Welcome to Business Unusual: How ImagineBC’s Approach to Data Control and Monetization Creates a New Medium for Advertisers

In my other articles and podcasts I discussed things like AI-generated Reliability Scores or Virtual Main Street. But the focus of this article is around one key question posed by our model which we believe will be of great interest for advertisers looking for a new medium through which they can engage with a targeted audience whose propensity to buy has been predetermined for them:

How does paying verified persons to watch ads impact future brand purchases and overall brand loyalty?


First – What is ImagineBC?

ImagineBC is a platform designed to give its users, individually known as a Member and collectively known as our Community, control over their personal information and intellectual property (IP) and to create opportunities for Members to profit from this control. We do a few other things as well – and have some interesting plans for the future – but for now, I will keep it as simple as this: Everyone’s data is already for sale. ImagineBC believes it is the individual and not big tech or other faceless third parties who should benefit from the sale of their personal information.

Our platform provides technology, in the form of a mobile application, that allows our Members to easily and efficiently control their intellectual property (defined as their personal data, their creativity and their time) and creates opportunities for Members to monetize these critical assets in a way like no other service.

Members earn…

  1. By receiving referral fees each time Members they invited to ImagineBC complete a buy or sell transaction;
  2. By marketing their intellectual property and/or time to other Members of the community;
  3. By completing surveys, participating in focus groups, responding to limited offers and watching advertisements.

We are talking about real cash (no crypto tokens to be found here!) that is easily earned and spent in-app or accumulated and transferred to a Member’s bank account or onto a reward card that offers Members a 5%-10% bonus back on purchases made with our card.

ImagineBC’s model – enabled by #Blockchain and #AI technologies – does two very important things that all advertisers should appreciate.

  • We verify and assign a TRUST score to every Member through a series of tasks structured to ensure they are a real person and that they exist only once within the Community. Once verified, a Member becomes anonymous to the community. They are given control over how their personal information is shared and the value they should receive for sharing it.
  • We calculate a REPUTATION score (a behavior measurement score) using Artificial Intelligence to measure the reliability of a Member’s data and how honorably a Member behaves within the Community. In other words, Members are rewarded for providing accurate information and for living up to their obligations. They are “punished”, in the form of a reduced Reputation score, for attempting to “game” the system.

Our website’s FAQ page elaborates on these mechanisms.

Our platform is also designed to directly contribute to social causes and to encourage and make it simple for our Members to give back. 10% of each dollar spent by an advertiser within ImagineBC will be automatically distributed among ImagineBC’s partner social causes. Additionally, each Member can elect to donate a fixed percentage of their earnings to a social cause of their choosing or to one of ImagineBC’s partner causes.


Important Questions Regarding ImagineBC’s New Ads-for-Payment Model

As part of the research we conducted when refining the ImagineBC model, we reached out to the team at Ipsos Behavioral Science Center – and posed the following questions:

  • Would the continual consumption of ads-for-payment increase brand loyalty for Members who already purchases a product or service the company is advertising?
  • Conversely, is there any downside or negative implications from Members feeling a company is trying to purchase their loyalty?
  • Lastly, can consumption of ads-for-payment create a switch in loyalty for a Member who – in the past – did not purchase the advertised product/service? And is there any way to determine how long it might take for this switching behavior to occur?


Findings, Principles, and Recommendations for Advertisers Using ImagineBC’s Model

ImagineBC’s model of providing payment for the continual consumption of ads was determined to be a good way for companies to build brand loyalty and awareness. Five key principles for advertisers to consider when employing this new model are summarized as follows:

1) Personal Data Monetization is About Agency – Which Means Emphasizing Opt-In

Consumers are savvy enough to know when they are being marketed to and research supports that deliberate marketing attempts can cause reactance: the unpleasant motivational arousal users might experience if they perceive an unwelcoming manipulation attempt. It is important that advertisers keep in mind certain principles when designing and developing its communications to ensure Members feel a sense of agency throughout the process.

ImagineBC Members know they will be compensated for the ads they choose to watch. They will also understand that ImagineBC continually applies AI to their Reputation score in order to present them with the most relevant advertisements. In this way, ImagineBC is maximizing Members’ ability to monetize their personal information in a way that benefits themselves the most: by presenting them products and/or services for which their information suggests they have the highest propensity to buy. While Members still have the choice to not view or profit from watching the advertisement, their knowing that tailored ad delivery is based on personal data they chose to provide will strengthen a sense of agency and expand their use of the platform.

2) Position Interactions as Opportunities to Gain Benefits

A fundamental principle from behavioral science research is that losses hurt more than gains. For instance, the negative feeling of losing $5 is more intense than the positive feeling of winning $5. Consequently, while it’s generally better to position messaging as a path to avoiding losses – “don’t lose $5 by missing out on this sale” – it is better to position these engagements as opportunities to gain – “save $5 by buying now”. By presenting these brand advertisement touchpoints as opportunities, Members are more likely to feel that their agency is maintained. This, in turn, should make them more likely to view the ad and, for these positive associations, to halo up to the brand more generally.

