- Consumer backlash against tactics like re-targeting have led to an industry-wide mandate to adopt stronger privacy protections for consumer behavior on the internet.
- However, the reality remains that ads that are relevant without feeling invasive are appreciated by a majority of consumers who understand ads help pay for content they enjoy
- To ensure advertisers are still able to create compelling, relevant messaging for potential customers without third-party tracking, they should look to AI
- The potential of AI to augment human creativity and capacity remains unfulfilled across the industry. We should look beyond traditional applications for AI in advertising to tools that help us identify influencers, optimize creative, and measure sentiment.
It is natural to get that not-so-warm-and-fuzzy-feeling when an ad starts following you around the internet. Even if it’s been proven that no, your devices aren’t actually listening to you, a lot of our web-browsing can border on subconscious.
Maybe you didn’t even mean to swipe the Instagram ad of the cute beach rental, it will still be there in your feed, tempting you, for weeks.
While most people don’t love the idea of being tracked – I mean honestly, who would, the truth is that most consumers actually appreciate relevant ads.
The value exchange goes back generations – you underwrite my content and I will consume and consider your advertising. And now, if I don’t want that, I’ll pay my own way and subscribe to the content I want without ads.
Fortunately for the tracking-wary, the advertising industry is undergoing a massive shift as identifiers and the cookies used to trace your browsing history are poised to disappear.
These shifts are in response to a greater demand for data privacy and transparency into how consumer data is measured and used.
While these new controls will benefit consumers, publishers and app developers who haven’t prepared for these changes could soon find themselves in a difficult situation.
Adapting to the end of the cookie
To continue to deliver successful campaigns, the industry needs new ways to gather new insights at scale, while still continuing to give consumer more control over how their data is collected and viewed.
By integrating AI into their advertising strategies, advertisers can augment human thinking, and process the data they have at scale. In the long run, an embrace of AI will not only help them execute better, but also make smarter decisions.
AI can also help advertisers tap data points that have not traditionally been harnessed, including point of sale insights, weather data, zip codes or even the environmental or social conditions in a specific location. And unlike the traditional tools, AI can be applied across the digital advertising ecosystem to include programmatic exchanges, display ads, social, search, video, email and digital out-of-home.
It can do this by measuring sentiment and use and then dynamically assembling creative in real time onto a platform.
The potential of tapping AI for advertising
It doesn’t need to be this convoluted. Already, well-trained AI can be used to assemble advertising elements into a precise ad that is more likely to appeal to a particular user.
It can match these ads based on user sentiment or context, resulting in a placement that’s more likely to be effective. And it can do all of this rapidly, at scale.
AI can also do all of this without tracking anyone’s browser history. It can be done in a way that leads to more effective campaigns that generate trust and yield a higher ROI.
There is an enormous opportunity for advertisers, brands, publishers and technology companies to come together and use AI to provide consumers real value in exchange for their content.
Consumers can rejoice that the days of “creepy” tracking-based ads will soon be over. However, advertisers can rejoice as well. By embracing new tools they can develop smarter, more targeted and more enriching ways for engaging with their customers.
Randi Stipes is the Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson Advertising, The Weather Company and Developer Marketing, a position she has held since 2018, focused on both the B2C and B2B aspects of the portfolio. In her role, she takes an agile, data-driven approach to deliver measurable results for consumers and clients across The Weather Company, Watson Media and Watson Advertising.