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AI will boost the efficiency of Ads Monetization: Peng Xu, Cheetah Mobile.

07-March-2018
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AI will boost the efficiency of Ads Monetization: Peng Xu, Cheetah Mobile.

Cheetah Mobile, a mobile Internet technology driven company headquartered in Beijing, began its operation in India at the end of 2013. Since then, India is one of their largest markets in terms of installations and active users. Currently, the company has 5.89 billion monthly active users.

AI and Big data are two major targets for Cheetah Mobile, and they have embedded Artificial technologies (AI) in most of their utility applications, to redefine its products in better ways.

In a conversation with e4m, Peng Xu, General Manager, Cheetah Mobile, spoke about mobile advertising and plans for the Indian market in 2018.

Excerpts:

What are some of the key challenges in mobile advertising?

In 2017, people had spent over 50 per cent of their time on mobile devices, which successfully drove global attention to the development of mobile ads. To seize the momentum, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat started publishing short vertical video ads. Cheetah Mobile, the third biggest app development company whose five apps have a total of 6 billion monthly active users (MAU) also joined this trend last year.

For advertisers, it is a huge challenge to create a "painless" experience for users. It would more likely have negative impacts on a brand if the ads interrupt or disturb users' actions on mobile devices. Therefore, ads like pop-up ads and prestitial ads have been blocked by Google. Finding creative ways to advertise without interrupting the users is a tough challenge for mobile advertising. How to push the ads to the right users is another challenge. This is where the application of AI+ big data + LBS comes in. If advertisers can accurately predict the daily needs of their users and turn ads into useful daily life information or discount notifications, the experience of mobile advertising would be upgraded.

Digital advertising is a crowded place. How can a brand effectively use the mobile advertising space to stand out from the competition?

Lack of multiple choices in the past led many brands to spend a lot of money on TV advertising to stay in touch with the consumers. However, in the digital age, apps play a larger role in reaching out to different user attributes. Through personalization, consumers using the same app will see ads for different products based on their likes and preferences. Brands are making targeted advertising strategies by making use of big data and technical analysis.

In terms of the global market, doing short vertical video ads have become the latest trend. For instance, Snapchat has already been doing vertical video ads, Facebook and Instagram have added the "Stories" function and Google even announced that they won't support ads with more than 30 seconds countdown in 2018. It shows that vertical video ads fit user behaviour better, and it could be much more effective if the ads can be combined creatively with utility apps. Among all kinds of vertical video ads, native vertical video ads are most impactful. Hence, brands looking to advertise on mobiles should make use of the vertical format.

Why is CM focusing a lot on AI? Could you share a few points on how Artificial Intelligence marketing will look in the near future?

AI is going to bring about revolutionary changes to traditional industries because it makes each investment more effective and precisely quantified. Developing AI will not only help upgrade our apps but also boost the efficiency of ads monetization. By keeping a track of a user's behaviour on our apps, we can tell the tag attributes of each user and push personalized ads, which helps improve marketing precision.

Our strategy is to leverage the valuable anonymous data we get every day from our millions of app users to power and quickly scale as a global mobile content company. Content discovery is on the verge of a new revolution. Forces like deep learning, big data, cloud computing and user-generated content have combined to create the perfect storm for smarter content discovery. AI will power an entirely new discovery channel for content. It's going to change everything. That's why we built Live.me, our live video broadcasting app. Our new mission is to make the world smarter.

With so many players entering this space, how do you differentiate yourself?

Cheetah Mobile's biggest differentiator is that we have billions of overseas users spread over Asia, Europe and the US. Secondly, our products are diverse and our user demographic is young. What's more, content and AI are what Cheetah Mobile insists working on, especially because the content is based on AI technique (Artificial intelligence and deep learning.) Therefore, we also applied AI into our business. For instance, using AI to strengthen the targeting ability for mobile ads. This has resulted in effective improvement in the eCPM of our result page, raised our mobile ad revenues in comparison to last year and attracted more customers to our services. Application of face recognition technology to Live.me has successfully reduced labour costs and boosted work efficiency.

How is the market right now? What are your marketing plans for the near future?

Cheetah Mobile has 5.89 billion monthly active users (MAU) and 75.4 per cent of them are from the overseas markets, mostly in Europe or the US. Our mobile applications include the optimization tool Clean Master, personalized wallpapers tool CM Launcher and the phone security tool Security Master, etc. Among all of them, CM Launcher has been ranked No.1 in personalization category on Google Play in over 94 countries. With two years of development, we have been digging into the trend of "light games 2.0" which is aimed at good content and Intellectual Property (IP.) We want to reach 1 billion monthly active users around the world.

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