Why Google thinks AI will improve your ad experience online

Google recently held a virtual roundtable for media across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region to discuss privacy within the digital marketing landscape and the role that AI will play in proving a user’s ad experience moving forward.

Presented by Dan Taylor, for VP Global Ads, and Karen Stocks, VP of Global Measurement and Audience Solutions, the pair of Google executives highlighted that the digital advertising domain is at a critical inflection point, where it is influenced by heightened privacy concerns, regulatory transformations across multiple regions, and the accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

While this indeed quite a lot for digital marketers to juggle, for daily users of the internet, this may all be a good thing, and hopefully will make the normal browsing session far more pleasant and less intrusive from an advertising.

This is at least, how Google views things.

“Google’s approach comes down to three things: embracing AI, strengthening relationships with your customers, and integrating new privacy preserving technologies, like the Privacy Sandbox,” said Taylor.

While there is plenty of trepidation regarding AI, especially given the speed at which it is evolving and the inability for regulators to keep pace, for Google it will be a core part of how advertising is handled moving forward.

“AI is foundational to ads and has been for many years. It is embedded in critical AI-powered advertising tools like Broad Match, Smart Bidding, App Campaigns, using predictive and analytical AI to deliver results for advertisers. What’s often missed in today’s conversation about AI is the role this technology can play in improving people’s privacy online,” Taylor pointed out.

While Taylor noted how AI is being used in smart ways for advertising, there are more nefarious means to consider, such as websites being spun up to publish AI-generated stories at a rate no newsroom of hundreds could ever keep pace with in a bid to garner more ad revenue.

On this front, the company aims to fight fire with fire by implementing new solutions like Consent Mode. This is a feature that lets advertisers indicate consent status of a user, along with adjusting the relevant Google tags’ behaviour, which is something that’s increasingly important as advertisers look to navigate regulatory and privacy changes.

In South Africa for example, we have not seen PoPIA bare its fangs in any notable way, but once the first sizeable fine for data practice infringements is doled out, having an AI-driven advertising strategy could prove essential.

Bringing privacy into the equation now, Google is urging marketers to be proactive in terms of how they measure advertising

“By focusing on privacy-centric measurement and audience solutions now, advertisers will be able to understand the differences in how the solutions work and will be better positioned to manage the changes when third party cookies are phased out,” advised Stocks.

“Solutions like conversion modeling, enhanced conversions and optimised targeting allow advertisers to make the most of their first-party data by measuring effectively and reaching the right audience without compromising user privacy,” she continued.

Although much of the onus lies with digital marketers and advertisers on this front, Google believes that by integrating AI and prioritising privacy, marketers can unlock new levels of engagement and trust, while also propelling their brands into the next era of digital interaction.

Whether that is just wishful thinking remains to be seen, but the company is pushing ahead with making those tools available.


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