An Italian-born startup has used Blockchain to build a peer-to-peer digital platform that taps the power of word-of-mouth marketing on social media.
Friendz, with offices in Milan, Rome and Madrid, allows companies to engage armies of social media users to promote their brands. Users get rewarded for creating and sharing content on brands with their friends. The startup was co-founded in 2015 by the trio of Alessandro Cadoni, Daniele Scaglia and Cecilia Nostro.
With €500,000 in financing, Friendz has built a strong technology platform and assembled a roster of clients including Jeep, Disney and Reebok. According to Friendz, the three-year-old company has run marketing campaigns for over 200 brands, creating and promoting branded content with the help of 200,000 users with a combined reach of 1.5 bln. In 2017, the company reported €1.2 mln in revenues.
Friendz opened an ICO on March 1 and has already carried out more than 20,000 transactions from around 14,000 micro contributors. It has sold 22 mln ETH.
One of the few marketing companies leveraging the power of Blockchain, Friendz is betting on lower-cost, decentralized marketing on social media, as digital advertising spend steadily grows.
Digital ad spending to be worth $378 mln in 2021
Global ad spending is projected to rise to $757 bln in 2021, up nearly 30 percent from $584 bln in 2017, according to eMarketer.
In 2017, digital ad spending overtook television advertising for the first time, as it reached $209 bln worldwide, according to Magna, the research arm of media buying firm IPG Mediabrands. In 2020, Magna expects digital ad spend to account for 50 percent of all ads, up from 41 percent in 2017. The digital ad market could be worth an estimated $378 mln in 2021 if one extrapolates Magna’s estimate with that of eMarketer.
If the two sets of data back Friendz’s business prospects, Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising lends even greater support to its “word-of-mouth” model. According to its seminal 2015 survey, in which the leading New York media firm surveyed over 30,000 people, 83 percent of people base their purchase decisions on advice from friends and family or “people we know and trust.” Also, 66 percent trust consumer opinions posted online, the third-most-trusted advertising format.
Friendz eyes B2B business too
Currently, Friendz targets B2C companies to build its business, but it has its eyes on B2B companies too. The company believes its adoption of Blockchain not only makes its platform safer and stronger but, notably, improves its business model and long-term prospects.
The technology would enable its platform to be used by every kind of business in need of creative content, or even “every online activity-as-a-service,” Friendz has said. Examples of potentially new services that can be enabled on the company’s platform include app reviews, bug testing, market research and lead generation.
Currently, Friendz is active in Italy and Spain and proposes to expand its business to other parts of the world, starting with the rest of the European countries, America and Asia.
FDZ coins to be listed on top international exchanges
The FDZ coins are based on ERC20 and are being offered at about $0.067. The ICO has a soft cap of 50 mln FDZ and a hard cap of 750 mln FDZ. It will be possible to trade the coin on the most famous international exchanges anytime after the conclusion of the ICO, the company said.
Tokens bought during the so-called Power Hour received a 40 percent bonus and are locked for one year. The coins will be unlocked proportionally over 12 months. The stipulation, Friendz said, would curb speculation such as ‘pump-and-dump’ methods, and keep the value of the FDZ cryptocurrency stable.
Friendz plans to use the ICO proceeds to expand its business abroad, create a larger global community and for further technology development.
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