As soon as government bodies began declaring certain crypto tokens as securities, it was clear that more eyes would begin looking at how cryptocurrencies were being marketed. One of the biggest events in this timeline was the banning of all cryptocurrency advertising on the Facebook platform in January this year. Ads which had previously passed Facebook guidelines were suddenly cut and marketers had to find new channels overnight. This was followed by the announcement of advertising bans from Twitter and Google as well.
But it didn’t stop there… Mailchimp, a popular email marketing service provider, has begun cutting off services to those involved in “selling, trading, storing or marketing cryptocurrencies”. That is a pretty large segment of the market to be sure with full enforcement coming by April 30th.
The Crypto Marketing Crackdown
In many ways a tightening of the rules was probably due. There have long been restrictions on certain kinds of financial marketing and as an emerging sector with many unedcated investors encoutering lots of scams something had to give. However it is unfortunate that the rules are so wide sweeping and filtering the good companies as well. In all likelihood after a period of review certain companies and campaigns will be allowed to run but in the meantime it seems no paid media channel is a safe bet for crypto companies.
It is always important to have multiple ways to reach your target audience for this exact reason and it also goes to show why you need to build an audience on platforms you control. Any cryptocurrency companies that have been paying to build a Facebook audience will have found their reach severaly restricted and entirely at the mercy of Facebook’s organic post alogorithms. At least in the case of Mailchimp, the companies caught out will be able to export their contact lists and move to another provider that is more open to the cryptocurrency markets.
Next Steps for Cut Off Cryptocurrency Companies
With many avenues of promotion cut and others vulnerable to censorship, it is important to have at least one venue where you control the message. In most cases this should be your website. While many cryptocurrency projects host community discussions on platforms like; Reddit, Slack and Telegram, it is important to note that as you don’t “own” these channels you could easily get cut off by changes to terms & conditions in the anti-crypto trend continues.
It’s at times like this that marketers need to go back to basics and look at the different types of media. There are essentially three marketing streams; Paid, Owned, and Earned Media. Where one source dries up, you should already be working on building up the others.
- Paid Media: This is where crypto marketers are currently meeting their biggest challenges with the most popular channels being cut off almost overnight. It is essentially any platform where you pay money (or cryptocurrency) in exchange for visits or attention.
- Owned Media: This is your website, your blog, your platform, it should be at the core of your marketing activity. It can also include things like whitepapers, code-repositories, documentation hubs and even self-hosted communities.
- Earned Media: This is conversation around your brand and product. It is often the organic word of mouth conversations that occur after people experience your product, hopefully in a positive manor. With that said there are entire PR teams and organisations dedicated to crafting situations that lend themselves to generating this.
As most of the advertising restrictions are being placed on paid media, it is likely that in the coming months there will be a bigger influence from owned and earned media. You will find many marketers putting more time into platforms they own and attempting to generate traffic to these venues through press, viral trends and word of mouth. And of course central to all of this is having a great product so that your owned and earned media has a positive and compounding effect.
But even with all of the above in consideration, paid media isn’t dead! It is important to note that although the biggest advertising networks control the most attention, there are still other ways to pay for prospects. Cryptocurrency projects might explore niche avertising platforms. For example there are cryptocurrency focused advertising networks such as Coinzilla that reportedly receive millions of impressions and there a direct marketing platforms like Earn where you can literally pay to show up in someones email inbox.
The Future of Marketing Cryptocurrency Businesses
Marketing in the digital age and the world of cryptocurrency are both areas that can evolve at a rapid pace. Projects like the Basic Attention Token, may or may not take off. Advertising exchanges may or may not become decentralised. Specific laws targeting cryptocurrency advertising may be introduced. There will always be new challenges to overcome. But as long as you have a solid cryptocurrency project, a great team, and take a step back to look at the bigger picture, then there is always a way to connect with people that need or want what you have to offer.