Introduction: Banning ICO Cryptocurrency Adverts

Well.. The cryptocurrency par-tay hasn’t finished just quite yet, It’s just that the lights have switched on and the adults are arriving.

If you haven’t already heard, the ’adults’ or social media/tech giants – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat & Mailchimp have all come out officially to announce that they will be banning ICO/cryptocurrency advertising on their platform/affiliate platforms. Why have these tech companies done this? Are they intimidated by the popularity of these ICO’s? Do they fear a future competitor could emerge from within this space? Or, are they simply being pressured into banning these adverts by regulators?

Either way you choose to look at it, ICO founders are left searching the web for an answer to the question of

“How to advertise without Facebook/Google/Twitter Ads”


  1. Banning ICO Adverts: Positives
  2. Free ICO Advertising Platforms
  3. Paid ICO Advertising Platforms
  4. ICO Marketing
  5. ICO Airdrops
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Crypto Influencers
  8. Cryptocurrency Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  9. ICO Marketing Concluding Tips

Banning ICO Adverts: Positives

While many may see the banning of ICO adverts as a negative, here at Qualified Demand, we believe this intervention will bring many positives (especially for startups trying to avoid high ICO advertising costs).

We believe that banning ICO ads on large social platforms, will encourage greater levels of creativity from ICO marketing teams. Higher levels of creativity will enhance overall ICO value and undoubtedly lead to increased investment.

As well as bringing increased creativity, banning ICO ads will provide much needed assistance to the crypto community for separating the real from the fake, or in other words – identifying scam ICO’s.

One final thought on social paid advertising. According to Incapsula’s 2016 bot traffic report, 51.8% of all website visitor traffic are bots. This leaves business owners asking two questions:

  • Does paid advertising work for my business?
  • Are my ads being seen by the right audience?

Free ICO Advertising Platforms

*Before we get into the finer details, it’s important to clarify that general discussion around ICO’s has NOT been banned. Google and large social platforms are simply banning paid advertising products related to cryptocurrencies.

As a result of the introduction of bans across many social media platforms and search engines, there has been an increase in searches made by ICO founders looking for different forms of free ICO advertising. Let us sift through the possibilities…

Facebook (Posts & Groups)

The Facebook ICO ban means ads promoting financial products and services have been prohibited. What hasn’t been banned is the creation of Facebook posts which provide information about ICO projects.

The Facebook ICO ban is limited to promoting financial products and services which are frequently linked with misleading/deceptive promotional activities. (Photo.

Another method for interacting with the cryptocurrency community on Facebook that hasn’t been banned is directly through groups. ICO Facebook groups allow for a pretty broad discussion around emerging ICO’s, scam ICO’s and other relevant cryptocurrency news.

ICO Facebook Group Examples

Facebook Negative – Fake or duplicate accounts.

According to  Business Insider’s article on Facebook’s 2017 3rd quarter earnings report, “10% of Facebook’s 2.07 billion monthly users are now estimated to be duplicate accounts” and “the social network’s number of fake accounts, or accounts not associated with a real account, increased from 1% to 2-3%”

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin responds to Elon Musk with his say on Facebook scam profiles (Twitter. 2018)

LinkedIn (Groups)

Groups on Linkedin are often overlooked as an option for ICO promotion. Depending on the type of group and its motives, you can usually find LinkedIn members that are up for discussing emerging ICO’s and the potential value they hold. An example of a group that offers something like this is the ICO investment network.

  • Unlike Facebook’s fake or duplicate accounts problem, LinkedIn allows users to visit group members profiles. This is a great feature if you are interested in connecting or following a knowledgeable person within the space.


There is a huge cryptocurrency community on Twitter!

Generally it is first for updates in ICO news and discussion, which makes it one of/if not the perfect platform for answering investor questions and announcing key ICO progress updates.

Within this large Twitter ICO crypto community are the crypto-influencers. If your tweets are retweeted or your ICO is mentioned by the right crypto-influencer, there is no doubt that it will be picked up by the greater crypto community.

Notable and Influential Twitter Accounts

  • @bytemaster7 – Daniel Larimer – Steemit Co-Founder
  • @Nicholas_Merten – Nicholas Merten – “Number 1 Crypto YouTube channel”
  • @aantonop – Andreas M. Antonopoulos – Author of Mastering Bitcoin & The Internet of Money
  • @IvanOnTech – Ivan On Tech – International Speaker & Blockchain Educator


Following and engaging with the crypto community in subreddit’s such as /CryptoCurrency, /icocrypto and /ethtrader with the intention of discussing ICO’s, topics around cryptocurrencies and the assets that come with them, are prime areas for promoting your upcoming ICO.

