Artificial Intelligence and Advertising

Artificial intelligence will likely get rid of many inefficiencies in the digital advertising industry. AI would improve the industry as a whole and change the landscape of the entire web by making ads smarter. While AI is already being used in marketing and advertising, its use is quickly becoming more widespread.

Better Engagement

Improvements in user behavior data is likely to make ads more engaging and specifically targeted. Digital ads already have very detailed reporting of engagement statistics. These statistics will only become more detailed and useful with AI. It will allow the content to become more responsive to user inputs, making user experiences more valuable. 

As user interactions become more complex, ad fraud will be less of a threat to the integrity of advertisers and publishers. If users engaging with an ad, sponsored content, etc. spend more time clicking and interacting, it will be more apparent when fraudulent traffic tries to mimic user activity. AI can also help to identify if an ad is being loaded on an unapproved website. Publishers, like AdBistro, would then blacklist that site to remove the ads.

Adapting To Consumer Behavior

While there are endless solutions for businesses to reach their customers, many are still using outdated or ineffective channels. 

John Kenny, the Chief Strategy Officer of FCB Chicago says too many brands still see email as the default medium for engaging with customers. Kenny says the main limitation for reaching customers is how many times he can engage with them, not how much information he has about them. Tools like AI and chat bots will make this much easier. While current technology allows for specific targeting, content creation is still too expensive. As a result, consumers are bombarded with mediocre messaging.

Kenny said in an interview on Forbes.com:

“AI is really important in being able to action the engagement possibilities that big data is revealing. Right now, I know so much about my customers, their needs, their point in the customer journey, but I’m limited by how much I can engage them. The price of content customization is too high, so you end up in a situation where consumers are over-targeted but under-engaged, being stalked by the same generic messaging again and again, creating customer frustration, the exact opposite of what we want. We need to match our targeting ability with our content creation abilities.

One of the big opportunities offered by AI is customization of content, of micro-copy, at scale. AI allows us to mass produce messaging that’s most appropriate for each individual customer. Prior to AI that would have been prohibitively expensive and unbelievably tedious to do.”

This technology could improve advertising through channels like Facebook Messenger. Earlier this year Facebook Messenger hit 1.2 billion monthly users. This is clearly a channel that has a massive potential for reaching customers, but it still widely untapped.

AI Improves Campaign Analysis

In an interview with eMarketer, Ryan Steelberg, President at Veritone One said, “AI can deliver real-time performance analytics and enable users to create scalable campaigns more quickly.” The adoption of artificial intelligence in web ads would also provide transparency where there hasn’t been before. Spending on fraudulent ads has grown to over $12 billion in 2016. Much of the ad fraud is due to programmatic ads – for which the ad buying is done entirely autonomously. Providing more transparency would remove many sources of ad fraud. 

AdBistro is looking to AI to provide better outcomes for both advertisers and end-users. For advertisers, creating more engaging content and delivering it most effectively will be easier with less resources. Customers will also get a better experience and will be served more interactive and valuable content. 

AdBistro & BistroAPI Look To The Future

Evolution of Ads

As AdBistro and BistroAPI look to the future, we look briefly to the past to learn about the evolution of advertising.

In their early form, ads were not very intrusive. The ads were hardly distinguishable from the text around them. It wasn’t long before advertisers added pictures or bright colors to make their ads more exciting and effective. This worked at first, but soon the market became saturated with ads fighting for consumers’ eyes. People reacted by tuning out the ads, making them completely ineffective.

Then when web ads became popular, the same thing happened. These ads were incredibly effective at first, until the internet became saturated with annoying banner ads. People once again ignored the ads and used pop-up blockers or ad blockers, to hide them. It became clear that ads could only become so intrusive before consumers toned them out completely. 

The trend of ads becoming more intrusive to be more effective has reversed. Now less intrusive and more effective ads, like sponsored content, are the best ways to send a message to consumers. Savvy web-users are now able to recognize an ad right away. They are more receptive to a blog post explaining how a person uses a product, for example. Blogs and social content are more effective than something easily recognized as an ad.

Success In Digital Advertising

The key to winning in this new playing field is by creating valuable content. If the content is thin, not only will readers be skeptical, but search engines also will not rank your post as high. Content must offer new or interesting information so that readers do not flag it as an advertisement.

AdBistro uses the best content in its ads and uses sponsored content in place of more intrusive (and less effective) ads.

Sponsored Content

To best reach its target market, a brand must present content within a website that looks and feels like everything around it – while communicating its own look & feel. This raises the bar for advertising and for content across the board. The biggest contrast between new and old ads is that new ads must provide value and information with context to be most effective, while old ads failed to do so. Sponsored content is good for advertisers and publishers because it is more effective and more user-friendly than traditional web ads.

