AI and the ‘attention economy’: how technology can be leveraged to promote a sustainable future

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solo1 July 2023Last Update : 3 months ago
AI and the ‘attention economy’: how technology can be leveraged to promote a sustainable future

While the advertising industry is eagerly adopting AI, understanding the sustainability implications is an important aspect that should not be overlooked.

From creating realistic virtual images and providing deep insights into writing copy and campaign ideas, the advertising industry is undergoing a significant transformation powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI).

It is hardly surprising why.

According to Forbes, top performing companies are more than twice as likely to use AI for marketing.

What’s more, according to Bloomberg Intelligence Research, the AI-assisted digital advertising business is expected to attract $192 billion (€175,62 billion) annually by 2032.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company says the impact of generative AI on productivity could add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy – “and the era is just beginning”.

Meanwhile, consultancy giant Accenture announced a €2.7 billion investment in AI, doubling its talent pool from 40,000 to 80,000.

With technology becoming increasingly popular, we are witnessing the dawn of an era that holds tremendous potential for advertising.

Yet, as the industry moves quickly to explore how AI can improve the overall performance and effectiveness of advertising campaigns, the global CEO of Dentsu – one of the world’s largest marketing and advertising agency networks Peter Huijboom says advertisers should look ahead to analyzing how to drive more sustainable practices and understanding “what this will mean for human beings”.

We’re at the stage where most advertisers are researching the best applications for the technology, says Huijboom, and evaluating how to make their processes more efficient, “but if we take it a step further, So it will definitely have an impact on stability”.

meditation is the new sustainable currency

The advertising industry plays a key role in driving society towards a net-zero future, he told Euronews Next at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and the new currency is the “attention economy”.

By prioritizing attention, advertisers can determine which means of communication have the greatest impact, thus optimizing resources, evolving with a changing landscape where “4,000 advertising messages are delivered to us daily across multiple platforms”. See you” as well as align with the needs of the planet.

According to research by Dentsu Aegis Network, only a third of advertisements receive the full attention of the audience. Whenever people can skip ads, “they often do. And when they can’t quit, they often look the other way,’ said a recent report from the company.

It states, “The explosion in digital content, new forms of advertising and the technology at our fingertips has created both the motive and the means for people to cut advertising out of their lives.”

Advertising centered around the attention economy means you don’t spend energy on any communication that doesn’t belong in [an effective] effect, which literally makes a big difference for Energy because you can make ads smaller, more targeted and more relevant at the same time,” Huijboom told EuronewsNext.

The new world is a challenge for advertisers, he said, adding that “advertisement that is not seen is waste” and from a sustainability perspective, it is also a waste of resources.

Simple elements such as online video length or file size can be manipulated and changed to improve both the attention metric and the carbon footprint.

Huijboom says it’s also important to choose marketplace and media owners who have set net-zero, science-based goals and are committed to continuous improvement. He said agencies should give priority to marketplace and media owners who have set themselves net-zero science-based goals.

“Of course, as a business we have our own emissions targets, but this is only a small thing we can do. The multiplier for our business is really what we can do with our customers to help change that behavior,” he said.

The third dimension of sustainability strategy is the “how”, which focuses on balancing carbon footprint with business objectives. Again, focus plays a key role in finding the right balance, and AI can help.

Dentsu’s CEO says that historically, the focus of the advertising industry has been “selling more stuff”, but “in a world where resources are limited, you need to take a different approach”.

Huijboom states that the advertising industry can drive change by influencing the way people think, feel and act, and that by taking advantage of this “superpower” advertisers can drive positive change.

“Just think about getting people into electric cars, into plant-based food, into less packaging products, into green banking, into green pensions… If we’re able to make it interesting and irresistible to people, we’ve got a can move the needle as an industry,” he noted.

And “if you make the link, it’s pretty clear that with generative AI we can make a huge societal impact” that is “far broader than sustainability”.

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