IBM offers an open-source toolkit to identify and mitigate bias in ad tech
June 20, 2022
CANNES, France, June 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, leading companies are committed to improving the fairness of marketing campaigns. The initiative, announced at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, has brought together agencies, brands and other leaders to raise awareness and take action to mitigate bias in advertising technology. Committed organizations include IBM (NYSE: IBM), Delta Airlines, WPP, Mindshare, 4A’s, IAB and Ad Council.
The action is IBM’s most recent effort to drive education and awareness about the impact of bias in ad tech. In 2021, the company launched a research initiative to explore the hypothesis that bias may exist in advertising technology, which early results confirmed. Research has also shown that it is possible to mitigate bias in advertising technology by using AI tools and resources in marketing processes. Greater industry engagement and data collection is needed to better understand the potential impact of bias on these campaigns, but several industry leaders are showing early activism by raising awareness and taking action via IBM’s Advertising Equity Pledge.
“While the risk of bias in advertising is well known, by making this pledge, these organizations are among the first in the industry to take action,” said Bob Lord, IBM’s senior vice president for The Weather Company and Alliances. “Together, we agree to educate ourselves and our companies and ask other industry leaders to join us in helping to reduce bias in advertising.”
As part of this effort, IBM also announced the release of its free advertising toolkit for AI Fairness 360, an open-source solution deploying 75 fairness metrics and 13 industry-leading algorithms to help identify and mitigate bias in discrete data sets. A playbook and sample code are also provided for ease of use. Organizations using the toolkit can better understand the presence and impact of bias on their advertising campaigns, as well as the composition of their audience.
“Used correctly, data can help brands personalize consumer engagement and identify the most relevant touchpoints. However, we know that biases can exist in algorithms or technology, and that’s why we help our customers assess how and when to use data in a meaningful way that will benefit the customer experience,” said Mark as read, CEO of WPP. “Through WPP’s GroupM, we’ve developed the Data Ethics Compass to help clients navigate the challenges of using datasets, while IBM’s new Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360 will help us better Understand the potential impact of bias Consumers rightly expect brands to use their information fairly and for the industry to collectively address data bias, which can ultimately lead to increased engagement and business results.
Biases are often unintended, the result of assumptions and human judgments encoded in algorithms that can lead to unfair targeting, exclusion of certain groups and failed marketing campaigns. Organizations taking the pledge can contribute data to ongoing studies that seek to better explain the impact of bias. According to Salesforce’s 2022 State of Connected Customers Survey, nearly 62% of consumers surveyed said they were concerned about AI biases, up from just 54% two years earlier, underscoring the imperative for brands and agencies to better understand its impacts.
“As technology and the prevalence of data accelerate, the risk of bias in advertising increases. It is our duty to address this problem head on,” said Adam Gerhart, Global CEO of Mindshare. “We believe the industry needs to take clear and intentional action, which is why we are committed to leveraging the Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360.”
As the advertising industry continues to grapple with issues around privacy and transparency, many organizations believe that addressing bias in ad technology could be a key next area of focus for specialists. marketing. Almost $1 trillion was spent on digital advertising globally in 2021, much of which goes through programmatic engines that segment and target specific audiences, sometimes missing out on large consumer groups in the process. With consumers’ growing demand for transparency in how their data is used, marketers need to look for new ways to stay effective. Leveraging other sources of privacy data, such as weather data, can be an effective predictor of behavior that could also help rebuild trust with consumers.
“As a global brand, we know that every decision we make, whether it’s a supplier, an employee or an advertising campaign, is a reflection of our values and the change we want. see the world,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s Chief Marketing Officer of the brand. “We have long focused on inclusive representation in our campaign creation, this effort allows us to go further to bring more inclusive representation to our campaign delivery.”
To download the Advertising Toolkit for AI Fairness 360 and associated playbook, to take the Advertising Fairness Pledge, and to learn more about how advertising bias can negatively impact businesses and consumers, visit the microsite IBM Bias in Advertising.
Learn more about IBM Watson Advertising solutions and services here.
Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intentions are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.
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