AI Predictions: 2018 is the make or break year for brands

Peter Day, Quantcast's head of engineering, explains machine learning at the company's Supernova event in October 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly dominated the news agenda in 2017.

This was highlighted in November when the UK Government’s Autumn budget included a £20 million investment pledge for businesses working in AI. With research from Deloitte showing that 85 percent of UK businesses plan to invest in AI by 2020, it’s clear that firms across the board are waking up to its benefits and are starting to take decisive action.

More and more brands are making headway with AI in digital advertising, from better audience insights and targeting to campaign measurement. The results are evident in more relevant, targeted and measurable campaigns. However, there are still questions over how the technology will impact creative roles and skills in the long term. There’s a long road ahead but the destination for brands and marketers will be worth it.

Here are four ways AI will change the face of marketing in 2018.

The AI pretenders will get caught out

The term AI is omnipresent in most marketing conversations today. As a result, it’s hard to find an ad tech vendor that isn’t boasting about its know-how in this space. Where many talk about AI, few really do it. Recruiting the right skills to create a genuine team of AI and machine learning experts is hard and can take years. Marketers should be cautious of partners that suddenly proclaim expertise in this field. At Quantcast, we’ve spent more than a decade building the right team and structure to apply machine learning to the advertising space.

Creativity will be nurtured

There’s been unfair concern from across the sector that AI will hinder creativity. Many are worried that it will kill off jobs in the sector, and others argue that technology cannot mimic true, authentic human creativity. This last point is true. However, when AI is used in the right way, agency teams will find themselves freed up from the small, repetitive tasks like adjusting campaign targeting and able to invest more time in driving creativity and innovation for clients.

Campaign life cycles will be constant

Humans are fickle beings. Our preferences and are more diverse than ever, and the odds of us changing them over time only increasing. To stay relevant, brands need to put emphasis on constantly measuring the success of their campaigns and reacting in real-time to emerging consumer behaviour. In 2018, AI will give marketers the power to do this while keeping targeting laser-focused, meaning we’ll see the process of campaign planning and execution become much more fluid and continually updated.

Marketing accountability reaches maturity

At the same time as AI makes more accurate and better targeted digital advertising a reality, the C-level will also become better acquainted with the benefits of AI. This will result in marketers coming under pressure to measure the impact of their efforts and be more accountable for the budgets they spend. By putting the right tools in place, marketers can actually provide long term value to their business by measuring brand impact with their campaigns over long periods of time.

AI is still new field, but the next 12 months will see it become the new standard in digital advertising, making 2018 a make or break year for brands. Those that don’t adapt will quickly be forgotten.

Matt White, EMEA Managing Director, Quantcast.

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