Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a key role in industries of all kinds, and, naturally, advertising is among them. AI is one of the largest tech advancements currently impacting media planning, selling, and buying, and is arguably the single most important innovation currently shaping the industry landscape.

AI isn’t a science fiction prophecy for the future: it’s happening now, and understanding the role it plays is critical for those who want to stay on top of the evolution of the market. Companies poised to embrace AI will see it benefit their operations, while those who don’t risk falling behind.

The Emergence of AI in Advertising

AI has existed in numerous forms for many years, but its role in the advertising industry is still relatively young. The first significant use of AI came just seven years ago, in 2013, with an ability to organize content creation. The next year, AI solutions were introduced that could guide the decision-making process in advertising, as well as to reduce some of the labor involved in buying, selling, and placing ads. In 2015, AI solutions to determine user intent from search results rolled out, while in 2016, AI was slowly phased into speech recognition and virtual assistant devices.

Today, AI can play a number of roles in ad sales organizations depending on the technology implemented as a part of advertising operations. With possible opportunities in numerous areas, AI can make a big difference as technology continues to grow and change.

AI-Driven Benefits

AI can accomplish a lot of objectives across many different functions within the advertising space, offering a potential wealth of advantages. While AI works in a few different ways, it’s the most prevalent in the programmatic space – and for good reason. From saving money to saving time, advertisers willing to invest in AI opportunities in programmatic can see great results.

    1. Improved Productivity

Productivity is an important element in a successful ad sales marketplace. Handling tasks manually, like communicating plans and placing orders, can be time-consuming, but AI can be a significant benefit in this space. AI can automate many of the little tasks that go into the overall sales process; one study estimates a boost in productivity of 40% by 2035.

    2. More Accurate Budgeting

The bottom line matters to every business, including those working in the advertising market. The use of AI can help businesses make smarter budget decisions, ensuring optimal results for as little spend as possible. An Accenture study estimated the potential for an average profitability increase of as much as 38%.

    3. Better Customer Insights

Want to know what guides customer decisions? AI can help. By monitoring and analyzing customer actions, AI can predict buyer behaviors that can inform strategy development and the planning process. For example, the implementation of surge pricing for apps like Uber and Lyft is largely AI-based: these companies take customer information, analyze it in seconds, and utilize it to maximize profits.

With how integral AI has become to the programmatic process, it’s virtually inappropriate to consider programmatic without also evaluating the role of artificial intelligence. It’s clear that most of the market agrees with this mentality, too: in 2019, advertisers invested nearly $6 billion in artificial intelligence marketing.

AI Playing a Key Role

AI isn’t a singular innovation but rather a large category of machine learning capabilities. As such, AI plays a distinct role in different areas of the ad market, including media planning, selling, and buying.

Media Planning

Media planning can be a laborious task, but AI offers a lot of compelling opportunities. With the ability to aggregate data across both traditional and digital channels, manage internal sales information, and incorporate seasonal trends, AI can optimize allocations based on sophisticated analytics.

With a computer handling the heavy lifting in the background, planning professionals can be able to better craft plans that will resonate with customers and advertisers alike.

Media Sales

A significant amount of information goes into sales, from performance statistics to market trends. There’s far too much data involved in outcomes for a single person to analyze – but AI is perfect for the job. A computer can easily collect and process the information on things like lines of business, product lines, geographic sales data, advertiser performance, and so much more without getting overwhelmed.

With access to so much information, AI can monitor sales operations, raise alerts when circumstances change, and present potential risks to stakeholders when necessary. AI solutions can also learn and adapt as conditions shift, making it much easier to optimize the media sales environment before closing deals. AI can benefit revenues, too: the Indian media company Bennett Coleman & Co expect an additional $10 million in sales through the use of artificial intelligence.

Media Buying

Gone are the days of extended manual advertising transactions. Machine learning and the role it plays in programmatic have given buyers valuable tools, allowing for enhanced transparency and fast automated transactions.

With AI, buyers don’t have to spend time estimating outcomes, managing liability, chasing after under-delivery, negotiating terms with clients, and pursuing potential billing problems. Instead, buyers can work to land ads in the best possible places that will yield the highest quality leads using an ideal blend of media avenues, from video to content marketing.

AI is changing countless sectors, revolutionizing everything from gaming to financial reporting. For those working in the media buying, selling, and planning spaces, AI brings with it big potential and plenty of benefits. By understanding the current role and the potential innovations to come in the market, it’s possible to improve the course of business with key technological tools.