Artificial intelligence for marketing is in its awkward teen years. It’s still young, deciding who it wants to be. We see this facet in the growing hype around AI with the lingering lack of transparency and education into how AI is tactically implemented.
On the other hand, AI is also more mature than some are willing to credit. A recent survey found that more than half of marketers already leverage AI in some capacity, with an additional 27 percent planning to use it over the next two years.
AI has outgrown its “hype” stage, but it still has some developing to do. As we look to 2019, the way we nurture AI is pivotal to its coming of age. Here are a few predictions on how this technology will mature in the new year.
1. More advanced targeting
Leveraging AI for ad targeting and audience segmentation are already two of its most popular applications, according to eMarketer research. These strategies will continue to grow in 2019, and become more sophisticated as they are applied to emerging channels.
Advanced television is one media channel that’s also coming of age in 2019. Expect to see advanced TV and AI form a capable partnership. That’s because the right AI methodology not only helps marketers improve one-to-one targeting accuracy on the data-driven channel but also delivers scale, which remains marketer’s number one complaint when it comes to advanced TV.We’ll also see experimental marketers embrace AI across additional programmatic channels, such as programmatic radio and direct mail, which will help drive further education, development and adoption across the martech ecosystem.
2. More transparency
As AI adoption and calls for martech transparency each increase, the two will undoubtedly coalesce. While any proprietary technology does require some level of confidentiality, too many companies are complacent in hiding behind black boxes.
In 2019, more technology companies will drive transparency initiatives while more brands and agencies will demand increased insight, ushering in a more transparent age of AI.
One way marketers can expect increased transparency to manifest is in the data insights shared by technology and data providers. Throughout 2018 we’ve seen providers—Roku, Placed, 4C—increasingly offer data insights as part of their solution packages. These industry captains are signaling a larger trend. Following this trend, more martech providers who play in data will open up the visibility of their databases and technology via client data, audience and artificial intelligence insights to help marketers understand what data is in use, how it’s being leveraged and how it’s working.
3. More “intelligence”
Automated data analysis does reduce the need for every brand, agency and platform to maintain their own data science department. However, as machines get smarter, the firms that employ this technology will need to be more educated on the types of AI and how they work.
According to the Harvard Business Review, many companies have been fiscally burned because they pursued the wrong type of AI for the project at hand. To avoid this, we’ll see marketers actively advancing in their understanding of AI methodologies, such as regressions, decision trees and neural networks. Further, marketers will gain a more nuanced understanding of how these methodologies align with business requirements including compliance, transparency, cost, goals and timing.
More than words
The theme of AI’s 2019 growth spurt will certainly be more, more, more, as we watch it thrive in many predictable, but swift ways. Advanced targeting, AI transparency and increased education are all trend lines that can be seen in 2018, but their upward trajectory will be exponential in the coming year.
As always, expect to hear of brand new, unseen applications of marketing AI as we outgrow the hype phase. Ultimately, real maturation will come through tried and true technology applications.
Originally published 1/2/2019 on Marketingland.com