Unless you have been hiding on a desert island for the past few months, people already know that all the big social media platforms have lit their torches and have gone on ICO witch-hunt, threatening the future development of the crypto industry.
On January 30th, 2018 Facebook announced in a blog post that will prohibit “misleading or deceptive promotional practices” from all its platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Audience networks), referring specifically to ICOs and cryptocurrencies. Rob Leathern, Product Management Director at Facebook, explained: “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Not long after that, other social-media giants started to join the resistance to the crypto & blockchain revolution. On March 14, 2018 Google declared that starting in June 2018 it will be banning all crypto-related advertising (ICO, Tokens, Wallets, etc.), only 12 days after, Twitter confirmed the rumors about following the same practice, limiting the restriction only to ICO and Token Sale ads. Recent reports also confirm that Snapchat, another big social- media platform, has been silently restricting token sale ads for the past few months, although the future of the rest of the crypto ads types is still unclear.
Is it because they feel threatened by the fast expanding crypto industry? Are they pressured by government regulations? Or is it that their official statement of trying to protect their users from scams, is actually finally true after so many high-profile disappointments on their part? We will probably never know.
What we could predict is that this ban will be changing not only the way that the companies are doing their crypto fundraising or utility tokens marketing, but the marketing industry in general, and in the end the joke might well be on the established social-media giants.
We can´t deny that the fast pace at which this news started to appear has left many marketers, including ourselves at SID, initially in shock and in desperate search for alternatives, after all, Facebook and Google alone cover about 61% of the global online advertising market according to Business Insider.
But after a few weeks we all started to ask the question: Is paid advertising to the established social media giants actually the best way to go about promoting Token Sales? Are we 100% sure that we are targeting the right audience and successfully engaging?
The truth is we at SID Limited think that the increased competition in the crypto industry and the amount of ICO scams reported on mainly in the traditional media and also on social media in particular, has made the ad formats of these platforms less effective probably even way before the Ads banning. Those ads frequently passed unnoticed failing in their intent in approaching the audience in a human way, which is much needed in these times of massive distrust in the Initial Coin Offering or Token sales Campaigns.
So how should we approach the crypto Ads marketing from now on? We would say, by dropping most of the automation and any form of cold impersonal promotion and go ¨old school¨ by conversing and engaging with the crypto community. According to Incapsula, 51.8% of all website visitors traffic are bots, which means that now more than ever we should make the effort and get to know and engage with our backers or future utility Token users in order to gain their trust.
So, what are the tools that we have at our disposal in order to accomplish this goal? Where should our marketers concentrate their efforts?
The following are our own views and should not be taken as any advice and even in our own case we may focus on a few out of the following list so we don’t stretch the available resources and fall in the trap of the old saying “A jack of all trades is a master of none.”
The most important assets in a crypto & blockchain firm, who wants to do a Token sale, or also known in the past as an ICO (initial coin offering), are the people themselves. Namely the software developers, the executives and now more than ever before the BOARD ADVISERS. Actually, engaging all employees with their own personal social media channels adds up to a nice community of people who most likely know someone in the firm. Those who thought that size doesn’t matter, well “think twice”. Actually, the size of the crypto & blockchain community will have a linear mathematical contribution to the number of tokens sold and thus to the funds raised, be those crowdfunding actual funds or advance turn-over in some cases of utility tokens as in the case of SID Limited.
When we added up the amount of social media connections of our crypto & blockchain related Board Advisers together with the media coverage reach they have jointly, we almost flipped. A typical example of such vast international media reach can be illustrated by for example just highlighting one of our Board Adviser’s reach of over 500,000 readers through Crypto Coin News and Irish Tech News. That is the true power to contribute to a token sale, namely by adding all the personal marketing channels of the whole team including the number 1 channel being those of the Board Advisers.
Before we share more insight about the current effective marketing approaches during an ICO or Token sale marketing campaign, we would like to state that despite the fact ICO ads have been banned there is still some positive “cracks in the system”, the non-promotional posts on ICO related content – is still allowed! That means that the ICO marketers are not entirely losing these platforms as communication channels, they just have to change the way they use it.
