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Why Marketers Use AI for Audience Targeting

There are many ways that marketers can use artificial intelligence (AI), but so far, targeting and audience segmenting are among the most common uses for the emerging technology.

In a May 2018 survey of 400 digital advertising professionals worldwide conducted by Econsultancy and MediaMath, just one-fifth of respondents said that they don’t plan to use AI for audience targeting or audience segmentation. Nearly half of those polled already use AI for these purposes.

Using AI to group together and reach users is simply a pragmatic way to utilize the technology. In a January 2018 survey of 450 advertisers, publishers and tech developers in North America by Winterberry Group and the Data & Marketing Association (DMA), 62.0% of respondents said that improving audience segmentation to support better ad targeting was one of their top campaign management priorities.

Given that improving audience segmentation is considered by many advertisers to be their top campaign management goal, it makes sense that large cloud companies like Nielsen, IBM and Salesforce have invested millions in AI products that automate the creation of custom audience segments for marketers.

About four in 10 of the worldwide advertisers surveyed by MediaMath and Econsultancy said they use AI for media spend optimization. This is another application of AI that is increasing among marketers as their demand-side platforms add AI features to increase the probability that a given programmatic bid will win its auction.

AI products can require significant investment. However, the technology’s uptake is poised to grow. In a survey of 433 decision-makers in Western Europe and the US conducted by Forrester Consulting in May 2018, nearly half of those polled said they plan to make a major investment in AI within the next year.