How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact TV and Video Advertising?

Sandy Drayton  | 

Business leaders around the world are getting excited about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). One recent study cited by Forbes predicted that AI tech has the potential to impact business productivity by 40% or more by the year 2035. And in the advertising industry, AI is already being used by many agencies to manage complex automated digital campaigns like programmatic buying. But as AI’s potential impact on all aspects of the advertising process continues to expand, many marketers seem unsure about how best to incorporate it into their strategies. Consider that in a December 2017 survey about the technologies for which marketing executives feel least prepared, AI was the number one answer. How then, will AI be used for ad formats like video advertising in the future? Here are three potential opportunities.

It Will Make Ad Campaigns More Efficient
The biggest ad-related opportunity with artificial intelligence will be helping advertisers make their campaigns more efficient. In fact, according to an analysis of AI in advertising by Axios, many big agencies are already using the technology to help them manage large data-driven campaigns. This will be a big benefit for marketers in the years to come, as they look for methods to more efficiently use scarce media dollars and pick the right ad formats for campaigns. And according to some AI experts, many brands are already seeing optimization lifts since deploying AI technology. “Some campaigns are up to 70% more efficient,” said Mark Simpson, VP of Offering Management for Watson Marketing at IBM, in the Axios article. “On average, most campaigns are 35% more efficient … There are real results coming out of that.”

It Will Change How Ads Are Measured
Artificial intelligence isn’t just making ad buying more efficient. It’s also changing the way marketers measure the success of their campaigns. Many of the current measurement techniques used in the digital space rely on a concept called “last-touch attribution,” which gives credit to whatever was the last ad a consumer saw before they purchased. While this method does give a sense of campaign success, it can also discount the role that other ad formats like TV might play in earlier stages of the consumer’s path to purchase. Thanks to AI, marketers will now be able to track much more complex purchase paths, helping them to make smarter decisions about what ad formats are working. “Artificial intelligence can fill a lot of the gaps in existing attribution models,” confirmed Julie Lyle, chief revenue officer for DemandJump in an interview with eMarketer. AI can unwind the path to purchase, and pinpoint when a customer comes to a brand’s site and leaves without converting,”

It Will Open the Door for New Types of Creativity
Perhaps the biggest potential advantage of AI for advertising is that it offers new opportunities for brands to get more creative with ad campaigns. Today, many brands are already using AI to help them make tiny creative variations to campaigns that have hundreds of different ad versions. For instance, imagine a video ad campaign where a marketer needed to mention 100 different stores where consumers could buy a product. “We partner with creative companies to use AI to produce content,” said IBM Watson’s Simpson. But even more impressive, some advertisers are also experimenting with ways to use AI to automatically input new types of product placements in the background of TV episodes. Some AI experts even predict that the technology will allow marketers to have their ads answer live questions for consumers. “What if the experience was so good that you could get complex questions answered by the computer?” asked Rajen Sheth, Senior Director of Product Management (AI), Google Cloud in the Axios piece.

Artificial intelligence can at times seem hard to define. That vagueness has allowed advertisers to project both their worries and their dreams onto the technology, leading many to wonder how it might actually be used in ad campaigns. But according to a growing body of evidence, the answer is somewhere in the middle. AI does indeed have some very specific applications, including opportunities to increase the efficiency, measurability and creativity of future ad campaigns. So keep your eyes peeled: while you may not realize it, the very next video ad you see may have the power of AI behind it.

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