Why the ad industry shouldn't fear the rise of the robots

16/03/2017
Blog posted by Dale Lovell
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Dale Lovell, UK MD & Chief Digital Officer of native advertising platform Adyoulike writes about robots.

A recent report from The Sunday Times detailed the jobs most at risk of being autotonimised, thanks to artificial intelligence technology. If you’re a credit analyst or broker, you might have reason to worry about how futureproofed your job is, according to the newspaper. However, for those within the advertising industry, The Sunday Times’ story is to be welcomed, it estimated that they have just a 3.8% chance of being replaced by a robot. 

In truth, beyond the issue of jobs, the industry as a whole has little to fear from AI. In my opinion, the technology will help us to replicate all the process that the human brain is able to do in advertising on a larger scale, while also enabling significant efficiencies that are not possible without technology. A recent report from Infosys, who specialise in technology services and consulting, found a clear link between business’ revenue growth and the amount of time they had implemented AI technology. The report emphasises that early adoption of AI enables businesses to experience fast growth in comparison to those who have yet to implement this technology.

Some may still not be aware of it or may not wish to acknowledge it, but AI has an ever increasing role to play in our industry.

Previously, we relied upon assumptions about consumer behaviour, then targeting technology came along to help us refine how we would deliver ads to specific individuals based on their online behaviour. However, current targeting practices tend to focus more on type of device, capping limits, the website and socio-demographic categories that are often not particularly relevant in my opinion. This approach results in delivering poor user experiences, which can have a huge negative impact on brands and publishers. Furthermore, just as worryingly, this can help play into the hands of the adblockers. Targeting now finds itself in a strange situation - where once it revolutionised the industry, it’s now facing up to the fact that it will have to evolve because technology such as AI, are pushing it far beyond its current limitations. 

At Adyoulike we’ve been the first globally to expand into the AI space using Watson to create better semantic targeting for native advertising, so we know firsthand how powerful it can be. Obviously, Watson wasn’t meant for advertising originally, but what it offers to marketers is truly incredible. From our experience to date, it has an unrivalled ability to create vastly better and more accurate targeting for the native ad format and we’ve received immense positive response to the technology to date. 

If you were to implement Watson tomorrow, in practice, it is able to analyse every piece of key data relating to every ad page generated, working on thousands of pages per second. Within this deep analysis, it gives detailed and thorough feedback on relevancy percentage on keywords, IAB categories, concepts and sentiment of the page, while also gauging emotions. This information is all delivered in real time, enabling to make a campaign more impactful and efficient. 

For us as a company, the introduction of IBM’s Watson made perfect sense. At Adyoulike we strongly feel that everyone within the industry should embrace a tool like Watson and be empowered by it. By applying it to native campaigns, your audiences will be served with much more relevant ads that they actually want to see and interact with, and in turn this will bring better return on every pound you’ve invested. This is especially true when it’s applied to native advertising. As we know, one of the larger achievement of the native-ad format is the connection it creates between a brand and its target audience, and by implementing AI into this mix, the appeals becomes even greater. With AI, publishers will be able to improve their set of blacklist criteria and stop ads appearing on their pages where they aren’t appropriate. On the other hand, external ads can then be placed correctly and add value to the user’s journey. This is truly revolutionary.

If truth be told, our industry has little to fear from the rise of the robots and technology like IBM’s Watson will ultimately provide us with the necessary technology to create campaigns that are more efficient and effective, help drive higher levels of ROI and make our everyday jobs much easier.

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