Blogger Creates Branded or Sponsored Content for Starbucks

Why Modern Wellness Is More About Feeling Good…

This is a great example of sponsored content. While the content reads like a popular lifestyle or fitness blog, it is actually an ad for Starbucks. Sponsored content emphasizes the lifestyle that people associate with a brand. If a person feels like a brand matches their lifestyle, they are often more likely to use it. 

The world of web ads is still relatively new compared to the world of print advertising which has been widely used since the 1800s. This makes for a wild west feel that still lacks widely adopted standards. Mary Vestewig of Extreme Reach said, “Standardization and scalability are critical for digital campaigns.” Without common standards, the difference between a successful and failing campaign is different depending on what system of measurement the publisher uses. 

Native Ads

Another type of ad that has become more popular is native ads. Sharethrough calls native ads “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.” In other words, a native ad matches the website that it appears on. 

Native ads present a new challenge for advertisers. The advertiser needs to know that their ad works in every location and is adaptable to the look and feel of the website. AdBistro and BistroAPI remove many of these barriers by simplifying the publishing process to deliver the best results. 

By constantly updating BistroAPI, we ensures that an advertisers’ ad is viewed properly every time.

A defining characteristic of new web ads is that they are much less intrusive than they have been in the past. Native ads and sponsored content not only make user experiences much better, they raise the bar for advertising and content in general. For an ad to be both non-intrusive and effective, the content it provides must be very good (and interesting to the target customer).

This change in the trajectory of advertising is interesting because it is nearly opposite of the past. Advertising initially set out to become more intrusive to catch the attention of more and more people over time. This continued until consumers started to out-smart the advertisers by immediately recognizing an ad and then tuning it out or ignoring it. Now, advertisers have to create content that blends in with the viewer’s environment and catches their attention by providing value and new information, meanwhile appearing to be normal or unpaid content. 

Where Advertising is Going

A good example of the future of advertising is implementing augmented reality. This article from Jay Samit, independent vice chairman for Digital Reality Practice at Deloitte Digital, explains how augmented reality is a mostly untapped, trillion-dollar industry. Samit explains some crazy applications, like smart glasses that filter items on grocery store shelves to only show those that meet users’ needs or preferences. AR also lets customers “try” products in their home before buying. AR could display a new couch in a customer’s living room, for example. This eliminates the risk for the customer and avoids unnecessary returns from unsatisfied customers.

There are still many barriers for companies wanting to use augmented or virtual reality in their advertising. The technologies have yet to reach mainstream adoption, but will likely become more common in the near future. The best example of widespread use of AR to date is Pokémon Go, which was wildly popular in mid to late-2016.

While AR & VR are already being used by leading brands, the technology to implement them is not yet widely used. Sponsored content, however, is already used on a massive scale. It is so valuable because of the context it provides for a brand. Native ads and sponsored content look to influence more gently, creating deeper rooted connections between advertisers and customers. Brands are already investing in creating branded content that indirectly promotes their brand.

As advertising moves forward, look for the line between ads and content to become much less clear.

AdBistro Fights Ad Fraud

In the digital age, businesses need to be present on the web. The internet offers new ways to advertise, but it also exposes brands to threats – including ad fraud. 

There are over 3.6 billion internet users in the world. Each of them will likely be exposed to an ad. Companies must be weary of publishers using dishonest tactics to bring traffic to ads. Advertisers must be diligent in their decision making process on where to advertise. Entire ad budgets could be wasted if a company was unknowingly paying for fraudulent traffic.

AdBistro is working to completely remove low-quality traffic from its network, while making sure its ads adhere to the highest standards of digital advertising. AdBistro and BistroAPI use a myriad of internal fraud filters together with third party fraud detection providers to ensure the traffic is of the highest possible quality. 

Ad Fraud

Ad fraud is the practice of fraudulently representing online advertisement impressions, clicks, conversion or data events in order to generate revenue. There are many types of ad fraud, including impression fraud, click fraud, and conversion fraud and data fraud.

Bad publishers could be putting your ads in front of very little real traffic. Fraudulent traffic wastes your ad budget and provides no value to your business. The AdBistro and BistroAPI teams are fighting fraud from every angle, starting by blacklisting traffic sources that score poorly. 

Ad fraud gives bad publishers the opportunity to make money without delivering the human traffic that they promise. Advertisers can look for publishers that have been certified by TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group). TAG is working to eliminate fraud, combat malware, fight internet piracy and promote transparency on the web. Its certification sets good publishers apart from the less reliable ones and minimizes risk for advertisers. 

Poor Ad Placement

Another possible threat to a brand on the web is poor ad placement. The problem is nothing new, as it exists in print advertising as well. The nature of web ads makes it more difficult to control where an ad appears. 

Most people have seen an example of poor ad placement, and it can lead to an unpleasant representation of a brand.

Similar to print advertising, which could put your brand next to content that clashes with your message, an ad placed on the web could be tainted or made less effective if its context is harmful or negative. The AdBistro and BistroAPI teams remove ads from less reputable websites and those that clash with a business’ messaging.

