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SteemIt Evolves – Can It Win Advertisers?

Posted in Cryptos

SteemIt. Besides writing the most accurate article on the platform SteemIt, the platform has evolved in ways that we expected in that post. At the time, people didn’t understand the platform, its economic model, or details and jumped on board. As we wrote later, SteemIt has evolved since then and one big question – since it aims to be a social media platform – is can SteemIt attract advertisers? When we consider the appeal of SteemIt from a perspective of where it may offer the most value in the future, advertising and marketing are two ways in which SteemIt can evolve to the next level.


As mentioned in the above linked post, SteemIt changed its economic model which has led to a bottoming effect in the past six months with an expected rebound. Overall, the platform has improved drastically with users like @furion creating SteemSports and also a video player that will be built on SteemIt. The user @jesta has built an experimental forum on top of Steem’s blockchain as well – an experiment that may integrate well with SteemIt, especially if it answers popular questions for new users.

Overall, some users have attempted to help new members and we can see growth in the past month that may be more sustainable, provided that new users feel welcome and feel that their questions can be answered. One positive surprise I’ve also seen is some maturity in SteemIt’s tags: one would not expect to visit Reddit and see the top 10 tags all about Reddit. On social media, I expect to see mature tags like life, photography, art, food, travel, etc as these interest people the most, not the platform itself. Most people on Facebook do not talk about the value of Facebook; this is understood since it’s being used.

SteemIt has evolved and is becoming a more mature platform. If SteemIt can appeal to marketing and advertising by offering a platform that adds value, SteemIt may become a serious social media contender.

Marketing: Let’s Start With A Test

Look at the below images from FashionMia and answer this question as it relates to SteemIt: using these images and a short post, would SteemIt be an effective advertising platform?

How would a site like FashionMia sell its apparel on SteemIt?

Think Like An Advertiser

Suppose that you were offered the chance to advertise a platform where people received rewards to upvote content without reading it or looking at it. When you looked at the content, you saw that more people upvote content than read it and in some cases, no one reads the content, they simply upvote it! As bizarre as it sounds, there is no incentive to write posts or produce content that receives views; it’s the number of votes and the rewards that matter. In fact, you can make a lot of rewards with few reads and many upvotes.

Think about that for a second. Then, think about that same fact as an advertiser. The two images above this rely on people seeing something they want, clicking on it, and investigating the product. If people are able to upvote on content, receive rewards for curating it, and the advertiser receives funds for the post, but not a sell, this creates a perverse incentive structure. The goal of apparel is to sell apparel, not posts.

In other words, SteemIt does not offer most advertisers a strong platform because the reward structure is not based on attention, and attention is the currency of marketing. The irony here is that a platform which does not pay its users is more likely to offer advertisers a better platform since the lack of a reward means a person’s attention is legitimate. You can see most comments on posts as proof of this; they add next to nothing in value.

Can the Rewards Change?

If SteemIt wants to attract advertisers in the long run, one change it can make is the reward structure for writers and curators on the basis of views rather than votes. Curator voting can be useful for who voted when, but the views determining a payout is much more appealing to an advertiser than the votes. Consider these two scenarios:

  1. You write a post to sell a product and receive a 50 Steem reward for the post, but only 2 views.
  2. You write a post to sell a product and receive 0.50 Steem reward for the post and 1281 views.

People with extensive marketing experience will prefer the latter because in the world of marketing, 3-5% of views equal closes (relative to how good you are at closing sales).

In theory, this wouldn’t be a problem except that the current reward structure does not benefit views, rather votes. This means that SteemIt lacks strong utility for advertisers and marketers with its current model and like we’ve highlighted in the past, this can change in future versions of SteemIt.

Final Thoughts

Consider that advertising may not be a long term goal. SteemIt operates as a fun gaming platform and game developers could easily integrate Steem with their games. Advertising will add a significant amount of value to SteemIt, if they can attract it. Still, SteemIt may not choose this route and this post serves as a reminder that attention is the ultimate incentive in advertising.


The following article covers a token or element in the cryptosphere. The cryptosphere is new and exciting, but changes rapidly and often in ways that do not benefit users. By the time this article is published, changes may have already occurred. Most tokens in the cryptosphere are complete scams that are get-rich-quick-schemes for insiders. Often, we cannot know this beforehand and only later discover this. A person should only trade with money that they’re willing to lose because losses are guaranteed. If you choose to participate in purchasing a token in the cryptosphere, you should do so with the full expectation of a loss and you should also expect it to change in a manner that does not benefit you. There are very few good ideas in the cryptosphere. Finally, by reading this post, you agree that you’ve read our disclosure.


    Any chance you will be writing a little on Dash’s Evolution platform? I keep hearing about how digital currencies need a killer ap. Is this a possible first iteration of what they’re talking about? I’m really interested to hear what you have to say.

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