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Changing paradigms in the ad tech industry

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Analysing moods, taste, and needs in the age of AI / ML

Written almost 110 years ago L. Frank Baum’s description of the ‘Mechanical Man’ powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a humorous oddity in the fantasy world. While we may not have Tik-Tok except on our screens, we do have smart technology. The urge to streamline our existence has let us create a host of AI-based applications that promise to do nearly everything for us. And with tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft joining forces to create the partnership on AI, it’s clear that smart tools are destined to create an even bigger business.

As we plough ahead to 2018, it strikes me that we are moving into a new and exciting phase of technology. Just 10 years ago the concept of mobile advertising was almost non-existent. But with the explosion of mobile consumer devices and tailor-made content for enhancing mobile experience, mobile ads have become a major advertising phenomenon. We are acutely aware, how we are glued to our devices. Studies have shown that on an average we check our phone at least 60 times a day. This skyrocketing usage levels have made mobile phones a bubbling cauldron of data at an individual level.

But for any business, advertising is the backbone – a notion common around the world – and incidentally also the biggest source for data generation. In the past, data was a messy ordeal, today a lot of the work is cut down with the help of self-learning algorithms meant for capturing and analysing the data collected. Since smartphones generate 10 times more data then desktops, the need for insights into this data has increased dramatically. With AI being one of the most buzzed-about-terms in technology, its market is estimated to reach about $5.05 billion USD by 2020.

These days, of course, Machine Learning (ML) and AI have become a hot topic for conversation across the industry. Yet interestingly, much of the public’s opinions around AI-ML are somewhat negative, deeming it too Big brother in nature for comfort. But if there is one industry that has seamlessly integrated itself with AI-ML, it would be advertising. These are techniques that have applications, from recommendation engines to predictive analytics and beyond.

AI-ML tools have come a long way and are way more advanced than the tools of the past. They are positioned as virtual personal assistants, which are able to perform tasks on command. They probe deep into a user’s habit and preference; these tools use data to tailor and forecast a consumer’s preference and action. This tech today carries a lot of value as just buying ad inventory isn’t enough anymore.

The ad industry is ahead in adopting revolutionary technologies that improve ad experience, use ML as a part of their connection systems, i.e. the likelihood that the ad would be viewed, clicked or downloaded based on previous observations and data collected. They also use data to meet various objectives, experts define this as Deep Neural Learning.

With the use of advanced algorithms that are present today, we get a complete and accurate picture of what the consumer wants. ML-AI are big on data, and each step the consumer takes from click to action to download is analysed.

AI-ML has forever changed the way of digital advertising. Advertising agencies that use AI-ML and image recognition are now hyper-targeting their consumers by learning their interests and tastes. It’s allowing us to formulate strategies to best engage our consumer and potential new markets like never before. But there’s still room for further growth and that’s why marketers need to pay attention to competitive marketing and how AI falls into the equation.

But this is only the beginning. With continuous enhancements and Natural Language Processing (NLP)- a cognitive ML technology that detects trends in user traffics and behaviour by analysing data content as the human brain does – underway, it could allow ads to be matched based on context or emotions rather than simple keywords.

Every day we see this debate between human beings and AI. It has become an important aspect to marketers. These tools help marketers with different tasks, connect them to their consumers in real time and assist in finding the right place. These devices are starting to do a better job of anticipating our desires, needs, and our personalities than ever before. AI is a fast-developing tool whose future is too hazy to predict. We may have tools that could analyse a user’s moods, taste, and needs – information that will not only allow marketers to optimize ads in the moment, but also predict what consumers will want next.

AI is set to be an unavoidable and indispensable part of the future digital advertising ecosystem, so those that want to be at the forefront of this evolution need to start getting involved. Marketers are realizing AI-ML’s potential as a tool to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns. AI is the true future for advertisers to define the potential target audience and define the objective of a successful digital advertising campaign. It will not pose a threat but help advertisers to build strong relationships with their consumers. While for some, the notion of AI represents a step into science fiction, there are iterations that have real-world implications at this moment. This version of AI will not bring about the downfall of humanity, but rather be used to shape how advertising is created and targeted in future.


Andesh Bhatti is the Founder & CEO of Collectcent.

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Andesh Bhatti

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