AI in digital marketing powers hidden advertisements

With AI in advertising and marketing, companies can provide potential customers with more personalized results, while also increasing engagement rates.

Due to the vast amounts of customer data to which advertisers and marketers have access, advertisements are more personalized than ever before.

By tracking location data, web histories and purchases, companies can identify the types of products a particular person may want and when they might want them.

As advertisements have become more personalized, they have also become harder to detect. With AI in digital marketing, marketers can make an advertisement into a game, interactive video or chatbot. The ads can be fun, intuitive and even feel like they aren't really ads at all.

Less obvious

Clicktivated, a 2013 startup headquartered in Detroit, can create interactive videos that, according to CEO Chris Roebuck, advertise products in a "helpful" way.

Working with a client, Clicktivated can identify the company's products in a video. Now, that process, powered by algorithms developed in-house, is semi-automatic, requiring some manual identifying, Roebuck said. He declined to elaborate on how the algorithms work, but said the company plans to make them run more autonomously in the future.

With Clicktivated, consumers can tap or scroll over a product in a video and receive information on that product to the side of the video, instead of dealing with ads permanently at the bottom of a video or having to watch a few seconds of a commercial before a video will play, as many companies that advertise on YouTube and other streaming services require.  

"Our entire lives are filled with interactive things," Roebuck said.

"Everything was becoming more of an experience and more and more interactive," except for videos, he continued.

For example, a consumer watching a workout video can hover over a shirt in the video, which would then bring up details about the product. That could include the brand, the price and a link to buy it.

The AI in digital marketing platform is still new, Roebuck said, but the platform has shown strong results in terms of user engagement.

As the ads are intended to be unobtrusive, he added, users feel as though this new interactive feature actually helps them, rather than simply trying to sell them a product.

"Consumers are more apt to explore when it's on their own terms," Roebuck said. "They are finding it a lot more helpful than an ad on an ad.", AI in digital marketing, chatbots
Companies like and Clicktivated use AI to create interactive -- and less obtrusive -- ads.

Conversational bots

Consumers are also less on guard about marketing bots; at least, that's the idea behind, which sells a platform for conversational AI marketing agents.

Consumers are more apt to explore when it's on their own terms.
Chris RoebuckCEO of Clicktivated

Founded in 2018, has about 1,700 chatbot publishers in its network, ranging from small developers to major corporations. While it does not create the bots itself, the platform draws on consumer data and marketing analytics to push out timely and relevant ads through the agents.

"Let us simplify monetization while you focus on the development," Ryan Begley, co-founder at, said of the consumer-vendor relationship

For example, works with a developer of a bot that offers Game of Thrones trivia questions over social media messaging, Begley said. The bot can ask users what they might want for a reward for answering so many questions correctly, and that answer can provide valuable marketing data that can later power advertisements.

"People are very receptive, believe it or not, to these very contextualized ads," Begley said.

To Begley and the team, their way of using AI in digital marketing to create interactive ads represents a better way to market products, both for the customer and the advertiser.

"We really hate ads, to a certain extent," he said. "That's why we work with brands to have them do better jobs and serve less ads, but ones that are higher quality."

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