Although paid ads are banned on LinkedIn too, the personal LinkedIn Crypto communities, for now are amongst the best quality, even though a long-underestimated channel to create connections and associate with like-minded crypto/blockchain/ICO people and potential backers. Not only can you discuss ICO related matters and start getting the word out about your blockchain or crypto project on your own profile page, which is a great free ad channel, but you can also participate in active discussions about related topics in associated LinkedIn Groups. An example of a group that offers something like this is an ICO with just under 21,000 members.
Every experienced marketer knows that in order to build a following and get in touch with your target audience you just have to be on Reddit. According to Statista the Reddit website has been accessed by 1,66 billion unique visitors only in 2017. There are plenty of sub-Reddits where every company can start relating and engaging with people passionate about the crypto world. Few examples of these are r/CryptoCurrency, r/icocrypto and r/ethtrader.
Keep in mind that you should always be respecting the specific rules in every subreddit. If you are focusing more on promotion rather than giving valuable insights and helping the community than you would likely be banned quite quickly.
IcoBench is in essence an ICO rating channel where experts rate ICO projects and where potential token buyers get their inspiration from on which project they want to get involved with or buy some of their Tokens. Influencers like our SID Board Advisers also play a major role in this specific ICO community channel.
Bitcoin talk is another forum that is a must in every ICO Marketing Strategy. Not only can you participate in a great amount of discussions about the crypto industry. But there are actually specific sections where you can promote your new ICO. Same as Reddit one should be careful and respect the rules. Remember, it´s not about advertising spam, it’s about connecting with people and creating genuine interest around your project.
The instant messaging service has become one of the preferred channels by the ICO backers. With its option to create super groups with up to 100,000 members, Telegram allows you to build a strong community around a specific project. You can also participate in 3rd parties’ popular groups in order to gain visibility. Websites such as TelegramCryptogroups gives an insight on the trending Telegram crypto – related groups.
Even though it was originally created to facilitate internal communication in small and big companies, Slack has quickly turned out to be one of the leaders in the ICO community management right there next to Reddit. Just like Telegram it allows you to join channels where crypto topics are discussed.
Although in this article we are focusing mainly on using alternative strategies, different than the paid online ads, we should still mention that many cryptocurrency-related websites offer paid advertising and, in theory, the audience they target is more qualified in the crypto space. Some of these sites are: BuySellAds – Cryptobar, Token Ad , The Thousand Ether Homepage.
Jose Merino, Chairman of SID limited believes that the ICO ads bans are not necessarily a negative thing in the long run. This will keep the focus of the marketers in building a loyal community which, in our opinion, is the key of a successful ICO marketing campaign. Getting people to start advocating for your project has never been a question of spending five minutes in setting an ad campaign. While building an online community which is passionate about your project takes more time and effort, this way of engaging results in higher conversions and thus – less cost, that’s why it is always worth it.
This said, we are absolutely positive about the long-term future of the ICO or Token sale marketing, be it going first through a dip with an adjustment phase, but in the medium to long term the crypto & blockchain founders and crypto community at large are going to get creative and there will be plenty of other solutions coming along.
Mihaela Dimitrova Mihaylova, Marketing ninja and Co-Founder of SID Limited proposes to re-evaluate SID´s long-term business model post Token sale, on how we can help the crypto & blockchain community, maybe even by giving that community a channel to market their ICO´s as paid Ads through our APPs and websites. The crypto industry is quickly maturing, and after this initial dip it will continue to grow bigger every day and we predict that this will be a long-term tendency. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables and switch the players, if the hidden goal of the social media giants is to slow down the tendency then we at SID predict that maybe for the first time in years they won´t be the ones to have the final say. Click here and join SID in achieving its goals on helping lift more people out of poverty by giving them a means to access internet without paying a cent, simply buy getting Tokens for consuming Ads and use those Tokens to pay for internet shared by other nearby SID smartphone users.
In the end the massive amounts of value, be it in crypto or Fiat that the crypto & blockchain community has been moving for years and the future growth will simply re-balance itself amongst the remaining players and we intend to participate in that long-term growth. If you want to join us and participate in the future of SID, click here.
Written by Jose Merino, Chairman & Co-Founder of SID Limited.
Prepared and edited by Andrew Carroll, Journalism MA in DIT.