This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Advertising series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and advertising.
In this interview we speak with Sam Kim, CEO and Co-Founder of Lucidity, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the advertising business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Lucidity? Why and how did you begin?
SK: In the summer of 2017, Lucidity co-founders Sam Goldberg (President), Miguel Morales (CTO) and I (Sam Kim, CEO) discussed over beers an emerging, promising technology: blockchain. Having previously founded a company (The Mobile Majority, now Gimbal) in the digital advertising space before, we saw an opportunity to use blockchain – a technology capable of creating supply chain transparency – to fix the massive waste and efficiency issues plaguing the industry. The global digital advertising industry is said to be around $225B annually, while 20% of this is estimated to be wasted on fraudulent traffic. At that time, Miguel had just finished working on a blockchain project and had an idea for a “distributed shared ledger” for digital advertising analytics. Thus, the original idea for Lucidity was born.
2. Please describe your use case and how Lucidity uses blockchain:
SK: Lucidity provides event level auditing of campaign data. We analyze data from supply chain vendors as well as verification companies such as viewability and fraud vendors. This is done by “codifying” (via smart contract) rules that govern how metrics are computed, allowing our customers to easily validate the metrics that are accurate and reliable. With this data, advertisers possess a unified and authenticated view of every single impression and click. Lucidity’s blockchain technology handles the scale of digital advertising while maintaining the privacy advertisers require.
During and after every campaign, Ad Servers, DSPs, SSPs, etc all report different numbers. This makes it impossible to truly reconcile data between platforms due to large discrepancies in each system’s reporting. This is a major cause of the massive amount of wasted ad spend and fraud. Lucidity’s Confirmed Impressions™ unify the broken vendor supply chain to identify sources of discrepancies. Our customers take these actionable insights and are then able to in real-time, for example, blacklist wasteful placements, work with suppliers and maximize their working media.
Event level signals from each vendor on the supply chain are sent to Lucidity’s proprietary blockchain tech. Impressions are “confirmed” when the blockchain receives a matching signal from the entire supply chain.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
SK: A great example is our work with Toyota and their agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. We provided click and impression authentication for a fall campaign that yielded insights on the quality of programmatic traffic for automotive’s first ever test with blockchain technology.
Specifically, we were able to:
- Optimize against unified, authenticated, clean data across all parties in the supply chain.
- Generate deterministic data at the granular, event-level – not probabilistic data.
- Go deeper than historical probabilistic models for optimizations (e.g. performance, CTR, viewability) against impressions and click discrepancies.
- Demonstrate significant performance gains even with existing fraud and viewability filters already built in.
The final result was a 21% lift in campaign performance
The ability to have access to a transparent, clean set of data from across the programmatic supply chain is a huge benefit for a top advertiser like Toyota. Knowing there is waste and discrepancy in an ad buy is one thing, but having clarity into where and why there is waste is another. This empowers the brand to take action.
4. What other blockchain advertising use cases are you excited about?
SK: Brave is doing some pretty cool things. The latest version of their blockchain-based web browser includes an optional feature for “Brave Rewards”. If users opt-in, they can earn rewards based on the ads they view in the form of BAT tokens. It’s a new kind of ad network.
5. Where will Lucidity be in five years?
SK: Right now, we provide authentication and auditing services for our brand and agency customers. In 5 years, we will have standardized the industry’s measurement, bidding, and reporting practices. These new standards will be programmed into our technology to compute and confirm metrics for the industry at scale, allowing for enormous gains in efficiency. Lucidity will be a required authentication partner for programmatic.