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Advertising Week Briefing: How AI is expected to dominate this year’s conference

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This year’s Advertising Week in New York may as well be called Artificial Intelligence Week as generative AI is expected to be a dominating theme for the more than 12,000 marketers, advertisers, media and tech professionals are expected to attend this year’s conference.

The 19th edition of Advertising Week is hosted in “The Penn District,” otherwise known as the neighborhood around New York City’s Penn Station, as well as online, making it a hybrid event — a post-pandemic trend for industry events. And undoubtedly, this year’s focus is the AI boom, according to attendees.

“In 2022 there was so much about the metaverse, but that pales in comparison to the impact AI is having across the advertising industry and that is obviously going to be very apparent at this year’s Advertising Week New York,” said Anna Bager, president and CEO of the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), in an email.

Consider it a continuation of the conversations that were taking place at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity back in June, where the industry was excited by new tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Bard by Google and the new AI-powered Bing. (Read Digiday’s 2023 artificial intelligence glossary here.

Months later, in time for Advertising Week, generative AI has continued to mature with marketers testing said tools to streamline processes and make people’s jobs easier, content creators using the new tech to make higher quality content for platforms and even AI showing up during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“Only a few months later, it feels a lot calmer and a lot more rational. People have been able to better wrap their head around what is AI, how is it potentially both a benefit to your existing [tools] and how you do business,” said David Anderson, partner and co-head of UTA’s entertainment and culture marketing practice.

Post-Cannes, the industry still seems to agree that generative AI is here to stay and will be as impactful as the world wide web.

“There’s no doubt. This is not just a blip,” said Jon Schulz, CMO of Viant Technology, a digital ad tech company. “There’s a lot of whiz bang things that you see, and a lot of neat tools to have fun with it. But the challenge is how do you make use of it in a way that’s application-based?”

This year’s attendees say they hope AI conversations will go beyond hypothetical use cases and fears of job replacement to tangible benefits including creativity and data processing.

“One of the points of Advertising Week has always been sharing, and people learning from each other in terms of what’s working and what’s not working,” said Nancy Hill, CEO at Marcus Thomas, a marketing communications agency. 

Measurement

Marketers have been on the hunt for better measurement tools since last year.  With data privacy crackdowns and increased scrutiny around marketing budgets, proving out the effectiveness of spend has been a point of contention in the industry. In response, some agencies have moved beyond core metrics to more effectively measure impact for brands. At this year’s Advertising Week, keep an eye out for panels and discussion around measurement, especially in the wake of AI.

Data

Privacy restrictions have been tightening, leaving the industry scrambling to juggle emerging state regulations and expand their consumer protection efforts globally. With Google’s third-party cookies expected to crumble in 2024, expect significant chatter about data privacy, and how data can be implemented to ensure the right ads get in front of the right consumers.

Creators and influencers

At this point, influencer marketing has become a mainstay in marketing budgets. (Here’s what’s in and out for influencer marketing in 2023.) As TikTok is a prominent player in the social media landscape and advertisers bank on authenticity to get in front of Gen Z shoppers, social media, the creator economy and influencer marketing will be a trending topic at this year’s Advertising Week.

Elsewhere from Advertising Week:

  • Omnicom Media Group is rolling out a series of partnerships and alliances over the course of this week, all under the banner of its Council for Accountability and Standards in Advertising (CASA), to help better understand and create accountability for its clients when they invest across those media channels.
  • Nearly two dozen AI-related talks are slated during Advertising Week New York 2023, which kicks off today and runs through Thursday. Here’s a breakdown of some panel discussions to watch out for.

Coming up

9:30 a.m. Brand mascots get social, The Creative Showcase 

10:10 a.m. Making AI work for your ads, The Tech Lab

11 a.m. How Web3 is enhancing digital marketing, Web3 Lounge

12 p.m. Improving the CTV experience, The Screening Room 

2:10 p.m. Measuring what matters: Unlocking incrementality for business outcomes, The Insights Arena

3:20 p.m. Inside the dreamhouse: A look at Barbie’s transformation from doll to cultural phenomenon, The Great Minds Stage

4:50 p.m. Why advertising must save TV, The Tech Lab 

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