IBM Advertising Accelerator Taps AI To Predict, Rather Than React

Technology’s development typically outpaces regulations, but earlier this week at CES 2020 Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, talked about a set of principles to federally regulate the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in the private sector without stifling innovation.

This sets the tone for Advertising Accelerator, the newest addition to the IBM Watson Advertising suite, formerly the Weather Company’s advertising sales division.

"#IBM welcomes @WHOSTP’s #AI principles,” IBM commented on the topic via a tweet. “Their #PrecisionRegulation approach nicely balances innovation with the need to foster trust in this promising & powerful technology. @USCTO”

IBM’s media business -- firmly tied in to AI technology -- tested Advertising Accelerator in apps across the Weather Company properties, which it acquired in 2016 in a deal valued at a couple of billion dollars.

After 23 days during the fourth quarter of 2019, the results showed a threefold lift in performance compared with the controlled group, said Dave Neway, head of product marketing for IBM Watson Advertising.

The beta partners include LendingTree and Potential Energy Coalition.

“There’s been a lot of advances in personalization and automation in the advertising business such as retargeting, organic search and paid advertising,” Neway said. “It enables marketers to be more precise and accurate, but too often audiences are over-targeted and campaigns fall short. They’re looking for technology to tie AI into performance goals.”

Advertising Accelerator aims to help advertisers stop reacting and begin to predict -- facilitating the path to purchase by predicting the combinations of visual elements that drive the highest audience engagement and conversion.

AI is built into nearly every type of online technology and media, from display and rich media ads to Google's and Bing's search engines, to analytics and support for websites and beyond.

“It allow advertisers to serve ads without using personally identifiable information and psychographic context,” Neway said. This is in line with GDPR and CCPA.

The data comes from behavioral attributes -- what makes a particular group of consumers click on an ad such as the call to action or a specific color in the ad. It allows the technology to form performance groups that learn over time, based on a geographic area. This is all made possible by Watson.

For now, the offering supports display advertising. There is a plan to expand the service to other formats including video, search and conversational advertising. It is not format-dependent.

“In a world where consumers are pledged by banner blindness, we thought it would be a good place to start in display,” he said.  

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