Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) has partnered with D-Wave Quantum to research and develop quantum-computing applications for campaign optimization, Marketing Dive can exclusively share. The news is indicative of growing industry interest in technology areas like quantum computing, a field that promises to solve complex, data-intensive problems — including those related to generative artificial intelligence (AI) — at a faster pace than classical computing methods can achieve.
The deal will combine the software provider’s Leap quantum cloud services with data drawn from IPG, which is running the program out of its emerging technology group. Together, the companies aim to help clients identify high-value audiences and deliver more tailored messages at the right time and in the right setting, resulting in improved personalization and performance. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“At IPG, we understand that every customer is unique, with very personal passions, behaviors and motivations,” said Philippe Krakowsky, CEO of IPG, in a statement. “By working with D-Wave and adopting quantum technology as part of our tech stack, we believe we can uncover an even greater collection of data-driven insights to deliver more relevant and effective marketing for our clients, at scale.”
Digesting the data
Taking a quantum-computing approach to campaign optimization is another example of how advertisers and agencies are thinking outside the box as they contend with the deprecation of identifiers that have been key for targeting ads, including third-party cookies. Google will begin phasing out cookies for a select number of Chrome users starting early next year.
As ad signal loss intensifies, marketers have focused on first-party data acquisition, but struggles persist in effectively managing and deploying troves of customer information. In the D-Wave announcement, quantum computing was positioned as a way to get more utility from a high volume of data.
“We’re excited to work with IPG to bring the power of quantum to advertising optimization, more efficiently harnessing a massive amount of data to create hyper-targeted campaigns that drive desired outcomes for brands,” said Alan Baratz, CEO of D-Wave, in a statement.
IPG has been piloting the D-Wave capabilities with a top 20 client, applying optimization equations to enhance marketing efforts in a retail environment. The agency declined to share specific outcomes from the experiment but said that the mathematical modeling used was broadly applicable outside of retail, with results that are “very promising and repeatable.”
The next wave
At the high level, quantum computers run on quantum bits, or qubits, to operate. Qubits can exist in a state, known as superposition, of one and zero simultaneously. That differs from classical computing, where bits exist in a binary state of either one or zero. The gist is that quantum computing’s processing power can solve problems that would take classical computers an impractical amount of time to figure out.
Quantum computing has been positioned as a stepping stone to lowering the enterprise costs of resource-intensive and pricey tech like generative AI, which has also been in the spotlight for agencies following the explosion in popularity of ChatGPT. WPP, an IPG rival, on Monday announced a deal with chipmaker Nvidia around a new content engine supported by generative AI that will help its creatives produce and scale advertising assets faster.
D-Wave formed a relationship with IPG in the first quarter of this year, according to an earnings statement. Other customers of the Canada-based firm include Unisys US and POLARISqb.
Founded in 1999, D-Wave bills itself as the first commercial supplier of quantum computers and the only company “building both annealing quantum computers and gate-model quantum computers.” The firm went public via a SPAC merger last year but has had a bumpy time on the public markets. It was warned by the New York Stock Exchange over a potential delisting in March, The Register reported.
For IPG, the partnership is another way to get a leg up on data and analytics know-how that has become essential for agencies. The ad-holding group in 2018 acquired the data-marketing unit Acxiom for $2.3 billion.
IPG saw net revenue down 2.3% year-over-year in Q1, hampered by weak demand from tech clients and restructurings at some digital specialist shops. The group’s media, healthcare and data-marketing offerings, including Acxiom, performed well over the period. IPG more recently was named lead creative partner for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, a major account win.