Future Gazing: The Role of AI in Advertising 

A conversation with Scibids 

Internet ad revenue exceeded 12.3 billion Canadian dollars in 2021, with a staggering 51% of ads being served programmatically (according to our IAB Canada 2021 Ad Revenue Study). But with the impending death of 3rd party cookies, coupled with the growth of walled gardens, and the privacy landscape as fraught as it is, advertisers need assurance that investments in the open web are paying off.   

This week we sat down with Tanya Iliakis, Sr. Commercial Director of Scibids, to hear what she had to say about AI’s role in the future state of marketing and advertising. Scibids develops customizable AI to make marketing more effective through performance and scale across addressable paid media channels – without a reliance on identifiers.  

IAB Canada (IABC): How would you say the programmatic landscape has changed over the past few years? 

Tanya Iliakis (TI): As the deprecation of third-party cookies quickly approaches, the advertising industry is at a crossroads; the entire digital marketing ecosystem that has grown up on reliance of cross-site tracking digital identifiers, must now confront its future ability to create privacy-friendly advertiser growth. Buyers are seeking to maintain the performance and scale they achieve with third-party cookies, while focusing on understanding how to efficiently use first -party datasets. Rather than continuing the “race to the bottom” consolidation with more niche, gated data, creates an optimal outcome.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) is opening up the world of programmatic possibilities. Using AI to do more of what humans can’t possibly do, like filter through the noise of countless signals to find where optimizations can increase with more efficiency, sophisticated AI can be trained to go after vast datasets and impact business outcomes that make digital advertising more effective. 

IABC: What role has Scibids played in these developments and how are you helping brands today?

TI: The most critical part of the ad stack for optimization, especially in an increasingly privacy-centric ecosystem, is the decisioning engine that prices each impression from a broad set of unlabeled signals. Customizable algorithms created by AI, enable advertisers to take control of this critical piece in the supply chain, and we can help unify ad stacks by feeding them their own valuable data and business insights that often languish within organizations.  

Through turnkey AI that requires minimal, lightweight setup, our current integration with leading DSPs, gives traders the chance to make AI-specific permissions for activation, allowing the rest to be dynamic. Customers have the ability to ramp up their first-party data with better results (even if they do not have deep engineering, data science, or media optimization resources). This allows for more sophisticated advertisers – who are looking to deploy their insights as proprietary custom algorithms in their DSPs –  to enjoy rich customization options to put their proprietary insights to work.  Here’s a video that shows it all in action. 

Earlier this year, our co-founder and President Remi Lémonnier, coined a new term, ‘Virtuous Advertising’, to describe the outcome that advertisers should be trying to achieve. At the heart of the concept of Virtuous Advertising is an increased level of respect: respect for the environment, respect for consumer data privacy and respect for the human beings responsible for running and delivering digital ad campaigns. In all three instances, AI offers a way forward for marketers. 

Recent research commissioned by Scibids found that reducing carbon emissions from digital advertising is regarded as the most important market trend by business leadership in the UK. Virtuous Advertising’s response is to serve fewer, but more impactful ads. To achieve this, media buyers need to be able to know beforehand which impressions are going to be worth a lot to them and which are worthless. This is knowledge that AI can provide and Scibids delivers this capability at scale and can help those already on their path to doing better.  

IABC: Where do you see things going in the future and do you have any parting words of advice? 

TI: Next year, we’ll see wider adoption of AI for programmatic ad stacks. At Scibids, we’re seeing an emergence of RFPs, which means that marketers are getting the message that AI is vital infrastructure to the programmatic ad stack and asking us for proposals. As the category creator for custom algorithms, it’s validation that we’re doing something right.  

In the next five years, we’ll see AI as vital infrastructure play out even more, and it will make fragmented pieces of ad stacks interoperable. Interoperability will be the key to measuring marketing success as third-party cookies are deprecated, and additional complexity is introduced into the marketplace. This means that siloed solutions will be short-lived, and in order to justify future investments in advertising technology, data analytics must be extracted across the full ad stack and utilized in the buying process to create the programmatic possibilities that are out there. You’ll need sophisticated AI to make things interoperable and make the best use of the available data so that no part of the ad stack is siloed.  

The future of digital marketing is transparent, scalable, and interoperable, and Scibids AI will be a key piece of this revolution to keep the open web performant. 

Stay tuned for an upcoming Community Uninterrupted featuring a case study presentation by Scibids. Let us know if you would like to join the conversation.