Condé Nast Has Started Using IBM’s Watson to Find Influencers for Brands

Partnering with Influential to use AI for recruitment

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Condé Nast is now tapping into Watson, IBM's super computer, to help build and strategize social influencer campaigns for brands.

Through a new partnership announced today with IBM and the influencer platform Influential, brands advertising with the media company's properties—publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker—will be able to use big data to better know which social media celebrities might make for a good match for any given campaign.

Using software built by IBM and Influential, Condé Nast's clients will be able to know which influencer's demographics, personality traits and more best align with a marketer and the audience it's targeting.

"Within the dating sense of the word, we are matching people based on different data points," said Influential CEO Ryan Detert. "We're a matchmaker—just with multiple points of vetting."

For example, if a brand wants to find somebody who's adventurous, Watson—which can analyze the last 20,000 words and emojis an influencer has published—helps weed out those that are more prone to doing vlogs from their couch. If a brand wants to pitch an action film, they might input key words like "action" and "explosion" to see which influencers have used them the most. Once the data analysis is complete, Watson then picks out five, 10 or a few dozen candidates for humans to choose from. (A competitive analysis by Watson also looks at whether an influencer is already pitching products for related brands or if a person has ever been arrested.)

It all comes down to better understanding the consumer experience, said Stephen Gold, vp of IBM Watson. Every reader has countless options for where to consume content. Watson considers 52 unique attributes for each person: Are they open-minded? Are they dutiful? Are they outgoing? The more Watson knows about an individual, the more it can help brands know what will resonate.

Until recently, computers were unable to reason deductively like humans by inferring truths based on a series of other facts, Gold said. While computers like Watson have made large strides in deductive and inductive reasoning, Watson can now begin to add abductive reasoning by making suggestions for an answer based on already available facts.

"The way I think about it, and maybe this is too simplistic, but you used to only have so many levers you could pull," Gold said. "Some of those are foundational, others about style, and the techniques that are employed, but you quickly run out of things that you can change. This starts to open up some new levers that people can pull and say 'Oh, we can take the personalization of content based on the reader, aligned to the influencers.' It's creating markets of one."

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: September 6, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT