More than a century ago Mary Shelley published a famous novel about a young science student Victor Frankenstein, who created a grotesque and at the same time a sensitive creature with the help of scientific experiment. The story is interesting in terms of raising up the questions that are essential even today: Are we responsible for our creations? Can we predict all the outturns that might come out of our creation?
With science, technology and software development making huge leaps in today’s world, the development of artificial intelligence is a burning topic now, as this is something that will potentially influence our future in general, and the future development of advertising technology in particular.
Generally, artificial intelligence (AI) can be referred to as an area of computer science that focuses on the creation of intelligent machines that can work and react as human beings. Knowledge engineering, machine learning, machine perception and robotics are all parts of artificial intelligence.
There are a lot of proponents of artificial intelligence claiming that it will make our human lives and work much easier, – on the other side are those arguing that there will be no need for human work anymore which will leave to the extended problem of unemployment. So, are we creating a new ‘Frankenstein’ and are not fully aware of the consequences of further developing artificial intelligence or is it all just paranoia that stands in the way of natural scientific and technological development? And what impact will AI have on ad tech industry?
Advertising technology has been extensively developing since the popularity and availability of the computers and the Internet. Today there’s hardly any company, big or small, that wouldn’t use ad tech in its marketing strategies. Since more and more people spend their time online (6 hours in daily average), the industries have to respond to such an increasing trend in order not to lose their business. It’s predicted that this tendency will be growing, with, probably, more accent on the usage of smartphones as the main device for browsing things on the Internet. It’s quite obvious as smartphones have already become accessible to the majority of people who use the gadgets on their way to work or home while traveling. All the businesses, be it a retail store or an engineering company, should take this changes into account to reach the potential customers and let them know about their products or services.
Thus, the Internet has completely changed the advertising industry. It has made advertising more targeted and customized, more audience-specific and more measurable. Since the technology is developing at the accelerated speed, there’s a need to be constantly aware of the latest trends in the market in order not to become obsolete. Ad tech and AI aren’t exceptions, besides there is a direct relation between them.
What is machine learning?
Machine learning, in general, can be defined as a method of data analysis and the use of certain algorithms that allow finding some hidden meaning without being explicitly programmed how and where to find those meanings. It is the ability of the computers to use the new data for some future scenarios. It greatly impacts almost every industry, and advertising isn’t an exception. Machine learning can be successfully used in maximizing real-time bidding by helping determine the optimal amount to bid on every impression. Machine learning algorithm can also be applied for constructing specific audience clusters and, thus, creating lookalike targeting, which means that a particular ad will be shown only to the people with a high likelihood of response.
Advertisers are using all the benefits of programmatic technology to improve ads in real time, to reach right people at the right time. Programmatic advertising is, basically, the automated process of buying and placing the ads to the specific audiences and demographics. It has already proved to be an efficient tool in the marketing area, and this trend is expected to continue as artificial intelligence is going to get better and better. Big powerful companies, like Google and Facebook, are pouring investments into artificial intelligence research and further improvement. Thus, speaking of future ad tech trends and AI, ad tech will be using the benefits from AI as advertisers will have better understanding of consumers; AI-powered systems will be better analyzing big data coming from social media and similar sources which would give opportunities for creating better ads, better analysis and targeting the audience in better ways.
On the flip side of the coin are the concerns about privacy. Some people don’t mind the usage of big data and don’t consider it as a personal or identity threat, whereas other people show growing concern about the possible abuse of their personal information and already do everything possible to protect themselves. There’s a growing tendency to use ad block software on different devices, especially smartphones. Around 10% of US desktop internet population use ad blockers (Comscore).
And this is something that should be taken into consideration by the companies as well. If there’s such a tendency, it means that more and more people are overwhelmed and get irritated by different ads that constant pop-ups. It also means that advertising starts getting negative connotations with further growing endeavors of their avoidance. Thus, the next challenge for the digital advertising industry is to retain a rather positive connotation of advertising which main concern should be not imposing something on the person who isn’t interested in the product, but rather letting know an individual who is interested in a particular product about its availability. And this is the point where AI might be useful by assisting in better spotting and targeting only the people who are really interested in a certain product. And so how does it all work practically and what do experts think about the future?
What are the trends?
James Canton, CEO of the Institute for Global Futures and former Apple executive, expresses the opinion that “the convergence of big data with AI is inevitable as the automation of smarter decision-making is the next evolution of big data, and there’ll be no big data without AI.” According to him, AI will be used for extracting meaning, enabling faster decisions from massive big data sources and shaping better outcomes, and this will greatly influence global business, prosperity, and planetary development. He views the convergence of big data and AI as a trending factor that should be taken into account, and the companies should constantly be refreshing their strategies and be prepared for the changes. It only further proves that big data, AI will have a great impact on every company, its marketing strategy in general, and advertising area in particular. Some successful startup companies, like Captify, are already embracing big data analysis to leverage the effectiveness of each ad. It uses retargeting technology by which users view banner ads based on their search behavior. It adds more value to advertisers through great performance and excellent results.
Thus, in order to stay contemporary, innovative and engaging, it’s quite essential to take into account new trends and start implementing them to gain better ROI. And the top new trends for retaining customer’s attention and gathering new ones are:
- First of all, the ability to embrace new changes quickly and react to them, even though the first attempts might not be as successful. In the long run, there’s risk in everything we do, but we can only become better through some failures and mistakes.
- AI and big data will become closely related to ad tech industry making it more consumer-centered and, probably, less imposing. A lot of companies might use the services of specialized outsourcing marketing companies that will become more advanced embracing all the latest trends.
- There will be a rise in contextually relevant ads, like native advertising that blend pretty well with the user experience. It will help eliminate the problem of customers’ growing irritation with the unwanted ads.
- There will be more attention paid to the individuality of the potential customer due to the data collection and better analysis of the results. Ads will become hyper-personalized and, thus, more interesting and exciting for every individual.
While the concept of creating a new Frankenstein seems scary to us, we can’t make further progress without moving further along the road. Frankenstein is just a reminder for us to be careful and avoid making huge and inevitable mistakes that can lead to unforeseen outcomes. If we talk about AI, we still can’t be exactly sure where we’ll go with it, but so far AI has been used as a helpful tool, – besides, human beings will always be in control as machines, no matter how smart they can be, will lack the humans’ creative spark.