Advertising stands to be rebooted by advances in artificial intelligence – but the industry must re-learn practices to embrace the power of machine learning.

That’s the view of Jeremy Hlavacek, chief revenue officer of IBM Watson Advertising.

The division of IBM leverages the company’s Watson intelligence engine on advertising use cases.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Hlavacek explains how AI could make a step-change.

AI = Ad Infrastructure?

“A number of players in the ecosystem – ad-tech companies, publishers, marketers – they’re starting to understand how AI can help them predict what actions their consumers are going to take when they don’t have all the data that they’re used to having,” he says.

“AI is a new category of advertising and it’s really going to change everything that we do, much of the way programmatic changed everything that close to a decade ago happened in the digital space.”

So, what is AI really?

More specifically, machine learning – as a key pillar of AI – involves algorithms, trained on data sets to identify patterns, predicting future events from similar streams of input data.

“It’s the ability to continuously learn, predict outcomes, be flexible in challenging situations,” Hlavacek adds.

“Whether that’s a pandemic or even just a change in consumer behaviour, having real-time learning allows a marketer to adjust on the fly and not having to stop campaigns and recalibrate.”

But Hlavacek says IBM needs to “educate” the ecosystem for the new world of AI ads.

AI’s new tricks

During Advertising Week 2020 in October, IBM Watson Advertising announced several new products, as well as a number of partnerships.

IBM has got pick-up for the features in ad-tech platforms from Xandr/AT&T, Magnite, Nielsen, MediaMath, LiveRamp and Beeswax, meaning AI capability will really be available in some of the most common buying and other ad-tech infrastructure.

1. Extensions for IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator

Launched in January, Advertising Accelerator, powered by Watson, assembles ad campaign creative elements based on audience reactions. Now it will encompass OTT and video.

“We found in our kind of research that customers are still not getting the right message from advertisers, even with all of the targeting data that’s available,” Hlavacek says. “Accelerator does that using AI capabilities from natural language processing, image recognition, all of those kind of things in the AI toolbox.”

2. IBM Watson Advertising Attribution

IBM is launching an ad attribution software in beta over the next few months.

“This is a long-standing issue for marketers about how to understand which media is working for which campaigns, and we have a really good solution that we’re bringing to market later in Q4 and into ’21 for attribution,” Hlavacek says.

3. IBM Watson Advertising Predictive Audiences

IBM wants to use prediction to create audience segments, “progressing beyond ‘look-alike’ to ‘do-alike’ segments”.

“We actually use AI and data ingestion to forecast or predict which audiences are going to be most receptive to a marketer’s message,” Hlavacek tells Beet.TV.