How data, AI and creativity can be the key to success

2018 has seen the inevitable rise in data protection, in turn this has had a pretty major effect on both marketing and advertising. Ads now have to position themselves so that they feel like a service and not like they’re imposing upon people’s privacy.

Try and find a platform or company that isn’t harvesting as much data as physically possible and you’ll struggle. The technology behind this collection process has also become incredibly intelligent. With this rise in tech intelligence comes the ability to push advertising and marketing to new exponential bounds, but it’s not all good news. The moral dilemma that in turn comes from that is not to be ignored.

There’s loads of different types of data being collected, for instance, in the world of Apps, there were fears that they were using their voice technology to secretly eavesdrop on their customers and sending that data to third parties so that they can target ads at your based on what you’d been speaking about. Scary, right?

Facebook has a lot to answer for for the mass amounts of data collected. Most shopping sites where you have to create an account to purchase items allow you to quickly and easily log in through Facebook. Allowing Faceook to gain information about where you shop, what you buy and then pass this on to third parties who can then push relevant ads through to your timeline. It’s incredibly clever, but is it right?

Before when companies would profile their consumer base they’d be able to put together a very basic outline of a potential person. Perhaps their age, location, job. Now, they can bring in things such as mindset, real behaviours, shopping history, mood, favourite emojis. The list is actually endless.

Bring AI into the equation too and you have an unstoppable machine. Robot brains are becoming increasingly sophisticated, meaning that they can use the data to replicate the human brains method of absorbing data, allowing companies to test their ads to create the ultimate, unignorable algorithm.

The marketing world knows that the competition to fight for consumers attention is becoming increasingly tough. There’s more platforms, people and competitors all fighting the same fight for user’s online attention. This means we all have to get creative.

So, let’s look at ways in which successful companies have got creative with data collection and AI to push themselves forward…

The Washington Post

The Washington Post have a data-powered AI reporter, Hellograf, in its first year it published 850 human-sounding articles covering a plethora of topics. It’s one of many journalistic bodies, others including the Associated Press and USA Today who are outsourcing their time-consuming and formulaic reporting work to AI, allowing their human staff to focus on the hard-hitting investigative stories.



It’s no surprise that Netflix has an incredible bank of viewer data. But, what many people don’t realize is that they’re using it to inform how they commission and cast certain shows.

HBO & Google

An innovative partnership between HBO and Google allowed Google Home owners who happened to watch HBO show Westworld to become fully immersed in the dystopian world via ‘Aedon’, a chatbot designed specifically to tease, mirror and allow users to participate in the action of the show.

The show’s writers helped to script the bot’s responses to the user’s questions and then in return those same questions have the writer’s data on how viewers were reaction to the show, consequently allowing them to shape plotlines accordingly.

This same chatbot has now won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media withing a Scripted Program… and rightly so!

Social Media

Here’s the big one. Obviously, there is a countless amount of ways that each of the platforms can use data, but perhaps the most creative way is through Dynamic Social Video (DSV).

A video ad format made up of both fixed and editable segments, they use consumer data to personalise the ad in the editable segments. For example, the first and last ‘fixed’ segments, may be of the brands logo/branding, this will be the same for everyone. The middle ‘editable’ segments may vary from person to person depending on their age, gender, income, location. It’s an incredible way of changing up advertising to increase the success rate of it, only showing people ads that will actually be of interest to them.

The trick with all of this is to ensure that your ads are making life more convenient for the user and not making them feel like they have 0 privacy.

Facebook specifically have pushed their data collection to new levels, now collecting emotion-based information. What’s that you ask? Well, they collect the speed and pressure in which you type to attempt to indicate your mood, meaning that Facebook can then automatically insert certain emotional elements into text, this has been a development from the very same technology that pulls love hearts over your screen when you type a love heart, or confetti when you say ‘congratulations’.

There were also rumours that Facebook would capture images of your face through your smartphone’s front camera in a bid to collect this same data.

But, just because they can collect this information, does that mean they should? How do you feel about the fact that these platforms can track your emotions and then point certain adverts to you? Though, obviously there are benefits to this that could potentially be lifesaving. If Facebook can pick up on behaviour from someone that might be feeling low and then show them adverts for the Samaritans etc. surely that’s worth the slight invasion in privacy? Can we pick and choose what we use this technology for?

This year the EU’s GDPR came into effect, meaning that there are definitely tighter protocols on data collection, with permissions and consent placed at the forefront of any data collection. So, moving forward creatives will need to ensure that they’re transparent with what they’re using the data for. After all, data collection can be completely mutually beneficial, but only with all parties being aware of what’s happening.

The right pairing of data and creativity will quite literally open up a world of possibilities, not to mention an unlimited amount of success to any brand, company and so forth. But with great power comes great responsibility, so stay transparent, collect consent first and data later and lastly, get creative and you’ll be on the path to greatness.