BRUSSELS/LONDON: A majority of advertising industry decision-makers believe that artificial intelligence heralds the “next industrial revolution” but they are also concerned about relinquishing human control and what that means for gaining trustworthy insights.

Digital media platform Xaxis, in association with IAB Europe, surveyed more than 1,000 advertising industry decision makers across 31 markets, including advertisers, agencies, publishers and intermediaries for its Artificial Intelligence: myth vs. reality in the digital advertising world report.

This found that 80% agreed with the statement “AI will be the next industrial revolution” – and offered the potential to deliver instrumental change in the digital advertising industry, especially around effective targeting.

Better targeting was cited by 61% of agencies, 43% of publishers and 53% of intermediaries. Further, identifying better qualified users/audience was cited by 30% of advertisers, 55% of agencies, 40% of publishers and 42% of intermediary stakeholders.

At the same time, respondents were conscious of potential problems, the key ones highlighted being a loss of human control (47%) and the trustworthiness of insights gained through AI (55%).

They arrived at their views from a position of knowledge: almost 80% of respondents claimed to have a good understanding of AI.

Intermediaries were the most confident in their understanding with 91% somewhat or very confident; 80% of agencies said they felt confident in their understanding.

“The most powerful, and largely unfulfilled, potential of AI lies in the bigger picture, in its ability to optimise towards business outcomes rather than simple metrics,” said John Wittesaele, President EMEA, Xaxis.

Even if yet unfulfilled, this was something respondents had already taken on board. Nearly 50% of those surveyed felt AI improved productivity and increased competitive advantage.

From a marketing perspective, artificial intelligence is already starting to lose its novelty status within the industry.

“Emphasizing the AI in systems that make decisions from uncertainty in data will soon sound as unnecessary as saying ‘a wireless, electric, cellular telephone’,” noted Jacob Grabczewski, Director Product Management, Xaxis.

Sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by WARC staff