Adobe announces capabilities for personalised in-car ads

Brands will be able to use in-car app data to deliver personalised ads to drivers while they're en route.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Adobe has announced the addition of new "automotive-focused" analytics, personalisation, and advertising capabilities on its Experience Cloud platform.

Supported by Adobe's artificial intelligence framework, Sensei, the new capabilities are aimed at enabling brands to deliver personalised advertisements to drivers and passengers by leveraging the trove of data being generated by connected vehicles via on-board voice capabilities and infotainment applications.

The company expects the capabilities to become increasingly relevant as the data generated from vehicles scales along with autonomous vehicles. Intel has previously predicted that autonomous vehicles will generate about 4TB of data from cameras, LIDAR, RADAR, and other sensors for every 90 minutes of operation.

"In the automotive industry, in-car digital services are opening up new revenue sources and pushing brands to become true experience businesses," Amit Ahuja, vice president of Emerging Businesses at Adobe Experience Cloud, said in a statement.

Using the new capabilities, which were unveiled on Monday, Adobe said a recommendation service could deliver a fast food restaurant ad based on location data and known preferences. Drivers can also enjoy customised news and playlists without having to take their hands off the steering wheel, the company claims.

Additionally, Adobe's enhanced platform will help place audio ads for digital radio and streaming music applications. After an ad is played, advertisers can target users again across a variety of channels, such as video or search, to drive message recall and conversions.

The idea of being exposed to personalised ads in private vehicles, however, may not be welcomed by every connected vehicle user; some estimates indicate that consumers have gone from being exposed to 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today, with very few being relevant.

Founder and CEO of Australian-listed artificial intelligence company OpenDNA Jay Shah previously told ZDNet that targeted ads are often based on wrong assumptions drawn from people's online movements, often leading to "stalkerish" ads.

However, as more devices are connected to the internet, exposure to more ads seems inevitable. Shah said the next step is to give consumers visibility over their data -- and the overall picture it paints about them -- as well as control over their online experiences.

The trust element is crucial, he told ZDNet, because if businesses have explicit informed consent to use the consumer's data for personalisation purposes, that means greater engagement, retention, and ROI in marketing for the business.

"With consumer expectations at an all-time high, content has to be informed with data insights to satisfy individual preferences. As car rides transform into immersive, personalised digital experiences, Adobe gives brands the tools to be exceptional no matter where they engage the customer," Ahuja said.

Adobe admitted to Bloomberg that privacy is an issue, but said "consumer trust and transparency serve as guiding principles in developing new products and offering new services."

ZDNet reached out to Adobe for further comment on data privacy and was directed to its privacy policy page.

10 of the largest automakers worldwide are already using Experience Cloud, according to Adobe, though it didn't mention any names.

Towards the end of last year, Adobe announced the acquisition of video advertising company TubeMogul for $540 million, as part of its push into the marketing tech sector with a marketing "cloud" of its own.

The company launched Experience Cloud earlier this year, combining parts of its marketing, analytics, and content tools with the aim of broadening its footprint for more roles and functions of an enterprise. Adobe is competing against the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce, which all have suites focused on customer experience.

The company has also been expanding its marketing services beyond traditional mediums, announcing in June the addition of voice analytics to its cloud platform, designed to help brands personalise customer experiences.

In theory, the software -- which analyses voice-activated searches through AI assistant platforms including Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Home -- would enable businesses to better understand how people think and reason, and ultimately drive brand loyalty through personalised digital interactions.

Adobe is not the first to consider personalised in-car ads powered by artificial intelligence; General Motors' OnStar Go uses IBM's Watson for personalised ads.

IBM's machine-learning technology helps GM's system learn a driver's tastes, habits, and decision-making processes over time, and make suggestions about places to eat and shop based on the information.

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