Insights

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the future of TV advertising

23rd May 2019
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

With Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity coming up soon, we’re looking at some of the themes that will be discussed at this year’s festival. In this article we’re taking a look at artificial intelligence, machine learning and the future of TV advertising.

A thread that’s woven through the fabric of this year’s agenda is how innovations in tech will change the way brands advertise and enhance their engagement with consumers. The television advertising industry is one of many sectors exploring the huge potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The industry is also being radically reshaped by digitisation and the emergence of video-streaming. How will these new technologies help define its future?

Dawn of the AI era

We stand on the brink of new era in the media, advertising, creative and entertainment industries where the potential of AI in catching and keeping consumer attention is only just starting to be understood. In the UK, BBC R&D has recently announced it is experimenting with how AI and ML could be used to both automate live production and to search the BBC’s archives. American research shows that around 35% of broadcast TV networks and 30% of cable TV networks in the US currently employ some sort of AI technology[1].

Video streaming services like YouTube and Netflix, who disrupted a TV business model that had been in place for half a century, largely rely on AI systems to deliver targeted content. We will see the traditional TV model evolve to employ more AI and machine learning in order to deliver this same level of personalisation to consumers and to allow advertisers to target their ads at highly specific audiences. This is already happening, with the NBCU network in America having adopted AI to scan TV show transcripts so they can accordingly deliver relevant ads to the viewer.

Recommendations on streaming services are not limited to only the most popular shows. Sophisticated algorithms take into account how many times content has been watched and which scenes have been rewound or fast-forwarded to work out at a deeper level which is the best performing. The same solutions can be applied to adverts. If advertisers know which viewers fast-forward through which ads, they can serve up alternative versions that hold their attention for longer.

Right place, right time

According to a survey by MediaPost, Fox News broadcast an average of 16.52 minutes of commercials per hour. This is an overwhelming amount of ads that risks total disengagement by the audience.

However, by using information gleaned by AI and machine learning, advertisers can deliver more precisely targeted ads to their audiences thereby reducing the total number of ads they need to broadcast per show, keeping viewer attention for longer. This in turn increases ROI for advertisers and enhances the TV experience of the consumers simultaneously.

We’re just beginning to appreciate the huge potential of AI and machine learning, but with their increasing capacity to deliver more of the right ads to the right consumers at the right time they can offer exciting opportunities to advertisers and play an integral role in the future of the television advertising industry.

If you’d like to dive deeper into how AI and ML are radically reshaping our industry, our eBook on the subject is a good place to start. Or if you’d like to find out more about how we are incorporating machine learning and AI strategy built around advertiser needs, please get in touch.

 

[1]AI and the Future of Television Advertising’, Adstream, p18

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