Watson Ads is Turning the Tables on Cognitive Learning in Advertising

By: Staff | Sep 12 2016

It’s pretty obvious advertising is reaching the next level – AI, VR, AR, and countless other acronyms, showcase advertising capabilities nobody ever thought possible. Enter The Weather Company and Watson Ads. Watson Ads doesn’t just answer a posed question, it learns and adapts answers based on a number of factors, to deliver a personal experience. ExchangeWire speak with Jeremy Steinberg (pictured below), global head of sales, The Weather Company, an IBM Business, about the practical use cases of Watson Ads in the real world.

ExchangeWire: The Weather Company announced Watson Ads earlier this year, which sounds like a sci-fi level advertising capability – how does it work?

Jeremy Steinberg: Watson Ads create a new engagement paradigm between brands and consumers. It cracks the code of how to reach a massive audience and have a personalised, one-to-one conversation with each consumer. To do this, Watson Ads take the core elements of Watson’s functionality by training on a particular subject matter – in this instance, our beta partners’ body of content – and sparking conversation with The Weather Channel app and weather.com visitors. When Watson asks a user to “name any dish, ingredient, or occasion”, it is prompting a natural language engagement, reasons through possible responses, and offers thoughtful, personalised suggestions that drive deeper brand engagement.

Whether they’re used for food, consumer health, auto, retail brands – and beyond – Watson Ads will help marketers make the most of their moments with consumers, uncover consumer and product insights faster than ever before, and illuminate previously dark data. For consumers, it will be an intuitive experience that provides powerful utility within a trusted environment.

What sort of potential use cases could there be for a marketer?

Watson’s capacity to learn, develop expertise, and interact naturally make the use cases as broad as a marketer can imagine. In the CPG food category, Watson Ads can generate brand new recipes using core ingredients, and feed emerging food trends back to marketers. In the consumer health space, Watson Ads may help individuals make better choices for their common cold and flu treatments, help prevent and manage pain, and cope with allergy season – all occasions where weather plays a major role.

Looking at current Watson clients, like Macy’s and The North Face, the retail application could act like a personal shopper that makes smarter and more tailored recommendations. In the auto category, in particular, the use case could span vehicle selection and customisation to learning about staying safe on the road in difficult conditions. The way we think about it when approaching our marketing partners is: “What consumer challenge has been difficult to solve, even with research and focus groups?” Since each Watson Ad instance will be a personal dialogue, Watson Ads outputs and insights can act like focus groups, getting to the core of user-brand interactions, informing product strategies, and even expanding into creative strategies.

Take, for example, a consumer asking by voice interaction: “What can I make for dinner tonight?” Based on its machine learning and reasoning ability from the data is has ingested, Watson can sort through ingredient and flavor profiles to make smart recommendations based on the user’s input, like what kind of ingredients they have on hand, preferred cuisines, and the occasion hand – all surfaced via dynamics ads. Furthermore, Watson’s ability to process and create context from large amounts of unstructured data will help marketers provide consumers with meaningful, true brand and product engagement. In this example, creating recipes on the fly with ingredients consumers already have and like to use from trusted brands.

But you can extend this machine learning capability to almost any category. Watson can learn about any product – whether it’s dosage information for an over-the-counter medicine, creature comforts of a new automobile on the market, the flavours available for a certain ice cream treat, and beyond.

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Full interview available at http://bit.ly/2cct57C

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