IBM Announces Three New Ad Tools to Help Marketers Move Beyond Cookies


IBM is adding three new tools to its spate of ad product releases this year as it continues to build out a suite of AI-powered targeting offerings that don’t rely on cookies or trackers.

The tech giant said it would be adding a host of new capabilities to its advertising suite around ad attribution, video and over-the-top (OTT) creative and audience prediction. The company also announced plans to build out a partner ecosystem that will span ad tech companies like AT&T’s Xandr, Magnite, Nielsen, MediaMath, LiveRamp and Beeswax.

The new features each fit with IBM’s goal of providing an AI-powered alternative to conventional cookie and tracker targeting as big platforms like Apple and Google gradually phase out support for such identifiers.

“The advertising industry is going through a big upheaval—not only with global economic and societal crisis–but then a lot of the consumer privacy regulations that are happening,” said Sheri Bachstein, global head of Watson Advertising and the Weather Company. “It’s really the time for a new era of advertising. And we believe that that era is AI.”

IBM is expanding on its Advertising Accelerator, a tool IBM debuted in January that uses AI to predict which creative content will perform best, to now encompass video and OTT formats. The company is also launching a new attribution solution–in beta form sometime in the coming months–and a predictive audiences tool meant to help marketers identify audience segments based on shared behaviors rather than identifiers.

The announcement comes after IBM announced last month that it would partner with Nielsen to add more targeting options to its existing weather condition-based ads tool. IBM has been steadily building out a digital ads firm since buying the Weather Company in 2015 and rebranding it as Watson Advertising.

IBM also announced this week that it is working towards a partner ecosystem that would bring together existing collaborators, such as Meidamath and Nielsen, as well as new partners like AT&T’s Xandr and Magnite, with which IBM is currently negotiating definitive agreements.

“You think about sort of the conditions that led AI to become prevalent in finance, for example, like what needed to be true—the the idea that markets get big enough, that automation is available enough,” said MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki. “I think you’re seeing the same conditions for AI in advertising, where it’s gone from sort of experimental and on the side to mission critical for people to figure this out.”


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