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The AI revolution is coming for advertising: Top takeaways from Web Summit Qatar 

Robotic machinery coming out of a laptop screen types on the keyboard.

Illustration by Nick DeSantis / Shutterstock / The Current

More than 14,000 people attended the inaugural Web Summit Qatar, which marked the largest-ever gathering of startups in the Middle East.

The event, which was held between Feb. 26 and Feb. 29 in Doha, highlighted the region’s digital transformation and marked Qatar’s commitment to a tech future. The country has pledged to invest $5.7 billion by 2026 in 15 different technology areas, including artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

From social media to MarTech, the region’s leaders shared their thoughts on how technology is changing the future of advertising. Here’s what some marketers are already noticing that could have an impact globally.

AI = efficient marketing

Generative AI can react to our prompts in real time. It also can make marketing more personalized than ever before.

“When it comes to customers and marketing specifically, I believe marketing and advertising for the end-consumer is going to be less boring and less forced,” The Bold Group CEO Abeer Alessa said at the event.

Programmatic ads use large swaths of past data to tailor ads, but AI can learn what a person wants to know. Instead of just being served an ad for cheap airfare based on search history, the AI-enabled ad could show the lowest-cost dates to travel, potential places the traveler may want to stay based on budget and the best time to travel based on the weather.

“With AI, agencies and marketers will be able to create customized content on a larger scale based on the persona,” Alessa said.

AI leaves no excuses for no measurement

AI can get rid of uncertainties and differences in measurement techniques and could help create one universal and impartial standard. Generative AI technology can look across platforms and analyze larger groups of data than ever before.

It can also find patterns that human marketers may not have noticed and, through its deductive reasoning capabilities, advise on whether campaigns are effective. “Where creative excellence meets AI, impact happens,” said Anna Gong, the CEO of Perx Technologies. “Marketing has to be measured. There’s no room for vanity metrics anymore.”

Don’t forget about Web3

Web3 and blockchain’s appeal may be fading as we head further into the “crypto winter” and NFTs lose luster, although some cryptocurrencies have seen a recent surge.

“If regulation happened earlier with Web3, we would have seen more advancement of Web3,” said Dan Gardner, CEO of Code and Theory. “We would have skipped some of the problems we saw that [have] given some companies cold feet.”

However, that doesn’t mean that Web3 isn’t useful in an AI future. Gardner pointed out that some of the problems we are seeing with verification about AI — including deepfake images — could be answered by Web3 technologies. AI can become the backbone for Web3 to grow, he said.

“Web3, specifically the blockchain, is literally the solution to some of the problems we are seeing with AI,” he added.

Human creativity is here to stay, but AI is here to help 

While there are concerns that AI may supersede human creativity, we haven’t yet reached that day. For now, it’s helping many creators make more appealing content so they can focus on new ideas.

Travel influencer Eric Struk uses AI tools to create content faster than ever without losing his authenticity. About half of his YouTube videos are just voice narration. Companies like ElevenLabs let him replicate his voice perfectly, so if he has to work with an editor, he doesn’t have to record his track. Likewise, Spotter Labs helps create thumbnails without him having to sketch with stick figures and send his notes to a graphic designer. ChatGPT has also helped him create more informative videos. 

“Sometimes if I’m traveling to a quick location and I need to do some research, I’ll type into Chat GPT to ask, ‘What do I need to know about this location? What are the most important things? What are the cool things I need to see?’ and compile that all into a video,” Stuk said.