 1
Brands are faced with three challenges: the rising cost of new customer acquisition driving a “doom loop” of spending on Google and Facebook, attention recession among existing customers which leads to retention recession and continuous churn, and retaining existing customers since competitors are persistently targeting them for acquisition. Brands selling through marketplaces have another challenge: how to build direct relationships with their customers since marketplaces do not share customer information.
These challenges can be reconsidered thus. In the world of martech, the focus needs to be building deep relationships with existing customers so that the need to constantly offer transaction-linked incentives can be obviated. This needs brands to shift the focus to the upstream of attention, engagement and habits to create “hooked customers”. In the world of adtech, the power of the intermediaries (Google, Facebook in digital advertising, Amazon in marketplaces, and Instagram and Tiktok in influencer marketing) drives up spending and creates barriers to profitable growth.
Solutions need to be thought about against the backdrop of three colliding worlds: customer loyalty, gamification and crypto. In other words, how can brand-customer relationships be reimagined in a Web3 world? This is where the idea of the µniverse comes in, with attention tokens as one key building block.
An early foray into the world of “attention tokens” has been done by Brave. From its white paper:
Digital advertising is broken. The marketplace for online advertising, once dominated by advertisers, publishers and users, has become overrun by “middleman” ad exchanges, audience segmentation, complicated behavioral and cross-device user tracking, and opaque cross-party sharing through data management platforms. Users face unprecedented levels of malvertisements and privacy violations. Mobile advertising results in as much as $23 per month in data charges on the average user’s data plan, slow page loads, and as much as 21% less battery life. In response, over 600 million mobile devices and desktops (globally) employ ad blocking software and this number is growing. Traditional publishers have lost approximately 66% of their revenue over the past decade, adjusted for inflation. Publishers face falling revenue, users feel increasingly violated, and advertisers’ ability to assess effectiveness is diminished.
The solution is a decentralized, transparent digital ad exchange based on Blockchain. The first component is Brave, a fast, open source, privacy-focused browser that blocks third party ads and trackers, and builds in a ledger system that measures user attention to reward publishers accordingly. Brave will now introduce BAT (Basic Attention Token), a token for a decentralized ad exchange. It compensates the browser user for attention while protecting privacy. BAT connects advertisers, publishers, and users and is denominated by relevant user attention, while removing social and economic costs associated with existing ad networks, e.g., fraud, privacy violations, and malvertising. BAT is a payment system that rewards and protects the user while giving better conversion to advertisers and higher yield to publishers. We see BAT and associated technologies as a future part of web standards, solving the important problem of monetizing publisher content while protecting user privacy.
…In the ecosystem, advertisers will give publishers BATs based on the measured attention of users. Users will also receive some BATs for participating. They can donate them back to publishers or use them on the platform. This transparent system keeps user data private while delivering fewer but more relevant ads. Publishers experience less fraud while increasing their percentage of rewards. And advertisers get better reporting and performance.