Artificial intelligence predicted to transform digital advertising

Artificial intelligence predicted to transform digital advertising

Artificial intelligence is a useful tool for marketing. Within a decade AI will transform digital advertising but privacy concerns may impede progress. Four emerging technologies – AI for marketing, emotion AI, influence engineering, and generative AI – will have transformational impact on digital ads, according report Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising by marketing and research company Gartner.

“The accelerated fragmentation of digital media poses challenges to marketers in advertising, prompting them to assemble a roster of partners and technologies to optimize and grow advertising campaigns,” says Mike Froggatt, Gartner Senior Director Analyst.

“In particular, the use of AI is expanding into targeting, measurement, identity resolution, and consent and preference management, and even in some advanced cases, generating creative content with generative AI tools.”

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“Attention and investment dollars are also moving toward other emerging channels and technologies such as retail media networks, data clean rooms, promotional NFTs and over-the-top TV advertising.”

“The power of AI in marketing is clear as deepfakes, chatbots and metaverse avatars show their ability to synthesize lifelike experiences. Likewise, the suppression of personal data for marketing alongside the rise of AI to assess contextual response anonymously is altering the data foundations of advertising and content marketing.”

The report says there are three specific implementations of the technology that marketers are starting to use in novel ways – emotion AI, influence engineering and generative AI.


Emotion AI technologies – also called affective computing – use AI techniques to analyze the emotional state of a user via computer vision, audio/voice input, sensors and/or software logic. It can initiate responses by performing specific, personalized actions to fit the mood of the customer. Emotion AI is considered transformational because it turns human behavioural attributes into data that has significant impact on all aspects of digital communication.

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“It is not enough to deliver relevant and personalized messaging through ads via walled gardens, so CMOs are leaning on emotion AI to find and target consumers and business buyers at scale,” Froggatt says.

“However, privacy concerns, bias and variation across modalities are the core obstacles to adoption among advertisers, which is why it may take another 10 years to become established.”


Emotion AI is part of the larger trend of influence engineering, or the production of algorithms designed to automate elements of digital experience that guide user choices by learning and applying techniques of behavioral science.

As established personalization techniques wane under privacy restrictions, new data sources and ML capabilities are enabling new systems of influence. Breakthroughs in areas such as emotion detection, content generation and edge computing are automating influential aspects of communication, for better or worse.

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Organizations need influence engineering as a new form of governance to oversee research and deployment of AI programs focused on affecting behaviour at scale. Gartner anticipates the practice to become mainstream in five to ten years.


Generative AI learns from existing artifacts to generate new, realistic artifacts such as video, narrative, speech, synthetic data and product designs. It is expected to reach mainstream adoption in digital advertising in the next two to five years.

In the face of third-party data deprecation, generative AI can help to identify the core characteristics of customers and target them with custom content in a privacy-compliant way. It can also be used to train media buying models to avoid risky content like misinformation and deepfakes, Gartner says.


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