Can AI Provide Insight into Future Actions of Customers?

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What do you get when four artificial intelligence (AI) enthusiasts working in the advertising/marketing sector, are sitting in the same room? A fascinating debate discussing the future of AI within the advertising industry. A panel lead by Andy Chandler the VP EMEA of Tapjoy, with guest speakers Toccara Baker (Product Marketing lead in EMEA for Adobe), Mick Loizou (the Director of Product Marketing and Demand Strategy of Oath), and lastly James Prudhomme (the Managing Director of the Europe Index Exchange), the conversation about AI and future actions of customers could not be discussed by a more apt team.

“We’re fixated on who people are – we can break up safe stereotypes!” exclaims Loizou, when the controversial question of the continuous competition between humans and AI arises. Loizou believes that AI can provide insights into data that humans are incapable of – therefore further allowing marketers to improve their strategies for their consumers. Baker avidly agrees and believes that AI allows individuals in the industry to rethink their assumptions when it comes to evaluating and surveying their data. AI can observe trends, patterns and signals in data that can be highly insightful and potentially, completely alter the approach marketers choose to take with their data.

Chandler believes that if AI is utilised correctly, it could mean less advertising for those who feel that advertising can sometimes prove to be a nuisance in their daily lives. However, Loizou asks Chandler: “What if it’s never the right time?”. This brings to the surface the relationship of honesty between marketers and timing of adverts. Loizou hopes that marketers can be truthful with themselves about good adverts and time, but Chandler challenges that notion by asking the ever prominent and controversial question: “But what is a good ad?”. Loizou simply responds: “AI hasn’t delved that far yet.”

James Prudhomme stresses the point that marketers and advertisers should ultimately start from a clean slate when looking at their customers. “Trust the machine”, Prudhomme urges. The importance of ultimately, forgetting all the information that has been gathered from users, and using AI to look at that data from the beginning, can only be employed if the individual using AI has an open mind. If they lack the ability to be open-minded when using different methods to analyse and understand their data, then they will not only be losing customers to other brands and companies, but also will be fighting a battle they will inevitably lose. AI is the future of data analysis – and that is a fact that cannot be argued.

Baker allows some understanding for those businesses who may feel intimidated by AI. “Understanding your business and technology is an ever-evolving process” Baker kindly states. This observation is further clarified by Loizou, who believes that companies shouldn’t invest in AI systems to analyse their data purely for “the sake of it”. The connection between a data dependent industry such as advertising and technology is a fragile one that must be approached with care.

To those who are concerned about AI and privacy, all panellists discuss a very valid fact: value exchange. As users, we freely offer personal information to social media websites, shopping websites, medical websites – the list is never ending. So surely, to be concerned about the level of depth that AI can reach when analysing information, is quite contradictory of us as users. Loizou names this relationship: “value exchange”, and ultimately states that the option to so easily provide personal information about ourselves simply improves our lives in the long run when it comes to brands analysing that data. AI should not be feared; it should be celebrated for all it can provide us when understanding data. AI, we will welcome you into the world of advertising – slowly, but surely.

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