Will shoppers want to interact with AI ads?
The Weather Company, acquired by IBM in January, will begin rolling out digital ads that people can communicate with this fall. Powered by IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence, consumers will be able to ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about the product or offering.
The first companies to tap Watson ads will be Campbell Soup Company, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Unilever.
Unlike ads tied to keyword searches, Watson Ads are able to pick up the nuances of natural language.
For example, a consumer seeing a Campbell’s digital ad may ask by voice interaction, “What can I make for dinner tonight?” Using machine learning and the data ingested, Watson can sort through ingredient and flavor profiles to make recommendations based on the weather, time of day, location and even ingredients users have on hand.
In another example, an allergy medication brand may address questions about whether the product is appropriate for children or its side effects.
In its responses to queries, Watson Ads will also tap Weather’s Co.’s reach into historical weather data, current conditions like temperature, precipitation or the current weather forecast to help individuals “make decisions quickly and directly in the ad unit without leaving the experience.”
However, the technology will be fighting consumers’ general apathy toward digital ads, especially on mobile, although the popularity of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa suggests an opening for artificial intelligence.
“It’s going to be the way we interact with multiple devices in an Internet of Things world,” Carl Fremont, global chief digital officer at MEC, Unilever’s media agencies of record, told The Wall Street Journal.
- The Weather Company Announces Watson Ads to Humanize the Ad Experience for Consumers with Industry-First Capability – The Weather Company
- People Will Soon Talk to Web Ads on Weather.com, Thanks to Watson – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- IBM, Weather Co. bring Watson AI to ads – USA Today
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will consumers want to interact with digital ads enabled by artificial intelligence? Will the AI engagement help overcome consumer aversion to digital ads?