3) Build a Brand Relationship Via Reciprocity:

If positioned properly, one reason to believe that paying Members to watch their advertisements will lead to higher purchase rates for that brand is the principle of reciprocity: the universal tendency in human beings to feel compelled to repay or reciprocate when given a gift, whether it has come in the form of a material object, a kind deed, or an act of generosity.

Thus, by providing ImagineBC Members immediate compensation for watching an ad, an advertiser can potentially increase feelings of loyalty due to this desire to reciprocate. Moreover, this feeling may hold true regardless of whether the Member winds up viewing any ads or not, as the gesture of a gift has already been made by the brand.

Optimized ad delivery and thoughtful ad design to minimize the perception of being coerced to watch the ad will maximize brands’ ability to establish reciprocity while simultaneously supporting Members’ sense of agency.

4) Amplify the Positive Feeling Towards the Brand by Employing Variable Rewards

People crave rewards, but this craving is reduced when rewards come at regular intervals, or in a noticeable pattern. At this point, such rewards are not seen as a surprise or delight. Thus, if Members are paid $1 (for example) every time they view a video, this will eventually come to be seen as the norm and no longer seen as a special reward. In fact, if the payment is subsequently removed, Members will view its absence as a loss. In contrast, variable rewards carry a higher value since they are unexpected: unpredictable rewards excite people and keep them engaged.

To maximize Member interest, ImagineBC has integrated this concept of reward variability into the design of all ad campaigns. The variability of a campaign is accomplished in several ways that include the following:

  • Vary the moments when opportunities to get paid for watching an ad occur. From this vantage point, payment in and of itself does not become assumed (i.e. every morning) and is more likely perceived as a bonus – or a delight – when the opportunity arises. ImagineBCs AI-powered Best Next Engagement engine can be configured to ensure that opportunities are delivered not at the same time – but at the right time.
  • Vary the amount that is paid, maintaining a baseline rate, but periodically exceeding with a higher payment. There are two ways ImagineBC varies the amount. One approach is via simple random rate assignment between configured floor and ceiling amounts. Ad viewing data can provide brands with a type of “price elasticity” insight for subsequent rate optimization considerations. Another approach is to offer a rate that correlates (including inversely so) with a propensity to buy. Brands might pay a low rate for Members who have a high propensity to buy, because Why pay more when you already have them? Conversely – and related to the notion of reciprocity described just above – brands may choose to most richly reward Members whose affinity toward their brand is highest, thereby maximizing reciprocity which can manifest as a nearer-term conversion.

Overall, variable rewards work because they are unexpected and unpredictable by the beneficiary, enabling them to be consistently seen as rewards. Another benefit of this approach is that the unknown aspect of what one’s reward that day will be creates intrigue and motivates Members to engage with the platform more often to see if they “won” that day. Thus, at a higher level, these variable rewards should also increase ImagineBC membership and usage in general.

5) Do Not Make the Relationship Transactional

A final consideration is that brands advertising within ImagineBC endeavor to avoid making the relationship perfunctory or transactional – keeping in mind Members’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivation refers to any external compensation provided for completing a task (e.g. payment for watching an ad). Intrinsic motivation refers to the inherent desire to complete the task in and of itself (e.g. watching an ad because you think it will be enjoyable – such as during the Super Bowl).

Research suggests that providing extrinsic motivation can “crowd out” intrinsic motivation, i.e., the inherent interest in a task. Another study showed that when we are paid to do something that is seemingly rote or trivial, our motivation to engage in that activity diminishes; if we need to be paid for the task, then it must not be inherently rewarding. Thus, if Members are compelled to watch an ad, but paid for their time, they may assume the brand or product is not inherently valuable. However, if the touchpoints are positioned as optional, an opportunity, or as part of a reciprocal relationship, then Members are less likely to view the relationship as purely transactional.

By including the ability for every Member to contribute all or part of their earnings to a social cause of their choice and knowing that their activity of watching an ad creates additional donations, Members become intrinsically connected to the idea that, “I have watched this ad to help X”. The act of donating becomes more important than the act of earning.


The Inevitability of Personal Data & IP Monetization – Why Getting Involved Now Matters

Recent news involving data security breaches, privacy concerns, and antitrust investigations by the DOJ further shows us all just how much We the People serve Silicon Valley as the raw materials for their technology factories. When you think about blockchain as a way to secure our personal data – and you think about AI as a matchmaking tool to position our personal data with those who are most interested in and therefore willing to pay for it – it doesn’t take long to realize that the ImagineBC model that allows individuals to take their personal data and put it to work for themselves was an inevitability. We – and that means all of you as well as ImagineBC – can now protect our information and control who has access to it. This has profound implications – and this article only touches on a small handful of them.

Brands and ad agencies should look into this model and start planning accordingly. If the interest shown by large brands in the Quibi model is any indicator – then the time is ripe for brands to better understand how Agency, Reciprocity, Persuasion, and Motivation factor into their digital marketing strategies in new world enabled by blockchain and AI.

Thank you for reading – please visit ImagineBC.net to learn more about our model – and I welcome your questions and comments below.

by Erik Rind, Founder & CEO – ImagineBC, Inc.