AI gets a bad rap. For the most part conversations on the topic tend to revolve around loss of jobs and the redundancy of human labour.

The Sunday Times has even gone as far as producing a list of the jobs most likely to become automatised in the coming years due to artificial intelligence. While some jobs are at a higher risk than others, it’s estimated that those in advertising have only a 3.8% chance of being replaced by a machine. 

In reality, AI will actively work with us, not against us, making our business processes more streamlined and efficient. Infosys, a global leader in technology services, published a report that establishes a clear link between the revenue and implementation of AI technology in businesses. Although there have been cases of job loss due to automation, such as the recent layoffs at General Electric

But in spite of this, of the 1,600 senior decision makers that were surveyed by Infosys, 85% responded that they intend to train employees to use AI, and of those companies that are actually replacing jobs with the new technology, 80% stated that they were looking to retrain displaced workers. Over three quarters (76%) of respondents went on to say that AI will be a fundamental part of their organisations’ success, and 64% believe their business’ future depends on the adoption and implementation of the technology. 

Within this report, earlier adopters of AI revealed that they’ve experienced faster growth in revenue over the past three years and attribute this to their use and implementation of artificial intelligence. In many cases it will enable marketers to perform and analyse at levels that are incomprehensible to the human mind.

With this in mind, it’s more likely that AI will streamline our job roles than take them entirely, and ideally allow people to specialise in specific areas of work, rather than getting bogged down by day-to-day administration. Also, we can’t dispute the fact that AI is already a part of everyday life – last Christmas saw Amazon Echo gain ground in the market and before long voice-activated technology will actually become the norm.

In my opinion, it’s important that we look for the opportunities that AI presents us, rather than fearing the worst and foreseeing an unhappy dystopia where machines run the world. If we take a look back at the world of digital advertising we can see how greatly technology has progressed the industry. In the past, publishers and marketers simply made guesses as to how consumers behaved, then along came a technology that could target and deliver ads to certain individuals based on their online behaviour.

Today, online advertising tends to focus on device type as well as website and social-demographic categories that often don’t quite line up with the viewer on the page. This type of approach has led to negative perceptions of digital advertising among consumers, and has, as a bi-product, led to the prevalence of ad blocking

This is where AI can truly make a difference. For instance, IBM’s Watson can work on thousands of pages per second, analysing every piece of data relating to every ad generated. At AdYouLike, we know the full capabilities of this tool, as we’ve actually expanded into the AI space using Watson to create better semantic targeting for native advertising. 

From what we’ve seen, its performance is truly impressive. It provides feedback upon this data, measuring the sentiment that’s expressed on the page and even going as far to gauge emotions such as happiness and anger. In addition to providing this granular level of detail, Watson is able to deliver in real time, meaning that campaigns can be adjusted immediately for maximum impact.  

Although AI will be of benefit to the advertising industry as a whole, I believe native advertising in particular will see the most to gain. As native ads rely heavily upon the context in which they’re served, AI technology enhances the level of targeting delivered, and ensures the ads are placed on the right pages where the right sentiment is expressed.

Ultimately, through the use of AI in advertising, end users will be served which much more relevant ads, ones that won’t encourage them to block ads altogether and ones that they’ll actually want to interact and engage with. As this technology has already taken off, companies need to act now to make the most of it.

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