IBM Watson Advertising Expands Suite, Makes Artificial Intelligence The Backbone

IBM Watson Advertising is building a suite of solutions using artificial intelligence as the foundation.

The suite, based on privacy measures, leverages first-party data to increase ad optimization and move the industry into cookieless targeting. The strategy also uses intelligent chatbots that connect brands and consumers.

Artificial intelligence is becoming the backbone of online advertising, says Sheri Bachstein, global head of Watson Advertising and The Weather Company. “The industry is feeling a lot of pressure as targeting pixels disappear and privacy legislation increases,” she says, suggesting that AI has moved from a buzzword to supporting brands.

Change requires education. Eight to 10 years ago, the industry underwent a major transformation with programmatic based on automation. It took time for marketers to learn about the technology and for companies to adopt it, with trial and error -- but most importantly, it took patience.



“AI isn’t about automation, but rather augmenting the human process,” Bachstein said. “It’s about being predictive. The cookie can only tell you what happened in the past. AI can tell you what happened in the past, present the insights, and tell you what you can gain in the future.”

The expanded suite of cookieless offerings include Extensions for IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator, IBM Watson Advertising Attribution, and IBM Watson Advertising Predictive Audiences.   

The attribution product uses machine learning, for example, to help to determine when campaigns yield performance results.

IBM made the announcement with a series of partners that were willing to combine their data to help brands and publishers achieve these results. Partners include Xandr/AT&T, Magnite, Nielsen, MediaMath, LiveRamp and Beeswax.

Rand Harbert, executive vice president and chief agency, sales and marketing officer at State Farm, acknowledged using IBM’s AI products through The Weather Channel, an approach that helps the company use data to create experiences with consumers in the moment.

The new capabilities are focused on privacy and designed to allow brands to reach consumers while considering their customers’ privacy. 


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