Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Advertising

Lucy Bater | 29 November 2016
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Advertising

Two industries have amalgamated and what may not yet be the end of humanity, could be the future of advertising.

Last year, a London based firm launched the world’s first ever artificially intelligent poster campaign which displayed different ads depending on how people reacted to them.

By installing a camera on the posters, they could measure the reaction and engagement of the passersby based on their expression. The adverts changed according to the reaction they provoked. The Darwinian approach to advertising killed off advertisements that did not provoke reaction, and regenerated those that did.

AI has advanced profoundly in a year and now marketers will be able to analyse the most sophisticated tool, the human mind. Machine thinking can mimic how humans think as they delve into the needs, wants and behaviours of the consumer.

Programmatic advertising (search engine marketing) uses algorithms that analyse a visitor’s behavior allowing for real time campaign optimization. New Zealand ad agencies have been able categorize content in order to meet the changing desires of its digital readers. Now AI is able to perform a more accurate categorization of content so that it can be matched with the right reader.

It all lies in AI prediction abilities. Last month, Apple Chief Tim Cook, talked of AI being integrated into Siri and Mail, enhancing their ability to anticipate the consumers next sentence. This machine learning technology can understand the customer as individuals, who they are, what they like and their consumption habits. People are no longer targeted as a group but as an individual.

As well as brands gaining a deeper insight into customer behaviours for targeted advertising, advances in cognitive technology will be able to predict the consumer’s future habits. Conversion prediction is the estimated probability that a consumer will act in a certain way based on their previous habits. It is no longer a case of what ads work but what ad works for whom, at what time and following what behavior. Future behaviours can be predicted based on stirring emotions. Personalised and curated content can be delivered to a customer before they even know they need it.

CamFind allows users to take photos of any object and the visual search technology tells you what it is.  This has the potential to follow the course of semantic advertising in which databases could identify objects within sentences, read and understand grammatical relationships between those objects and then infer relationships between those objects that the computer hasn’t been overtly informed of yet. Marketers can target consumers based on image search as well as images on social media.

This becomes extremely relevant to advertising when it is applied to tagging and categorizing content. The data can also be reciprocated. A creative agency can upload a series of images and text and AI will be able to determine the target audience from the minutest detail.

Creatives can use AI’s machine learning to figure what campaigns work and what combinations they work best in. It has the potential to use algorithms to distribute money towards the most effective marketing campaigns. Entire campaigns can be researched, launched, targeted and evaluated all without the intervention of the human hand.

This is not the end of ad agencies in New Zealand, but a start to an exciting future. AI is more than just advances in data analytics. Businesses need to get on board and build intelligent systems that that will enable them assess a myriad of behaviours of millions of users.