October 27, 2017

IAB Engage: Machine Learning

The IAB’s annual Engage conference didn’t fail to deliver on great content or inspiration. Account Director, Alastair Kidner, has looked to summarise his key takeouts from the day. Part two looks at Machine Learning. Given its position as one of the ‘go to’ terms for 2017 so far, it’s no surprise that Machine Learning was a focus among the speakers at the event this year. There was plenty of positive thinking around the topic, particularly from Kawal Gandhi who spoke about how Google combined their data initiative with how machine learning was allowing them to leverage all of this data in making iterative improvements to their UX. Calle Sjoenell from Facebook (‘Live in the Moment, Design for the Future’) spoke about how the best creative campaigns were the ones that embraced the journey that customers would go on, using machine learning to supplement the ‘game for attention’ in the social feed.

Pleasingly though this was no Machine Learning salesmanship conference; there was also a balance of warnings and experiential learnings. David Walsh from the Times (‘The Future of News’) began his talk into journalistic instinct and the search for the truth with a brilliantly choreographed stunt, where a ‘fake news’ evangelist Ken Fawes (Anagram = Fake News!) spoke about using Machine Learning to engineer headlines and stories to capture attention using real-time context. Matevz Klanjsek from Celtra divulged his own experience with machine learning, using what he called ‘Creative Intelligence’ to see if insight could be drawn into Human Attraction ahead of the Cannes Lions events. Whilst not a total failure, Celtra’s experiment concluded that there is still a way to go for Machine Learning to be able to ascertain everything that may define Human decision making in creative processes.Finally it was left to Dan Hagen & Rick Hirst from Carat (‘People based marketing – a new model’) to touch on their thoughts that the media industry itself had ‘lost its mojo’ Weighed down by the new era of data, results and faster, harder campaign targeting, Agencies were losing the joy that comes with truly excellent creative work and needed to renew the media purpose. The way to do this was to focus on the people that make it all happen.Read part three.Alastair Kidner, Account Director

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