Google, Facebook and Twitter generated millions of page views, raised awareness and increased revenue for ICOs. So how will crypto projects reach their target audience without being able to advertise on the major social media platforms and search engines?

With the lion’s share of the PPC (Pay Per Click) market (roughly 67 per cent), the use of Google AdWords was top of mind for many ICO founders. That carpet is being pulled off the floor in June as Google bans any cryptocurrency or ICO related advertisements.

Facebook changed its advertising policy to “eliminate misleading or deceptive promotional practices in ads for financial products and services”. Yeah, they’re looking at you spammers, Ponzis, Shitcoins, Pump and dump schemes and other garbage we really don’t need in Crypto.

Twitter began blocking advertising in March. And even LinkedIn, “the professional network” is now blocking all crypto-related adverts.

ICO projects are excluded from reaching 70 percent of the world’s digital ad market. That’s a lot of screens, eyeballs and traffic in a pond where you cannot fish. For many projects this is the kiss of death.

But this does not have to be the end of your advertising and marketing road. Below you will learn the three key elements you need to turn this around. Strategic digital marketing plan. Content marketing plan and community-building plan.

Where can you advertise your ICO?

The better question is “How can we effectively reach the target audience for our ICO?”

First and foremost, before you decide on moving your advertising budget around, you might want to gain a full understanding of what digital marketing strategies will work for your project. You may not even need to advertise to connect with your audience. But you must add value, connect and build relationships.

ICO marketing requires more than simply blasting out advertisements on social media or spending on PPC with Google Adwords. Effective ICO advertising needs to be part of an extensive digital marketing strategy.

The goal is to acquire new investors, provide relevant content and build a strong, loyal and active community.

Problems of advertising

Because of the noise on social media, there is a tendency of site visitors to ignore your ICO advert. Consciously or subconsciously they ignore what you’re selling or promoting. Research has shown that users tend to ignore banners even when they contain information visitors are actively seeking. This “banner blindness” was first observed in a 1998 study where 100 per cent of the users scrolled past obvious links.

Also Read: How Blockchain Space aims to support Indonesia’s budding blockchain industry

Fast forward to now and consider the increased use of ad-blocking software, turning off graphics, and using lite versions of social media sites with fewer interruptions.

The bottom line is users will view what they WANT to view. The more you push, the faster they pull away. And if they don’t want to receive your information then your audience or offer needs to be tweaked.

The Whitepaper wipeout

Your ICO whitepaper probably includes information about hard caps, tokenomics and technology. But how much does it include about your marketing strategy?

Successful ICOs execute an integrated marketing, public relations and advertising strategy. It is apparent in the buzz, visibility and community building results. The hype reaches a fever pitch by design not by accident.

Do you want your target audience raving about your Pre-ICO on Telegram, Reddit and BitcoinTalk?

Imagine thousands of your fans telling their friends to join the whitelist and get in on the buy for your ICO. This is crowdfunding done right. And you won’t even miss not being able to buy advertising space on Facebook, Google and Twitter. You might have to even cancel the ICO — because you sold out in Pre-ICO.

You talking to me?

One of the biggest mistakes ICO organizers make is not knowing their audience. Trust me — it is not “everybody”. You have to determine who you are trying to reach. What is the size of your target universe? Are you seeking users, customers or investors? Are your primary influencers in the crypto community, the blockchain world or some outside niche industry?

One of your biggest opportunities is to get this right so that you maximize your advertising budget at every level.

talking to me

Here are some questions for you to consider. Which social media platforms does your audience prefer? How are you engaging and adding value to them on these platforms? Social media is great for data-mining for preferences, lifestyles and affinities. But what do THEY want to do?

To build engagement find the forums, subreddits, and other sources your audience turns to for relevant content.

What would they type into Google Search to find your service, product or ICO? You should develop a list of keywords, key phrases, search volume, search competition and CPC (Cost Per Click) for your target audience.

And don’t forget to include your CTA (Call to Action). What do you want them to do? Tell them.

Solution — three key elements

ICOs can be successful in spite of the new advertising bans.

Denis Farnosov, CEO, and Founder, AlfaToken says, “ICO projects will look for other platforms that will allow ICO advertising. This includes Telegram channels, ICO tracking websites (some of them don’t integrate their banner ads with Google), crypto media websites and review sites. ICOs are going to be forced to use more content based marketing. This means articles, videos, audios that share the message in a manner that is more editorial and newsworthy style.”

1. Strategic digital marketing plan

Do you know why you’re doing what you’re doing? The digital marketing plan begins with defining the ICO target audience. It is developed based on business goals, customer insights and market situation. This strategic approach provides a clear vision from Pre-ICO to project launch and listing.


  • Long-term vision
  • Data-driven decisions
  • A framework for thinking

2. Content marketing plan

The ultimate aim is to create content that’s informative and entertaining, yet still serve your ICO audience and business goals. You are creating and distributing content to attract, engage and acquire your audience. This is an ongoing process and requires a steady stream of fresh material. A defining element is this content is not promotional at its core. Instead, it is helpful, interesting and valuable on its own merits.


  • Commands the attention of your audience
  • Builds a loyal fan base
  • Positions your brand as the authority

3. Community building plan

It is incredibly important to build your cryptocurrency community. If people are going to invest their money, time and attention in your project then your digital presence matters. It’s called “crowdfunding” for a reason. Establish two-way communication with your audience by interacting with them before, during and after your ICO. Even if you target professional or institutional investors you need hype and positive buzz in your grassroots community.


  • Increases confidence in ICO project
  • Helps capture attention of whales (high dollar investors)
  • Increases long-term viability of ICO project


You can effectively market your ICO without advertising on Facebook, Google or Twitter. This will require you to develop strategic tools. Make sure that your ICO includes a Strategic Digital Marketing Plan. You can solidify this with a Content Marketing Plan and your Community Building Plan.

Also Read: 6 reasons why blockchain matters to small businesses

There’s a lot that goes into creating an effective strategic marketing plan for your ICO. Review your existing strategic digital marketing plan in light of the advertising bans on social media. Do you need to make adjustments? What tactics will you use to replace the advertising and marketing reach?

Don’t delay because investors, customers and influencers are watching and waiting.

e27 publishes relevant guest contributions from the community. Share your honest opinions and expert knowledge by submitting your content here.