  • It must be noted however, that the rules for subreddit’s like these outline ‘no spam’ which means no excessive advertising and a focus on more discussion based posts.

The altcoin announcements board or Tokens (altcoins) board is an ideal place to promote your new ICO. But of course, advertising spam as outlined in the pinned posts is not allowed.

An ICO announcement on bitcointalk should generally be a one pager and will generally include:

  • Easy to understand token overview
  • Investor benefits
  • Token details (supply etc.)
  • Sale details
  • Bonuses (referrals, bounties etc)
  • Partners
  • Team members
  • Contact and social links

Owned Communities – Slack/Telegram/Discord

Building an audience on a messaging app is an absolute must for community management and targeting investors. Three very similar but popular messaging platforms for ICO’s and community management are Slack, Telegram and Discord.


Originally made for internal business messaging, has quickly filled up with ICO slack channels that are looking to interact with the cryptocurrency community on a more personal level.

  • One negative point for ICO Slack groups is how prone they are to scammers posting phishing links.


Following Telegram’s highly successful ICO, they too have become a favorite for large and small businesses. This is due to the fact that Telegram supergroups can have upto 100,000 members and they allow users to report groups/users that they feel may be breaking the platforms rules.

Telegram is more secure than other messenger apps like Whatsapp as it uses MTProto Protocol, which provide the highest levels of speed/reliability (even over weak connections).

  • ICO Telegram groups are probably one of the best methods for engaging with the community.
  • Be sure to visit a website like TelegramCryptogroups to find popular Telegram groups


Originally aimed at gamers, Discord like the other messaging platforms has developed into a popular choice for ICO groups.

From an ICO scam point of view, Discord are quite alert, as they value user safety very highly e.g.

  • Scan images in messages from non-friends
  • Two factor authentication and IP location lock

Publicise the solution, not the participation

Paid advertising is to be banned yes, but this will not prevent cryptocurrency related topics from appearing in Google search results, or from being talked about on social media platforms.

  • Many cryptocurrency related sites actually offer paid advertising, which in theory should target a more qualified audience.

It is important to note that in digital marketing, it is less common to charge for advertising as a flat fee. Advertising is much more effective when charged per impression or per click

BuySellAds – Cryptobar

Cryptobar (A child site of BuySellAds) is one example of a website that provides paid ICO advertising services. Their ads appear on over 10 cryptocurrency websites like CoinDesk or CoinGecko and charge per user engagement.

Related Post:  Creating an ICO White Paper

TokenAd – Crypto Ads

Powered by adnow native advertising,TokenAd provide video, bottomline, banner and native crypto advertising through 114 countries, that receive 120,000 impressions per month. They provide individual campaign statistics in a personal dashboard which allows for control over ad campaigns and traffic monetization.

Thousand Ether Homepage

This quirky dapp has the same concept as the Million Dollar Homepage, but rather than paying dollars for your display ad, you pay using Ethereum (0.001 ETH per pixel). However, in terms of paid advertising, this might not be the most effective and will totally depend on the amount of traction it receives within the broader cryptocurrency community.

ICO Listing Sites

Investors carry out searches, looking for the best ICO listing sites and subsequently will browse these sites looking for the next best ICO to participate in.

However, these sites are highly competitive and investors don’t usually spend long amounts of time on them. This is why it’s important to look into securing a premium advertising spot to make sure your ICO is seen first.

ICO Marketing

Paid advertising shouldn’t be the cornerstone of ICO marketing. Instead, for complete ICO success, there needs to be a focus on all aspects of digital marketing. ICO marketing strategy guides are the best starting point for building your marketing project.

ICO Airdrops

ICO Airdrop Campaign

What is an airdrop ICO?– An airdrop is when an ICO gives someone a token or tokens for free in exchange for them completing a task. This is usually a simple task like – joining a telegram group or referring a friend.

What is an airdrop token? – Airdrop tokens are the ICO’s tokens, which will be used for the duration of the offering.

Types Of ICO Airdrops

  • Sign up / Whitelist – e.g provide email and receive tokens
  • Social media –  e.g. tokens offered for social shares
  • Referrals – e.g. tokens for successful referrals

How to run an ICO Airdrop

Airdrops are created through the development of a smart contract. You will need a smart contract developer to complete this for you.

