Jun 8, 2018

Marketers: AI will make clicks less relevant

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 883,225 — Total deaths: 44,156 — Total recoveries: 185,377Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 189,753 — Total deaths: 4,090 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: It's "a tale of two Americas" as the rich are more likely to work from home and the poor are more likely to report to work.
  4. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  5. State updates: Washington and California appear to have slowed their surges of new cases — Florida cases have been doubling the past four days, approaching 7,000.
  6. NYPD: Over 1,400 of its employees have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Private equity hits the brakes amid coronavirus recovery uncertainties

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Private equity is still working on opportunistic deals when it can get a break from portfolio triage, but it's also boarding up the exits amid new questions about the speed of the coronavirus recovery.

The state of play: Sale processes are being shelved daily, even ones that already launched with investment bankers, data rooms, and interested suitors.

China's medical diplomacy is empowering euroskeptic leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Chinese government has embarked on a highly publicized campaign to provide vital medical supplies to European countries as they fight coronavirus outbreaks within their borders.

Why it matters: Those efforts — and the perception that the European Union has done little to help — are providing fodder for politicians who are eager to hail China and criticize the EU. EU leaders may now have to worry about both Chinese and Russian overtures that weaken European unity.

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