A number of large social and advertising platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter have recently announced that they will be banning ALL cryptocurrency related adverts.
This doesn’t extend only to cryptocoins; but also to wallet providers, crypto trading advice and ICO’s. So why has this happened and how will those in the cryptocurrency industry reach their target market? Will you miss out on an amazing project if you have no way of hearing about it?
Lack of regulation
There’s no doubt that a lack of regulation in cryptocurrency has resulted in a number scams and fraudulent activity taking place. And this seems to be the primary reason that the likes of Google and Facebook are banning crypto ads, citing “consumer harm potential” as a contributing factor.
It’s really quite easy to create an ad on one of these platforms – and it gives someone a sense of credibility when in fact they might be far from legitimate. Users trust companies like Google to show us adverts that are in our best interests, and it’s a serious risk to their reputation if people are being misled on their platform.
One example of a scam was Confido, a supposed Ethereum based start-up which vanished after raising $374k.
Ultimately these types of scenarios led to Facebook announcing a ban on crypto ads in January 2018, with Google reporting in March 2018 that they will be banning all such ads from June. The specific wording being:
LinkedIn and Mailchimp are also following suit, however Microsoft have not yet implemented a ban across all of their platforms – such as Bing.
Media outlets in Asia have already taken similar steps, with Chinese search engine Baidu and social media platform Weibo banning cryptocurrency ads.
How will advertising work now?
With ads being banned on these large platforms, there will be increasing demand for the services of “influencers” who can help promote a coin, ICO or product. An influencer is effectively someone who has established credibility within a specific niche, has access to a large audience and can use this credibility as a form of persuasion.
Here are a few crypto specific scenarios to consider:
- It was reported that John McAfee charges $105,000 for crypto related tweets to promote a project. His influencer site – mcafeecryptoteam.com – is set up with the aim to “take ICOs into the stratosphere.”
- It’s clear that many coins and new projects are reaching out to YouTuber’s to promote a cryptocurrency project to their large subscriber bases. YouTube has high engagement levels and is the 3rd largest search engine behind Google and Amazon; making it an ideal platform for influencers to discuss or promote a coin / ICO. Influencers such as DougPolkCrypto (200k subscribers) post regular content, although admittedly many have been quiet in recent weeks, coinciding with the downturn in the market.
- A number of websites also offer “sponsored posts” where someone pays the site to publish a specific article. Obviously this article is likely to promote a certain project or service, talk about its benefits and attract user interest.
These types of influencers certainly have an important role to play and you have to hope that most of them take a balanced view. You can judge this for yourself, but it’s true that some of them are following the money and promoting projects that they will not necessarily be well informed about. Many of them will also look to limit their liability by adding disclaimers like:
The bottom line is: Be careful when listening to or reading anything online. Always do your own research and don’t follow the hype unless you really believe in a project. There are plenty of amazing influencers out there, you just need to find out who you can trust and if you objectively agree with what they’re saying.
One recommendation is using Telegram; there’s lots of great crypto groups where a range of enthusiasts and investors share their thoughts and advice. Many of these communities are useful for impartial discussion and you can get a jump on the projects that people are finding most interesting.
Although Google and Facebook have banned crypto related ads for now, I doubt this will be in place forever.
With regulation looming and the industry becoming more established, it would be difficult to see how the big players won’t get involved again. It’s simply too lucrative.
In the meantime, social influencers are taking advantage of the demand and the large marketing budgets that crypto related companies clearly have at their disposal. Just make sure to do your own research before investing in an ICO or other project and don’t simply follow the hype.
The ban on ads isn’t great press for the cryptocurrency industry at large. WIth such a small proportion of people currently invested in the space, this type of negative mainstream news is likely to damage interest in the short-term.
Despite this, it should help to suppress fraudulent and malicious activity to some extent. And the less we hear about scams taking place, the more people might take the plunge into the world of crypto.