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Illustration Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Artificial intelligence will help marketers figure out which measures of success actually work, AI experts agreed at Nielsen's Consumer 360 annual event Friday.

Why it matters: For decades, dated metrics of marketing success, like click-through rates, have been used to justify ad spending and other marketing investments. Now, AI will help marketers understand what motivates someone to buy or take action on something, and that may not always be a click.

"Even though our industry looks at clicks and other proxy measures as standards, when you apply AI and machine learning to that you realize they have very little to do with that outcome."
— Jack Smith, Chief Product Officer, GroupM, North America

The main use cases of AI in marketing will vary depending on a marketer's desired outcome, says Smith.

  • For ad platforms, like The Trade Desk, artificial intelligence will help optimize their clients' ad campaigns.
  • For agencies, it will also help manage big ad campaigns. "The first use case of AI was in campaign management and optimization," says Smith.
  • For technology companies, like IBM Watson, AI will help identify where consumers are in order to target them better.

AI is already driving big results, according to some executives.

"Some campaigns are up to 70% more efficient. On average, most campaigns are 35% more efficient ... There are real results coming out of that."
— Mark Simpson, VP of Offering Management for Watson Marketing at IBM

What's next? AI will create endless opportunities for marketers, from making better ads to measuring them more accurately. Other outcomes include:

  • New types of data: "What you’ll start to see is creation of synthetic data," says Damian Garbaccio, EVP of Advertiser Direct and Marketing Cloud at Nielsen.
  • Better content: "We partner with creative companies to use AI to produce content," says Simpson.
  • And more personal customer interactions: "What if the experience was so good that you could get complex questions answered by the computer?" asks Rajen Sheth, Senior Director of Product Management (AI), Google Cloud. Sheth says in the future, AI will help businesses get to know customers personally and automatically market to them accordingly.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.

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