Shifting AI from empty catchphrase to transformational tool

Joel Davis, co-founder at MightySocial believes we are on the verge of the next huge change in the digital ad tech industry. The goal of reaching more targeted customers at the lowest cost per action is driv-ing businesses to find better solutions, something that Joel and his team have been working on for the last three years as they refine their use of AI with a patent-pending super-tool – The Atom – that is poised to build smarter custom audiences at scale

Despite all the hype to date AI’s usage in advertising has been confined to very niche areas, from re-organising data more efficiently to tagging and organising inventory. AI’s massive potential has only slowly built momentum, however, we have finally reached a tipping point where AI is starting to come in to its own.

The trigger occurred as Reach lost its pole position as the ultimate metric, being sidestepped by a need for higher and more accurate engagement.

Little wonder really, an overwhelming 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is collected every day turning it from marketers’ gold dust to their nemesis. It can no longer be properly scrutinised for meaning and in some instances it can even be misleading. Interpret it wrong and mar-keters may end up distancing their brand from their target consumer. In fact they could even do some damage.

We are poised on the cusp of a new era for smarter advertising and AI could finally shift from being an empty catchphrase used to draw attention to a truly transformational tool.

Where once AI was being used to change the ad units shown to targeted users in real time we are now able to work with far more sophisticated insights, such as gathering data about the site the user is on to ensure the ad unit aligns, not just with the user’s demographics but also the website the user is visiting.

The new generation AI can now be used to segment audiences to tailor bespoke creative campaigns and unlock the elusive customer decision-making processes. One of the core shifts here is the move away from what marketers believe is required to a focus on what the consumer requires. In other words, building authentic audiences.

AI can be fine tuned to deliver just that and then go on to serve the right creative to the right segment of this audience, leading to smarter custom audiences being built at scale.

And it shouldn’t stop there. We can now maximise response rates and tease out valuable audience insights based on users who respond to the ad creative they find most compelling, something that will take us much further along the customer journey than we have ever been before.

By maximising response rates, reducing CPA and upping creative personalisation we can shift beyond serving the most popular creative to a specific segment of the audience. This outdated model restricts marketers to reaching only a small percentage of their potential audience with a message that’s relevant to them, and the resulting media wastage is terrify-ing.

PWC reported recently that $20.8 billion dollars was spent on digital advertising in the sec-ond quarter of 2017 alone. Yet with click through rates well under 0.5%, it can be argued that over $100,000 dollars spent every minute does not result in an actionable outcome that businesses can prove. This is not just a lost opportunity, it is a waste of budget too.

If the digital ad industry was in charge of automotive safety standards I would always take the train, even the London underground in rush hour.

Yet with the next wave of real time audience insights and applied AI to understand and filter the huge valuable data pools, the industry can choose to go down a new path that has enormous potential to transform results, reduce wastage of time for brands and for users, plus make advertising more consumer-relevant and therefore more engaging and impactful.

Being a leader in the next wave of digital advertising requires turning up the volume on AI and pushing through the current boundaries that seem to be holding marketers back.

About the Author

Joel Davis is co-founder at MightySocial, ranked in the top 20% of the Inc. 5000 List of Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies and is one of the winners of Deloitte Tech Fast 50 for two years running.