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Speakers’ Corner: Where We're Actually at with AI in Performance Marketing

Speakers’ Corner: Where We're Actually at with AI in Performance Marketing

In the run up to PerformanceIN LIVE, Speakers’ Corner showcases presenters’ expertise across featured agenda topics.

This week, the subject is artificial intelligence. Click on the speakers’ names below for an overview of their session.

Could you give us a current example of AI & machine learning application in performance marketing?

Richard Dennys (Webgains): Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are both examples of Artificial Intelligence [AI]. Webgains and IBM Watson’s very own virtual assistant is set to revolutionise the performance marketing world. This innovative piece of technology aims to support staff as well as clients with front line customer service tasks. The virtual assistant will help with more than just basic tasks like uploading promotional assets and answering questions about invoices. It will be every marketer's best friend.

Nick Cristal (Maxus): I would say that AI is prominent in any function where a tool has the ability to carry out processes automatically and is able to build upon its technique to refine what it’s doing. The recent Watson announcement between Webgains and IBM is a great example of this. They’ll start with automation processes using AI. But the future of it will be able to offer recommendations, adjustments and full implementation of campaigns all without human interaction.

Pete Cheyne (Performance Horizon): We have just released an industry first, AI-powered partner prediction. We have implemented multiple prediction models which constantly analyse all retrospective data collected on behalf of our clients, to make an informed predictions of the future performance of an advertiser’s campaigns. Traditionally, data analysis in performance marketing has always concentrated on what has already happened, thanks to AI we are able to flip this around and better understand what will happen in the future.

Is there an element of sensationalism around these terms, or is the potential in these technologies really worth the hype?

RD: AI is far from sensationalised. It has the capacity to transform online sales beyond recognition and make online performance marketing core to all businesses. Abolishing the old tradition of “last click wins”, AI will establish a more responsive payment model. It will also unlock much deeper insight around all aspects of performance marketing, broadening it out to many more businesses, advertisers and affiliates, the prospects are endless.

NC: Like mobile, social media and programmatic… sensationalism follows performance marketing around like a nasty cold. Unfortunately - and I’m confessing to this too - everyone jumps on the band wagon of the latest trend hoping they can ride the wave of success that’s to come. But why not? At our heart everyone who is in performance marketing wants two things; Return on Investment and an improvement in our practices. Development in technologies are going to produce these results, so it’s overhyped now because people are interested in seeing where the development will end up. Let’s just work through the hype until we see the results in five to 10 years’ time.

PC: Thanks to books, movies, and marketing hype, there will always be sensationalism around AI. However, a lot of the sensationalist manifestations of how AI could be applied is actually backed in reality. For example, robots, flying cars, and immortality are all areas which have legitimate progression thanks to AI and many billions of VC [Venture Capital] investments are flowing into companies who are tackling these ambitious ideas.

How do you predict this will develop within, say, the next two years? Or, where would you like this technology to have developed?

RD: We predict that consumer behaviour and how companies market to consumers will change in the next two years as a result of AI technology. As AI technology can analyse billions of items of data, marketers will be able to get a clearer indication of exactly where and when consumer-buying decisions are made. On top of this, the technology will learn how to anticipate new micro-trends and sensitive shifts in future consumer intent, allowing businesses to pre-empt consumer enquiries and predict future needs.

NC: It’s impossible to say how AI will develop but businesses large and small will want to get in on the action for sure. I see current “AI” as automation and refinement of the simple tasks, and for now, it will remain as such. This AI will develop into affordable, scalable and widely available techniques and tools that can be used across many analytics, tracking and optimisation platforms.

PC: Personally, I'd like to see AI focused on science, especially medical science. We’ve already seen AI beat grandmasters at a complex game like Go, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t develop bots that can diagnose illness, find cures for disease and even aid surgery. All of this will become possible thanks to AI.

Without giving too much away, how will AI play into your session at PI LIVE?

RD: AI will be discussed in terms of how it can help businesses adapt so that they can cater to future generations. You’ll just have to tune in to find out more!

NC: Olly and I are flipping AI on its head and looking at how it won’t be an integral part of truly making a campaign a success. We will focus on what part people will play in the role and continual interaction of AI and how creativity within performance truly moves the industry, campaigns and ultimately results forward.

PC: It will be the core focus that will underpin my whole talk and demonstration!

View the full PerformanceIN Live agenda here 

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Mark manages all aspects of editorial on PerformanceIN as the company's Head of Content, including reporting on the fast-paced world of digital marketing and curating the site’s network of expert industry contributions.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

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