Article

Dale Lovell
Dale Lovell 1 February 2017

Moving Beyond The Headlines: Marketers, AI Is Our Friend

Should marketers fear the march of the robots? Much of the conversation relating to artificial intelligence (AI), paint a picture of humans losing their jobs in the place of machines, with lists being bandied about of professions where jobs are at risk.

However, for the digital advertising industry, little is to be feared from AI, as in my opinion, it will enable us to do what the human brain is able to do, but at a much greater scale, while also providing efficiency that would not be possible without technology.

In a bygone era marketers and publishers relied solely on assumptions about consumer behavior, but along came targeting technology which could deliver ads to specific individuals based on their behavior online. However, we’re now at a stage in the industry whereby targeting, which once revolutionised the industry, is itself being forced to evolve due to the prevalence of new technologies which push it beyond its current limitations.

Regular advertising targeting focuses more on device, capping, a website and socio-demographic categories that are often not particularly relevant. Such an approach has huge limitations and ultimately results in poor user experiences, which can impact upon brands and publishers in a negative way. A by-product of this is that it may also have a part to play in why ad blocking is on the rise.

This antiquated type of online targeting is nearly seen as being a bit of an oxymoron in the industry at this stage, because it is so untargeted. Yet AI is going to completely change the targeting, and by extension the entire industry, beyond recognition.

Take the example of IBM’s Watson, it obviously wasn’t meant for advertising originally. Yet, since it has been applied to the industry we’re seeing its potential in helping to run much better digital advertising campaigns. At ADYOULIKE we’ve actually expanded into the AI space using Watson to create better semantic targeting for native advertising and we were also the first in the world to do so.

Watson offers an unrivalled ability to create vastly better and more accurate targeting for the native ad format and we’ve had a hugely positive response to the technology to date. In practice, Watson is able to analyse every piece of key data relating to every ad page generated , working on thousands of pages per second. Within this analysis, it is able to give detailed feedback on relevancy percentage on keywords, IAB categories, concepts and sentiment of the page, while also gauging emotions. All this information is also delivered in real time, enabling the industry to take control instantly and make a campaign more impactful and efficient.

From our perspective, the introduction of IBM’s Watson was a no-brainer, the industry deserves technology that achieves more sophisticated targeting. We strongly believe that everyone within the digital advertising ecosystem should be empowered with such a tool, like Watson. By doing so, end user audiences will be served with much more relevant ads that they actually want to see and interact with, and in turn this will bring better return on every pound invested. In the long run, I think that a partnership such as our’s will be the norm in an industry looking for increasingly deeper targeting.

Companies unable to integrate that level of AI into their digital advertising efforts will be marginalised and likely not survive.

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