Commentary

Report: AI Interfaces Are Disrupting Traditional Media Channels

The IPG Media Lab takes a look at emerging technologies and market forces taking shape around them in its “Outlook 2017 The Next Wave” report. Among the themes the Lab highlights: advanced interfaces, global culture, and augmented intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, wearables, and more are changing the digital media landscape in unexpected ways, according to the report. Cloud services and machine learning systems running on top of those services offer up intelligence that marketers can use. This intelligence “isn’t transformative in and of itself, but instead augments our existing capabilities, allowing us to track consumer behavior across platforms and channels, and to personalize the experience for them at scale,”  according to the report.

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The first widespread use of basic AI for marketers to interact with consumers came with the rise of chatbots and conversational interfaces, the report notes: “These interfaces will disrupt traditional marketing channels such as paid search and social — Google and Facebook’s current ad products are predicated on showing you lists and feeds of content, so making a few of them sponsored is an easy business, and we can optimize for organic placements.”

The report suggests that market dynamics are driving big ad platforms to segue from this model in favor of AI. The goal is to glean relevant predictions about and insights into consumer behavior from this data. The question is, what will replace the lists and feeds? And since these have been easily ad-supported, how will platforms like Google, Facebook, and Amazon monetize through AI models?

Google and Amazon are in an “arms race” to offer AI-as-a-service for developers, according to the report, which expects Facebook and Apple to come up with services in this area as well. Sensors at home and on our bodies will deliver quite personal insights and data. The report doesn’t project how these types of data streams might be used by marketers, or how privacy issues will enter into the equation.

The report suggests that data should be used for more than CRM and retargeting. It should be used to improve a consumer’s experience with a product or service. Marketers should target owned channels first, where they’ll receive the most data and establish the closest relationship with consumers.

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