The Rise of Content Marketing: A Boon for Few
A report by the Interactive
Advertising Bureau (IAB)
indicates that digital ad revenue reached an all-time high of $88 billion in
2017, a 21.4 percent growth from 2016, with growth expected to skyrocket in
2018. And a recent report by Technavio, a global market research firm,
has estimated that the industry will maintain a compound annual growth rate of
16.12 percent until 2021.
Without a doubt, the content
marketing industry is a lucrative business with great potential for growth, but
up until now, only a handful of beneficiaries are reaping the rewards. Even
worse, these beneficiaries don’t create the content that is monetized and
instead are merely intermediaries connecting consumers with content creators.
For instance, Facebook, Twitter
and YouTube generate billions of dollars each year in advertising revenue but
pass very little of their profits on to content creators. Their revenue models
mostly involve placing ads on content and charging for them based on the number
of views an ad receives. The publishers receive a small fraction of the revenue
generated from the ads placed on their content with the bulk going to the
Not only is this discouraging
for content publishers, but it also enables the intermediaries to censor
content that they do not agree with, limiting the public's freedom of speech.
It is not uncommon to hear
the likes of Google and Facebook are suppressing opinions that do not align
with their own.
Enter Blockchain Technology
With blockchain technology
entering the content marketing industry, these challenges may soon be a thing
of the past. Distributed ledger technology is creating a decentralized content
economy where there are no intermediaries and content publishers can earn
directly from their work. With publishers earning money based on the popularity
of their content, they are economically motivated to produce content that truly
serves the audience’s interests.
Currently, the most popular
decentralized content platform is Steemit, a blogging and social
networking website with over one million users. The platform rewards publishers
by the popularity of their content as determined by upvotes. The Steemit
ecosystem involves three types of tokens, namely, steem, steem power and steem
When publishers create popular
content, they earn steem dollars, a stable currency that can be sold on the
open market at any time. The steem token creation depends on the interaction in
the Steemit platform and is usually distributed to content creators and
curators either as steem power or steem dollars. Just like bitcoin, people can
buy the crypto for speculation purposes. Steem and steem dollars can be
converted to steem power to increase voting power.
Another project with an even
bigger user base is the ASKfm-backed ASQ Protocol. Just like Steemit, the platform enables content creators
to get paid for the value of their work rather than the revenue they generate
from advertisements placed on their content. With this project, consumers can
order their desired content from ASQ-supported platforms and pay with ASQ tokens.
Brands can also sponsor content and reward users who engage with it.
If, for example, a user is
interested in a recipe, the user can order it through ASQ from a
specialist content producer and send an instant payment using the ASQ token, as
opposed to the traditional method where the content creator would publish the
recipe for free and hope that people who read it will click on the accompanying
With a starting audience of
over 215 million ASKfm users and over 45 million Ning users,
the ASQ project is expected to impact the industry in a significant way. Unlike
Steemit, the ASQ Protocol is open to other platforms looking to offer more
value to their publishers and consumers and to those interested in customizing
their platforms to fit the ASQ model.
Apart from encouraging quality
content and ensuring transparent sharing of revenue, content marketing
decentralization also improves the consumer experience. Studies have shown that
the traditional model of placing ads on content annoys most internet users.
With projects such as Steemit and ASQ coming forward, this will be a thing of
There are many ways that the
content industry can benefit from blockchain technology. As the technology
continues to advance, solutions to current issues are in development, which
will change the industry as we know it for the better as well as our user