Targeted advertising has become an increasingly valuable aspect of digital marketing over the years, as technological developments and access to data have made it much more effective at driving conversions. In fact, research indicates that standard online advertising spurs action in about 2.8 percent of people who are exposed to it, that number jumps to 6.8 percent when the same campaign shifts to targeted advertising.
Today, there are more resources available for such targeting than ever before, and their value is well-recognized by marketing professionals and by investors at large. In fact, it was recently reported that one provider of such resources, known as Wunderkind, had just raised 76 million dollars in new financing, bringing its total to 150 million.
All of this is based on promises that Wunderkind can improve targeted advertising by using data such as webpage referrals and on-site customer behavior to identify who is who, and thus who is most likely to purchase, subscribe, or otherwise pursue substantive interactions with a given ecommerce company.
To improve its outcomes in this regard, the company’s new CEO, Bill Ingram, says that Wunderkind is “investing heavily in AI and machine learning.” Of course, it is not alone in this regard, as these emerging resources have taken center stage in many recent discussions of tech entrepreneurship and the future evolution of the internet.
The programmer and YouTube personality Tom Scott recently posted a video in which he discusses advances in AI and expresses concern that the world might be on the verge of changing in ways that render it almost unrecognizable from the standpoint of today. It is fairly easy to imagine what such meteoric increases in the efficacy and reach of AI could hold for things like targeted advertising.
Even the TechCrunch write-up on Wunderkind’s latest financing described the company’s product as “creepy” from the perspective of users. And that is before the new investments in AI have borne fruit. No doubt, we have all experienced how finely-tuned some of the existing targeted advertising on the internet has become. Now we may not be far from the day when machine learning brings about a dramatic expansion in the available datasets for tailoring ads to specific users.
It is by no means inconceivable that the current conversion rate of 6.8 percent for targeted advertising could begin to look paltry in comparison to what digital marketing firms will be achieve in the future, when their strategic campaign design is amplified by AI-assisted data analysis. This will surely increase the creep factor for users, but only because targeted advertising will be showing them exactly what they want most of the time, wherever they go on the internet.
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