European advertising trends: AI adoption set to boom as brands look to get personal


European brands are turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) as they battle to make sense of their data and deliver more relevant, personalised customer experiences, while staying on the right side of GDPR.


Adobe research shows businesses are currently struggling to make sense of their data and that is holding them back from being able to create personalised advertising, marketing and customer experiences. Although 89% of businesses see personalisation as important for success, only 31% are currently delivering the level of personalisation they deem necessary.

One clear reason for this issue is that brands are drowning in data. The research found 56% of respondents are unable to process data quickly enough, while 51% are struggling to collate, structure and integrate data effectively. GDPR also adds another layer of complexity to brands’ personalisation strategies. Nearly half (49%) of respondents said the EU’s new data protection regulation had further slowed them down.

However, the research, based on interviews with 600 European senior business decision-makers, reveals brands are turning to AI to address their data management and personalisation issues.

• 87% of businesses are already either planning (28%), testing (35%) or rolling out (24%) AI
• 88% of businesses expect to be using AI for increased personalisation by 2020

Bridget Perry, Vice President of Marketing, Adobe EMEA, said: “Brands face a constant battle to stay relevant in the eyes of their customers. They need to be able to serve up more personalised advertising, marketing and customer experiences, but doing so when unable to process business and customer data effectively makes it almost impossible.

Customer expectation has never been higher. They want brands to deliver experiences that are as personal as they are creative. The investment we’re seeing in AI, alongside a GDPR-focused data foundation and governance footprint, shows companies appreciate this sense of urgency and are pushing to differentiate themselves from the competition.”

The research, to be published in an Adobe report entitled Context Is Everything, also revealed a focus on hiring and training as businesses gear up for AI.

• 70% of brands are training existing staff to make better use of AI for personalisation
• 69% are hiring new skilled staff
• Focus areas for hiring include IT (58%), data analytics (50%), customer service (48%), ethics (48%), advertising (45%), change management (36%) and marketing (36%)

Perry said: “The rush to AI over the next two years will spark fierce competition for skills and create exciting new roles. Businesses are recognising that in order to make the best use of AI they need more than just IT. They need broad skills, from analytics to ethics, and the right culture and understanding within the business to unlock the power of AI and deliver true personalisation.”


Adobe commissioned research company Coleman Parkes to interview 600 senior business decision-makers, comprising 100 respondents from each of the following European countries/regions: Benelux, France, Germany, the Nordics, Switzerland and the UK. The interviews took place between 21 August and 12 September 2018.

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