IAB Working Group Aims To Develop Marketing Standards For Artificial Intelligence

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has established a working group of industry executives to tackle three areas that will shape the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the digital marketing space: recruiting talent, developing new approaches to creativity, and establishing insights.

The IAB AI/Machine Learning for Marketing Purposes Working Group is headed by Co-Chairs Patrick Albano, Chief Revenue Officer of AdTheorent, and Jordan Bitterman, CMO of IBM’s the Weather Company.

The Weather Company has been particularly aggressive in using IBM’s AI and machine learning system, Watson, to power campaigns for the likes of Campbell Soup Company, Unilever, and GSK Consumer Healthcare.

“Transforming ourselves and industries is part of The Weather Company DNA,” Jeremy Steinberg, TWC’s Head of Global Sales, told us earlier this year. “We’ve embraced big data and leveraged it to improve every aspect of our business, from forecast accuracy to ad targeting. Now we’ve set our sights on cognition. We believe human interaction is the new ‘search,’ and that cognitive advertising is the next frontier in marketing – and we’re leading the charge to make it a reality.”

The Weather Company is in the process of establishing the Watson Ads Council, which will include a marketers who will act as a sounding board for the latest ways of leveraging Watson Ads and the use of artificial intelligence for brands.

The IAB is expected to amplify and organize existing efforts at using AI and machine learning for advertising.

Citing a Forrester prediction that by 2020, Albano wrote a blog post introducing the working group by nothing “the companies that effectively master AI will steal $1.2 trillion per year from those that don’t… If you’re not thinking about it yet, hold your wallet because the race is on.”

In addition to the three initial subjects the working group plans to tackle, Albano also highlighted these areas of interest that will be on the agenda as well:

  • Understanding how AI and ML will impact our business
  • Simplifying, defining and setting standards for the space as it relates to the advertising and marketing industry
  • Organizing tools for the industry to plan ahead
  • Thinking about responsible usage of AI so that humans and machines work well together into the future

The assembling of the working group on AI follows the publication of the IAB’s  “playbook” on understanding location-based advertising in April.

On the talent development front, Albano offered a military analogy to what digital marketing companies face in terms of finding the right people to move AI and machine learning programs ahead.

“Recruiting people is hard as so much of the decision is based on timing and circumstance,” Albano wrote. “A cliché approach to recruiting for the armed services is ‘setting up a table in a shopping mall,’ which is similar to the way that a lot of advertising targeting works – make a broad assumption (potential recruits will visit the mall) and hope for the best (maybe our sign will attract them).

“The US Air Force took a different approach earlier this year by using Machine Learning to analyze the different attributes of young men and women across the US and predictively target the people most likely to volunteer for service,” he continued. “This not only takes the guess work out of advertising, but it also identifies hard-to-reach audiences with the right message.”

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The Future Of Car Talk: The Weather Company Runs First ‘Cognitive Ads’ For Toyota

The Weather Company, an IBM Business, is taking another big leap in connecting artificial intelligence and advertising with the launch of what the company claims is the “first cognitive ads” for the auto industry in a campaign to promote the Toyota Prius Prime.

The Watson Ads for the Prius Prime will run in The Weather Channel App and on weather.com.

The campaign follows recent uses of Watson Ads by the Campbell Soup Company, Unilever, and GSK Consumer Healthcare, respectively began their first foray into marketing that promises to understand and respond intelligently to consumers’ voice-activated and written queries.

The most recent effort involved Watson Ads being aligned with the annual return of the GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Allergy Tracker digital tools to promote relief through its Flonase brand.

And now, with Toyota, the Watson ads invite consumers connect with brands with a personalized, one-to-one conversation via voice and text.

This Watson Ads experience is primarily focused on driving awareness and brand engagement, says Sarah Ripmaster, head of automotive sales at The Weather Company. “Toyota’s goal with this campaign is to reach and engage consumers who are interested in the Prius Prime.

Text or voice queries are answered directly in the ads, which can also send local Toyota dealership information.

The cognitive ad format combines machine learning, natural language understanding, and integrated dialogue tools designed to deliver on the promise of a personalized user experience.

IBM Watson can discern a user’s intent — as opposed to reacting to a keyword search — to best respond to the consumer, The Weather Company says.

Using Watson Ads, Toyota is employing the power of AI to “engage and educate” consumers about Prius Prime. Consumers are invited to ask questions like, “How can I be a better Prius driver” or “Can you tell me about the Prius’s new features?”

By connecting one-on-one and offering a consumer the new car information they specifically ask for, the effort can guiding decision making during the purchase consideration stage, Ripmaster says.

“Watson Ads put the consumers in the driver’s seat,” she says. “Instead of passively experiencing a brand’s message, consumers are actively engaging with the ad to learn more about car on their own terms. This means the experience empowers consumer to ask the questions that truly matter the most to them during their auto shopping journey, and can ultimately help impact brand consideration.

“On Toyota’s side, they are able get deeper insight into the types of questions that consumers are asking during the decision-making process, which can then influence future creative messaging and media strategies,” Ripmaster added.

The Toyota Watson Ad includes several additional features that extend the interaction, including exploring different Prius models, branded video content, and a Toyota dealer locator.

“In the competitive automotive market, the ability to showcase a helpful and beneficial customer experience is invaluable,” says John Lisko, executive communications director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota’s creative and media shop. ”

We are entering the next frontier of marketing, with cognition and AI poised to take consumer engagement to the next level, and Watson Ads is a prime example of that shift and the great potential we have,”Lisko adds. “We have leveraged IBM Watson in other areas of our business such as the programmatic video campaign of 300 custom pieces for Toyota RAV4 and most recently, the Mirai campaign on Facebook in which the tool wrote thousands of ads and we continue to uncover valuable insights.”

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