Industry Preview: AI And Privacy Will Come Together In 2021

Sheri Bachstein IBM Watson Advertising

Industry Preview is a special, limited-run audio series, featuring interviews with key leaders in marketing, media and technology who share their predictions and key priorities for 2021. This podcast is sponsored by IBM Watson Advertising.

Will 2021 be a pivotal year for AI? In the second episode of AdExchanger’s Industry Preview podcast series, IBM’s Sheri Bachstein outlines the huge stakes as the industry scrambles to retrofit its pipes for a privacy-centric world.

Bachstein is global head of IBM Watson Advertising, overseeing two media brands, The Weather Channel and Weather Underground, as well as a B2B data unit. Over the past several years, these properties have offered a sizeable test bed for the use of AI in digital advertising during a period when the industry’s traditional model is under threat from the loss of identifiers.

“We are looking down the road at the upheaval in the advertising industry,” she says. “We saw a great opportunity to first solve those problems for ourselves as a publisher. We’ve been creating AI-driven ad solutions and using them on our own platform to make sure they work, and now we’re expanding that out to the ecosystem.”

Bachstein praises the industry’s successful collaboration on unified IDs from The Trade Desk, LiveRamp and others, but warns they are only a partial solution. AI, she argues, can help cover the gap.

“I worry that we’re putting too much attention on replacing the cookie with all the alternatives,” she says. “Unified ID is still going to require consent. That’s why we need to evolve to a different technology that isn’t necessarily about replacing the cookie, but is an upgrade to how we engage with consumers.”

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