One important point to note is that the airdrop smart contract must include two pieces of information:

  • Array of addresses to send tokens to
  • Number of tokens to be sent

Airdrops aim to promote ICO user growth by incentivizing people with tokens for spreading the word about the project

ICO Airdrop List (Examples)

Airdrop Websites

ICO Airdrop Telegram Groups

Twitter Airdrop Handles

ICO Airdrop Reddit – Subreddits

Email Marketing

The first step before beginning any email marketing campaign is to collect email addresses. Two of the most effective ways of collecting email addresses can be done through

  1. A whitelist (emails gathered from people registering in advance to participate in an ICO) or
  2. An airdrop

In terms of investor acquisition, email marketing for your ICO can be incredibly effective. Engaging with the receiver through an action based email like ‘click for’ new promotion or offer will lure potential investors back to your landing page or Telegram group.

  • In the digital marketing world, email marketing is proven to be one of the most straightforward and cost effective.

*Mailchimp Prohibited List – Beware that Mailchimp’s acceptable use policy, has recently outlined that Mailchimp “cannot allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use MailChimp to facilitate or support any of those activities.”

Crypto Influencers

Crypto influencers and ICO advisers relevant to your projects space should be a critical component of an ICO advertising campaign. If you can successfully get an influencer of a particular stature to review what makes your ICO unique, you should expect to reap the rewards.

Pick The Right Influencers/Advisors

**It is important to note that a poorly formulated campaign using irrelevant influencers/sports personalities for promotional purposes could damage your ICO’s reputation.

Strategic Partnerships With Completed ICO’s or Established Corporations

Forming a strategic partnership with a large established corporation or successful ICO, could be a hugely significant step in your ICO’s quest for investment. An example of how this could work was seen back in late November 2017 when IOTA’s currency MIOTA rose 600% when they came out to say corporations like Microsoft, PWC and Accenture were participating in one of their new initiatives.

Future strategic partnerships could be sought after by

  • Governments
  • Large tech companies
  • Exchanges
  • Banks

Cryptocurrency Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

If implemented correctly, SEO can hold tremendous value for improving the long term growth of an ICO.

SEO Content

Easily the most important resource for any businesses website. Well optimised content will become visible in Google search results and appear in front of your target audience that may be interested in investing in your ICO. As well as publishing on your own site, sharing content to social media will reach a larger audience.


  • Time consuming and costly.

Link Building

Every time your ICO website is mentioned through a link on another website, Google will increase its domain authority. From Google’s point of view, a website that has high authority levels also has high popularity levels. This is a big factor in determining your websites Google page rank.

DoFollow Links

If you’re lucky enough to have a link to your site featured on another website, you should be keen to find out if that link is ‘dofollow’ or ‘nofollow’.

    • Dofollow: Give link juice and allow humans and search engines to follow the links
    • Nofollow: Don’t give link juice and only allow humans to follow.*

*It has been recently announced by Google that nofollow links will count as an outgoing link for page rank. However, it is unknown whether these follows share equal weight.

**Also to note, if the link is placed at the bottom of the page, it will carry less weight than a link placed towards the top of the page.

Internal Linking SEO

An internal link is simply a link on one page that directs the user to a related page. Internal links are generally used for:

  • Creating an easier navigation system for users on a website
  • Establishing a site or page hierarchy
  • Spreading link value around websites

SEO Audit

SEO audits are incredibly insightful, especially to new businesses that want to get a step ahead of their competitors. SEO audits will also outline how to;

  • improve search result rankings,
  • build website traffic and
  • increase the amount of ICO investments you receive.

To start improving your websites SEO performance today, make sure you get your free SEO audit.

ICO Marketing Concluding Tips

Some of the core points to remember when marketing an ICO are

  • ICO landing pages need to stand out and tell investors why they should be investing (e.g expected industry growth).
  • ICO white paper is generally the second encounter (after the landing page) an investor has with your ICO. It needs to explain the ICO, the team, the roadmap goals and how you will achieve them.
  • What problem is your ICO solving? Tell your story to potential investors early on and remember, ICO’s need to create great products or services in order to stand out.
  • Generate highest possible levels of trust. This can be done through your team. Include photos, videos and social links, which prove to investors there are real people behind this project.