Ad-Tech Company AppNexus Just Launched a Machine Learning-Enabled Ad-Buying Tool

It's the latest firm to infuse AI

AppNexus is the latest ad-tech company to add machine learning to its software. Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

AppNexus is adding machine learning to its ad-buying software, making the company the newest in a series of ad-tech firms to add artificial intelligence to its platform.

Today, the company is debuting what it says is the first programmable demand side platform, which could help media buyers manage and customize their campaigns. The AppNexus Programmable Platform (APP)—which launches after three years of research involving more than 200 buy-side engineers, data scientists and developers—will be ready for 2018 campaigns.

So far, those that have tested APP in beta say they’ve seen promising results. For example, WPP-owned Greenhouse Group used the platform and were able to decrease trade times by 73 percent while receiving 13 percent better performance than when buyers did them manually. (According to a Business Insider report, OMD and Xaxis have also been testing the technology.)

AppNexus is also changing how it targets, using Facebook-type phrases like “people-based targeting” to describe cross-device targeting beyond cookies. It will also charge based on views rather than impressions with a “viewable only” mode and allow automatic bidding through a price optimizer.

“The next generation of DSPs should leverage machine learning to more efficiently manage an ever-larger number of campaign variables, minimize manual intervention, and deliver superior optimization tied to marketer KPIs,” AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley said in a statement. “With APP, the world’s first and only programmable DSP, traders can spend less time on setup and delivery and more time strategizing on the intuitive, creative aspects of advertising that change a person’s perception of a brand.”

AppNexus isn’t the only company adding machine learning to its media-buying offerings. Several others in recent months have also debuted their own services with artificial intelligence. This summer Sizmek cited Rocket Fuel’s AI-powered platform as one reason for acquiring the company.

In September, IBM officially unveiled its Watson Advertising platform, which uses AI for everything from content creation to localized buying optimization. Xaxis is also building its own internal platform that uses AI for retargeting, audience segmentation and supply optimization.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.