Why AI is the Ultimate Marketing Ally

It’s easy to let science fiction-esque predictions about artificial intelligence (AI) run wild in our imaginations. Even Gizmodo recently had to publish an article explaining and debunking a runaway headline about Facebook shutting down AI bots that became “dangerous” and “scary”.

But discussing (and fearing) unrealistic possibilities is not a wise use of our collective brainpower. It’s time to shift the conversation toward how AI can augment and support the human experience: AI is not an uncontrollable force of nature. AI will not render humans obsolete. But AI will fundamentally change how we work and live.

The reality is, AI will automate many human tasks, but also free up time for additional human creativity. We will provide ideas, and AI will help us scale them; we will identify audiences, and AI will help us reach them.

Kai-Fu Lee explores our coexistence with AI on WIRED, pointing out that:

“the necessary ingredient of dystopia is ‘General AI’ — AI that by itself learns common sense reasoning, creativity, and planning, and that has self-awareness, feelings, and desires…But General AI isn’t here. There are simply no known engineering algorithms for it.”

Lee contends that if we plan well, AI will enhance our lives by taking care of mundane tasks and actually foregrounding what differentiates us from machines. This is particularly relevant for advertisers and marketers, as creative professionals responsible for reaching consumers in a complex, omnichannel world.

AI-based image recognition will help marketers and advertisers in three ways:

  • More accurate personas and targeting. Consumers openly share 3.5 billion photos on social media every day. Hidden within these photos are valuable insights about consumers’ activities, interests, brand preferences, relationships, and key life events. By unlocking the insights in images, AI can provide incredibly valuable data to augment existing consumer data (eg. profile information, text captions, cookie data) that marketers and advertisers already leverage.
  • Visual listening. AI-based visual intelligence provides the opportunity to better understand what consumers are already sharing, but on a massive scale not previously possible. Marketers and advertisers can use “visual listening” to understand not only how consumers are engaging with their brand on social, but with other brands as well. This is invaluable for competitive analysis and monitoring.
  • Brand protection. Marketers and advertisers today are faced with the real, and very difficult challenge of tracking where their brands appear online. Until AI, photos and videos were black holes — no army of interns could keep pace with YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world. Today, NSFW image detection helps brands avoid ad placement next to violent or offensive content.

At Netra, our image recognition models can process images much faster than a human ever could, but the raw output of data still requires a human touch to turn the numbers into a story. At the end of the day, marketing is about forging a human connection with a consumer, and achieving that requires a trusted partnership with AI.