You don’t need an algorithm to tell you the US west coast is ablaze this week – but the advertising business, too, is being set alight.

Opt-in privacy legislation, deprecation of third-party cookies and Apple ripping up the fabric of iOS ad tracking all pose a threat to the norms of digital ad targeting.

Sheri Bachstein thinks artificial intelligence can help.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, the Global Head of Watson Advertising and IBM’s The Weather Company, says the changes will improve the market.


“Targeting is not going away, it’s just changing and it’s evolving,” Bachstein says. “And frankly, it’s becoming more privacy-first, which is a good thing for consumers.

The industry is abuzz, examining replacements for cookies and Apple’s IDFA. Meanwhile, IBM’s Watson, its machine learning system, has been launching advertising solutions including:

  • dynamic ad creative assembly
  • providing marketing insights using AI
  • a product to help brands find the right influencer
  • combining weather and Nielsen shopping data to predict trends for certain products

Influencer economy

In June, IBM and Influential, a social media marketing company, launched Social Targeting, a tool using natural language understanding and IBM’s cloud to analyze social media data, turning it into a run-down of appropriate influencer targets.

“Consumers are spending money based on what influencers are marketing, but it’s really hard to find that right influencer because you have to look through so much data,” Bachstein says.

“You have to look at the tone of the influencer, some of their messaging hours.

“AI can come through all of that data to find that right influencer for the brand so then they can mark it that way.

Find a relationship

Bachstein says, in the world after conventional ad targeting, it will be key for publishers to obtain a first-party, consented relationship with audience members.

“It really comes down to that trust with your user or your consumer,” she says. “Do you have a relationship with your user that they are willing to provide some value in exchange for the free services you’re offering?”

Bachstein says The Weather Company is attempting to do that by offering high-quality weather forecasting in exchange for consumers’ information, usable in advertising.

“We’re providing very valuable information to consumers and we underwrite that with advertising,” she says. “For a consumer to share that information so we can better target those advertisers is really important for us, to be able to continue to provide that service for free.

“I have 200 meteorologists that it takes to deliver that forecast. Building that value of exchange with your consumer is critically important in making sure that you’re providing that valuable content.”

This video is from a Beet.TV series title Advertising in a Time of Privacy-Centricity presented by AppsFlyer. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.