Research: What is the No. 1 reason advertisers invest in AI?

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


The UK organisation Chief Disruptor recently unveiled a major report on AI in business. The company believes disruption is a catalyst for business transformation. Part of their mission to help businesses make sense of disruptive trends and technologies, and here, they wanted to know more about what the main business objectives were for investing in AI.

This was the bottom line of a new report into the impact of AI on business. The results, I feel, had parallels for media executives in the advertising arena, and I have shared my take on what was found in relation to this Initiative. 

Respondents to their report survey (from various industries) were asked to select one of the following four alternatives as the main reason to invest in AI.  

  1. Enable business transformation.
  2. Transform customer experience.
  3. Optimise business performance/insight.
  4. Innovation: new products and services. 

The highest response was No. 3 (optimise business performance/insight) at 42% as the top reason for investing in AI. This was followed by No. 4 (innovation: new products and services) at half the response as the main reason (22%). 

AI is unquestionably a game changer when enabling business insights. Organisations that use AI-powered analytics programmes are able to better identify trends and patterns from complex data from many sources. AI also enables businesses to develop forecasts, predict outcomes, and analyse possible scenarios to determine which have the most opportunity to succeed. 

This is exactly what we as media companies should be doing with our first-party data — extracting it, manipulating it, and exploiting it with valued insights for our advertisers. A true USP we can offer them. 

Additionally, providing the ability to better understand how our advertisers feel about our products/services (as well as being able to deliver those insights) helps us drive the development of new products/services. And AI-enabled automation frees salespeople from the more mundane tasks, leaving them free to concentrate on innovation and disruption. 

Chief Disruptor also wanted to deeper dive into the specifics of what it is businesses were hoping to achieve from AI, so they also asked respondents to select their top five business objectives when implementing AI in their organisations. 

The highest response was to “optimise productivity and efficiencies” at 70% (see chart below). “Improving customer experience” was the next most popular 63%. 

Responses from businesses in a report on AI by Chief Disruptor.
Responses from businesses in a report on AI by Chief Disruptor.

Many advertisers are turning to an AI-enabled customer service to facilitate meaningful engagement. AI chatbots, automation, and predictive analytics are just some of the tools likely to give businesses a competitive advantage as they strive to offer more personalised and connected omni-channel experiences to their ad customers.

AI also improves customer service responsiveness, and the recent explosion of conversation AI will enable brands to add a more human dimension to their chatbots. 

But while digital tools can drive seamless and frictionless customer experiences, questions remain about whether consumers actually miss human interaction and whether these developments can effectively humanise digital customer experiences. Some media companies have highlighted this fact to me as post-pandemic advertisers liked the humans touch again from our media sales teams. 

As mentioned above, by automating mundane and time consuming tasks, businesses are able to free up their employees’ time, allowing them to focus on more productive or creative aspects of their advertising jobs.

Interestingly, “generating content” was a business objective for AI by 22% of respondents, reflecting the recent widespread interest in utilising generative AI to create content. Most of the respondents said they are at the stage of exploring use cases and building a business case for AI. 

Given the transformative potential of AI and the media frenzy around new generative AI models, it’s not surprising the highest percentage of respondents (41%) stated they are “exploring use cases and building a business case for AI” (see chart above).

The potential use cases for AI are incredibly wide and include practically every business sector and job function, especially in advertising — encompassing everything from creative writing to data exploitation and much more.

The number of case studies is growing every day as the technology quickly evolves and new innovations come to market. What we need to do as media advertising people is stay on top of our game and be seen to be a trusted, knowledgeable source of knowledge. Our advertisers want our experience and know-how.

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About Mark Challinor

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