Meet your new team member: AI

posted September 11, 2017

Meet your new team member: AI

Hillary Painter

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the news right now. Most prominently making headlines with Elon Musk voicing his opinion that, if not regulated, AI will spark WWIII. As that’s a topic better debated by someone more knowledgeable about the complex technology, and I’m more than a couple math classes away from that, I’ll steer away from addressing that here.

What I am interested in highlighting is how far the technology has come and specific applications that are directly impacting the advertising and marketing industry today. It’s been extremely exciting to see the evolution of this technology and how it’s increasing not only productivity but economic growth across multiple industries.

AI is defined as the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Computers have the ability to digest more data and at a faster speed than humans. For advertisers it can automate a lot of processes like targeting consumers, buying media, personalizing and optimizing creative. This is opening up new opportunities for smarter marketing decisions and approaches.

Image recognition is advancing.

I remember the first time Facebook suggested tags of friends in my photo and I thought “how did you know that was Stacy?!” Facebook’s AI and machine learning teams have developed methods for training data sets and are faster than anything else available today. They are openly sharing their work and see opportunity for this to benefit companies that are taking in large amounts of visual data that need to be processed quickly. Think the healthcare industry.

These types of visual recognition models are also being seen in social listening tools that we use for our clients today. Dagger subscribes to the Crimson Hexagon platform and they have recently come out with a new image analysis feature.  

Snapchat Founder, Evan Spiegel, noted “Photos are no longer just a means of capturing a moment, they are a means of communicating.” With the influx of image-based communications, this is changing the way brands communicate with consumers and it’s our job to stay up to date on the constantly evolving technology that supports this. Our Crimson Hexagon representative noted that while image analysis technology is still new, it allows brands to gain more powerful insights on who is using their product, how they are using it, and how they feel about it—all without the need for text. The fact that there is a large percentage of images being shared without text, having this technology is crucial to identify those audiences interacting with your product or logo that might have otherwise been overlooked.

Media planning and buying is changing.

AI is able to take on the time consuming and manual tasks like evaluating numbers, placements and optimizing ads based on what’s performing at a much faster speed than humans can, which leaves media planners the ability to focus more on the strategy and creative. Adgorithms launched Albert, the world’s first and only AI Marketing Platform, which is designed to make digital media buying decisions on behalf of brands. It’s essentially taking programmatic advertising to another level. Cosabella is a great example of a brand that’s using Albert to automate process and ultimately move the needle for them. Since campaign launch, the brand has seen 336% ROAS and 155% increase in revenue. They now trust Albert to make critical campaign decisions.

Ad creation is evolving.  

The role AI is playing with creative demonstrates its advancement in creative problem solving. Saatchi and Saatchi used IBM Watson to make tailored content for a quirky ad campaign for the Toyota RAV4 SUV called the “RAVtivity machine.” The agency wanted to connect the car to the target’s favorite activity. My favorite example is when martial arts and barbecue are paired into a new sport called Tai Kwan Tenderizer. Leveraging the technology from IBM Watson, they were able to write thousands of scripts and serve up targeted videos in real time.

Though Saatchi still had a level of video production and planning involved with this particular campaign, their future hope is to use Watson to create on demand, real time videos.

As marketers, it’s important to understand how AI can complement existing initiatives as opposed to simply replacing them.

Computers are good at performing repetitive tasks, like monitoring media mentions, while leaving the human advantage focused around creative, problem solving and social skills.

With IBM and MIT partnering and investing $240M into an AI research lab, I’m excited to stay close on the breakthroughs they will produce and how they will help guide the development of AI.

Is your company ready to invest in an algorithmic future?