Integrating New Technologies

If your brand is using new technology in your advertising, publishers can struggle with properly presenting it to users. Questionable publishers who are unable to accommodate an advertisers content may publish it anyway, leading to a bad user experience and negative results for advertisers. IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) recently released a new portfolio of ads that use virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies. Advertisers and publishers must work together to optimize the ad units so that they load properly and adhere to best practices.

Google is by far the industry leader in digital advertising. It “represents 33 percent of the world’s $223.7 billion in digital ad revenue this year,” according to Recode. This gives Google more than twice the revenue of its closest competitor, Facebook. CNBC reported that businesses could lose over $16 billion to advertising fraud in 2017. As the leader in digital advertising, Google has been pushing the rest of the industry to follow its lead towards a better experience for users, advertisers, and publishers. 

Both the AdBistro and BistroAPI teams stay ahead of the curve by using new technology and finding new ways to use it.

Adapting to New Standards

As the web ad landscape became more crowded, advertisers had to resort to more intrusive (and as a result, slower and less user-friendly) ways to get their messages seen. In response, ad blockers have become more widely used. Web users are willing to remove ad blockers to view good content. Some publishers, in order to continue to see the same revenue numbers, have adopted unethical means of delivering traffic to ads. As a result, AdBistro has focused on working with the modern web and delivering the best content to users to improve their experiences.

New Metrics

One of the most important metrics for advertisers is viewability. In other words, advertisers are worried about users seeing their ads, not just having the ads load somewhere on a webpage. The ad industry is standardizing the way viewability is measured. Viewability statistics are becoming a standard unit of measure when it comes to ad validity. AdBistro and BistroAPI adhere to industry standards, set by companies like Google, when reporting viewability. Integral Ad Science (IAS) is also providing direction and resources to advertisers and publishers to maximize ad effectiveness.

Steps To Avoid Ad Fraud:

  • Check that the ad publisher delivers real, human traffic. (Make sure by seeing that they are certified by TAG.)
  • Double check the placement of your ads and ensure they load quickly and correctly.
  • Optimize your ad layout to deliver the best viewability for real users.
  • Follow industry standards, such as these from IAB.

AdBistro & BistroAPI Getting Rid of Bad Ads

AdBistro and BistroAPI are joining the movement toward better, more user-friendly ads. Ad blocking tools have led advertisers to adjust their content strategies to be sure their ads are seen. The internet is less friendly to bad ads than it once was.

Groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Coalition for Better Ads are working to advance the advertising industry by implementing specific standards. AdBistro and BistroAPI are working to remove or improve ads that don’t meet these standards.

Ads Optimized For Users

At AdBistro we are constantly evolving our work to follow new guidelines for online advertisers. Native ads, which blend in with the look and feel of the website surrounding them, are becoming more popular. These make for a much better user experience, and are a good example of a “better ad”.

As a result, we are working to create user-friendly ads that are also valuable for advertisers. 

Industry Leaders

Companies are sparking the push for better ads as the internet becomes more optimized for users. For example, major industry players, like Google AdSense, are making user experiences better by enforcing stricter rules for the ads it places. This has led other companies to redirect their current practices to fit more modern standards.

AdBistro and BistroAPI are adjusting for the future and are working to deliver the best results to advertisers, publishers and users.

 

 

AdBistro Team Field Trip

Last week was a fun one at AdBistro‘s Kansas City office. We were able to explore nearby downtown Kansas City. It was fun getting out of the office for a bit with the team.

On Tuesday we went to Escape Room KC at Union Station. We opted for the most difficult room there was, which had a success rate of only 5%. Our group had experience with different escape rooms, so maybe it was little surprise that the AdBistro team got out with five minutes to spare.

Thursday, we rode the Barley Bus to J. Rieger & Co.Amigoni Urban Winery and Stockyards Brewing Co. Each stop showed us something new going on in Kansas City. We were able to remove BistroAPI & AdBistro work from our minds shortly for an adventure around the city.

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Rooftop Redirect at AdBistro

The team at AdBistro is buzzing with creative energy at its new Kansas City office. We often wander up to the rooftop and redirect throughout the day. The change of scenery has been exciting so far, and we’ve enjoyed exploring this part of the city.

Working on the rooftop removes many common workplace obstacles for AdBistro and bistroapi , which creates a free-flowing workplace. WeWork has put together a great work space and we’re certainly enjoying the views.

Check out that skyline!

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AdBistro Moves to WeWork

AdBistro’s New Office Space

AdBistro recently moved to a new office at the co-working space WeWork in Kansas City. The new location at WeWork gives AdBistro access to resources and services from other companies also in the space. While AdBistro doesn’t currently provide its services to any other companies at the space, the opportunity for collaboration & growth is clearly a big one. AdBistro connects users to ads and embeds its clients’ content and ads within its websites using BistroAPI. Adbistro will continue to combat fraud and provide high quality traffic… in style!