Connect with us
Image by Microsoft Bing Image creator, based on a prompt by Gadget.

Artifical Intelligence

‘Why I’m an AI optimist
in advertising’

AI offers added value and impact, writes ROB BRADLEY, SVP of digital revenue, strategy and operations at CNN International Commercial.

The advertising industry has undergone several waves of technological disruption in the last couple of decades, from the onset of digital media to the introduction of programmatic buying, and the huge growth in data and how we use it. Now, our industry is experiencing a new period of change as artificial intelligence and machine learning presents new challenges and, with it, opportunities.

 This is not a question about what the impact of AI might be on our industry at some point in the future but rather about what we can and should be doing right now. The urgency is borne out in new research from IAB Europe and Microsoft Advertising. Surveying digital advertising professionals about the adoption and application of AI, researchers found that 91% of respondents are already using or experimenting with generative AI, 41% have dedicated budgets for Gen AI experimentation and over two-thirds are leveraging Gen AI for content creation.

It’s at this inflection point that you and your company can choose to take a defensive approach or be an optimist and embrace the change and the new technology on offer. As one of life’s optimists and an advocate for how technology can empower us and democratise our world, I’m certainly in the latter camp. Working for a news organisation I am fully aware of some of the potential pitfalls of AI – spanning issues from content scraping and copyright infringement to deep fakes and disinformation – but, as our CEO Mark Thompson said recently about the adoption and usage of AI, “if we get this right, it could be a golden age of news experiences”.

I would apply this approach also to the advertising experience, not just around news but in other media as well. We can harness this technology to make advertising more efficient, more relevant and impactful to both the consumer and the advertiser. To illustrate this point and hopefully to help others on this journey, I’d like to share three examples of how AI is being applied right now at CNN International Commercial in ways that make us better and more efficient and also bring added value and impact to the partners we work with.

Rob Bradley, SVP of digital revenue, strategy and operations at CNN International Commercial.

Firstly, we use AI to power our data analytics. Through the usage of AI tools we are able to process and analyse more data about what content users are consuming. By defining frequency, recency and the types of content that they’re interested in – be that video or articles and across different sections of our digital properties and verticals like style, environment, health, business or travel – we can deeply understand consumption and certain behavioural patterns. We then overlay this with first-party and third-party data to have a holistic understanding of our audience, understanding them as humans with particular passions, interests and expectations, not just broad demographic segments. This insight powers content recommendation and delivers a degree of personalisation that ensures they have the most relevant experience with us.

Secondly, we’ve been utilising machine learning and AI for several years now with regards our campaign targeting, delivery and optimisation. Using new advertising tech helps us to serve a piece of commercial content, be that branded content or an advert, across our own sites or externally across social media. We use technology to see how a campaign performs so we have a constant feedback loop and can ensure that there’s precision in what and who the campaigns target with the ability to optimise in real-time.

 And my third example relates to our in-house brand studio, called Create. This is a cohort of really smart, creative and tech-savvy people who are now using AI to do many things from colour correction to transcription and translation – all tasks that speed up often arduous, time consuming jobs around editing content, particularly video. It frees up time for our people to focus on the storytelling and the creativity approach.

So, in essence, it allows us to add more of the human element in some respects, despite it being an AI technology, ensuring there is no detraction from the incredible creative work that is produced. AI, like many industries hot topics before it, can often be talked about in vague terms of what it can do in theory or its potential for the future. By laying out these three examples of its current usage as relates to digital advertising at CNN, you can hopefully see it’s not something we need to plan for next year, next month or even tomorrow. Rather, its potential is already with our industry, and it’s our choice to embrace it or not. As an optimist, I say carpe diem!

Subscribe to our free newsletter
To Top