Artificial intelligence (AI) and marketing: 2018 trends

Artificial intelligence (AI) and marketing: 2018 trends

AI and marketing look set to become ever more closely aligned. Whether that’s through the emergence of more personalised advertising or changing the way we produce ad copy. There is a shift in our perception of what is possible.

Already, algorithms make our world go around. They drive digital giants Google and Facebook, and through these algorithms we view what is (apparently) relevant content. All of which has a discernible impact on us as our as marketers and more generally as consumers of information.

The rise of the machines has long been predicted and every year marketing teams adopt new gizmos and software. Before they know it, new methods and emerging technologies are woven into day-to-day operations. Chatbots for example? Hint: take a look at the bottom of most major B2B or SaaS websites.

But what are the trends we need to be aware of and which have the potential to revolutionise marketing? Or failing that, be jealous of a colleague approaching retirement.

The rise of personalised TV ads

Today streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube already take advantage of AI and machine learning algorithms to identify content for their subscribers. The next step? As reported by Ad Week could well be personalised ads.

Taking the idea of tailored experiences, these brands are looking to do what traditional TV services cannot. With trillions of data on viewer’s behaviour and preferences, they will use AI and algorithms to create personalised ad experiences.

One day in-house marketing teams may even create bespoke ads on behalf of brands for their customers using this same data. Netflix is already trialling the concept with promos for its own brand shows.

However, this isn’t exactly what subscribers signed-up for. Already there has been backlash to the potential plans, with some users describing the changes as “gross”. While, some commentators are even predicting the rollout of ad-free premium services. Oh joy.

Translations 2.0

AI is significantly reshaping the translation sector, as it’s already doing to many other industries. Uniquely for AI and marketing, machine translating looks set to assist with a range of tasks. From speeding up the professional translation process, to improving the grammar of non-native speakers.

For example, Facebook recently rolled out automated translation for its messenger service. While, according to reports Amazon is set to upgrade its Alexa voice devices with real-time accent detection and translation. Douglas Adams’ babble fish brought to life? Maybe. The fact is the stuff of science fiction, is now the stuff of science fact.

With the smart speaker market growing and consumers more attuned with their operation, the potential for this new form of advertising is growing. The refinement to Amazon’s smart speakers could mean that individuals with heavy accents, local dialects, or the use of colloquialisms can now be understood. Or provided with a voice assistant more reflective of their locality.

Machine translation will improve and grow with the global machine translation market is expected to reach a billion dollars by 2022. It’s also set to give brands an edge when digitally advertising on a global scale.

Understanding AI, big data, and privacy

One interesting trend (which perhaps is overlooked) is the public’s perception of AI, big data, and privacy. Marketing teams have for a long time benefited from the widespread availability of high-quality data. However, the rollout of GDPR, and not to mention, the events around Cambridge Analytica and its use of Facebook data to profile and target, have caused confusion and public outcry.

Big data can be used to corrupt, misdirect, and misinform – if in the wrong hands. Even revealing aspects of our lives that as individuals we are unaware of.

But a little education is always a good thing. Public knowledge of how data is used, and its application with AI, is growing all the time. Moreover, a more informed consumer will likely be more welcoming for AI enhanced personalisation – if they remain in transparent control of their data’s usage, and know clearly what it is they have signed up for!

Empowering consumers, via big data, and its analysis, is another step towards helping make AI’s adoption in marketing a success.

AI and Marketing: DCO

Understanding data and working with consumers will be critical for new marketing technologies. Take DCO, or dynamic creative optimisation which is slowly creeping into programmatic advertising. It’s combination of AI and marketing has brands salivating. It offers the potential for advertisers to put the right ad, in front of the right person, at the right time. The holy grail of digital advertising.

But what exactly is DCO? Put simply it is display advertising that uses algorithms to select specific creative elements on the fly. Using chosen data sources, it picks the best combination of creative to put in front of a specific  viewer. Marketers have the potential to build campaigns that use demographic data, geo-targeting, and contextual data to make the ultimate rich media dynamic display ad.

There’s no limit to what advertisers can do. And it will take the production of in-house display ads to the next level. It’s also another thing emerging tech, such as creative management platforms, are helping rollout; whether, in-built, or in combination with other solutions. It’s a trend that will predict will go mainstream.

The emergence of the robot copywriter

I may regret pointing this out but it’s likely that one day soon some forms of copywriting will be automated. Not all – hopefully – but definitely some. In fact, it’s already happening.

China e-commerce giant, Alibaba, has created a tool that assists brands in creating promotional and ad copy for specific products. The idea is that AI and marketing will work in harmony, and repetitive and tedious tasks are removed from the workload of copywriters.  Already brands such as, Esprit, and Dickies, are using the tool to tweak written copy in Asian markets.

Thinking further into the future, the relationship between AI and marketing copywriters may become even more entwined. Some commentators are predicting employees simply providing keywords and character limits to a bot, which then uses these inputs to generates copy. The idea is that augmentation with AI can free up time for higher-level strategic work…apparently.


AI has the potential to be a game-changer for marketing teams. Indeed, while we may have suggested the following trends, it’s likely the list will expand and alter in the months ahead.  Some may even disappear. All, however, will have some effect on the way marketers work.

The truth is AI is and will impact everyone who does business across the world. And being ahead of this disruption is essential.

If you would like to find out more about the work of Bannerflow and how we’re changing digital advertising for the better then get in touch.

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