AI-to-AI communication improves advertising performance and media-buying efficiencies

By | 5 minute read | July 11, 2017

Key Points:
– Each day, Rocket Fuel Inc. evaluates over 200 billion opportunities to determine when and where to place an ad on behalf of its brand clients
– Using AI, Rocket Fuel automated the process of placing ads in milliseconds and tweaking campaigns on the fly empowering marketers to make quick decisions
– Rocket Fuel’s predictive marketing platform uses Watson to align ads to page-level context in real time, protecting brands from displaying ads on pages with negative stories about the brand or its celebrity spokespeople.

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Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ: FUEL) is a predictive marketing software company that uses artificial intelligence to empower agencies and marketers to anticipate people’s need for products and services. Rocket Fuel was founded in March 2008 with a vision of transforming the digital advertising industry through the use of big data and artificial intelligence. (Note: Sizmek, an advertising technology company owned by private-equity firm Vector Capital, has just announced plans to acquire Rocket Fuel.)

Most interactions between consumers and brands are now digital in nature. Every 60 seconds, there are millions of engagements generated and millions of moments for brands to connect with consumers. Brands are leveraging this data to create highly personalized customer experiences that are making a positive impact in the lives of consumers.

More and more, these customer experiences are becoming predictive. Predictive marketing enables brand marketers to leverage the power of AI to evaluate the potential of every marketing moment in advance so that brands can deliver amazing experiences that get real results. For instance, an automaker wants to display a car ad to a consumer on a news publisher site. Our AI can use the features we know about the consumer to determine the likelihood that she will respond to an ad presented in that moment on that page. But what happens when that page is an article about the recall of one of the brand’s models? That could lead to a very awkward situation. Watson Discovery News helps us protect our clients from these scenarios.

Control brand safety at the page level

In this era of concurrent news cycles, negative news can erupt out of nowhere. It’s getting harder and harder for brands to ensure brand safety on news sites. You could blacklist the publisher, but that could lead to negative repercussions. For example, blacklisting the Washington Post or USA Today to prevent your ads from appearing on a page with a negative news story could also result in blocking your ads from being seen on a page with a positive news story about your brand.

That’s all about to change. By integrating AI-to-AI communication between Rocket Fuel and IBM Watson, our Predictive Marketing Platform scores the sentiment of breaking news headlines and responds accordingly, reducing the risk that brands will appear on the same page as a negative news article. Using Watson, our brand marketers can now efficiently assess the positive or negative sentiment impact for a brand across news sites, and control — at the page level — where their ads are shown.

How AI-to-AI communication works in advertising

A marketer inputs brand names, product names and celebrity names that the brand has identified as important to their campaign. Every five minutes, Rocket Fuel queries the Discovery News service, instructing it to find articles with these names.

Meanwhile, Discovery News consumes more than 200,000 news articles each day from multiple sources and, using Watson natural language understanding techniques, analyzes the sentiment of those stories (i.e., on a scale of +100% positive to -100% negative).

Upon receiving the query request from Rocket Fuel, Discovery News returns the latest articles that contain the brand, product and celebrity names along with the publisher source and the sentiment score. The results are then displayed on a user-friendly dashboard within the Rocket Fuel platform, where brand marketers can view the results and choose keywords accordingly, giving both marketers and clients peace of mind

Consider a brand that has a well-known celebrity endorser – for example, Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady. Showing ads for its products alongside articles that mention Tom Brady in a positive light can amplify the connection and provide additional product exposure. Watson Discovery News analysis of one article, “What young people can learn from Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Win,” results in a high sentiment score and activates a positive keyword phrase “Super Bowl Win” in the Rocket Fuel platform. The Rocket Fuel AI can now use this positive keyword in its scoring algorithms.

Conversely, another story in which Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, talks about his history of concussions may not be a suitable place to show the brand’s ad due to the ongoing controversies around football player safety. This article would receive a negative sentiment score and trigger negative keywords (“Concussion, “Football Player Safety”) in the Rocket Fuel Platform. The brand manager would be able to specify how the Rocket Fuel AI would treat bid opportunities with these negative keywords in the web page URL, including ignoring the keyword, blacklisting the URL, or pausing the entire campaign.

AI-to-AI is the future of advertising

The Discovery News AI is embedded within our platform such that the Discovery News outputs now serve as input signals to the Rocket Fuel AI. We connected two intelligent AI services directly through API-based service calls.

While no single AI technique can meet every need, the Discovery News AI was developed to find and interpret millions of articles each week to determine sentiment; Rocket Fuel’s AI was developed for the specific task of transforming millions of customer data points into predictive marketing intelligence. Watson makes it possible for us and other advertising agencies to further leverage AI without having to build complex new data sets, infrastructure and processes.

Our collaboration with IBM Watson creates significant opportunities for brands to gain a competitive advantage through better performance, improved brand safety, and deeper intelligence. At Rocket Fuel, we believe that AI will impact every part of marketing moving forward. Read more about Rocket Fuel’s collaboration with IBM Watson here.

(Note: Sizmek, an advertising technology company owned by private-equity firm Vector Capital, has just announced plans to acquire Rocket Fuel.)

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