Publicis Groupe is making a bet on artificial intelligence as a tool to help marketers better navigate a changing digital landscape.

Publicis.Sapient, a division of ad holding company Publicis Groupe focused on digital technologies, has taken a minority stake in AI company Lucid. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

With the Lucid investment, Publicis.Sapient will also launch a new AI practice that will leverage tools that help aggregate data, look for trends within the data and identify causal information behind those trends to help ultimately improve clients’ marketing strategies.

“Through our partnership with Lucid, we can deploy transformational solutions to uniquely enable our clients to analyze and glean insights from data to gain a competitive advantage,” said Alan Herrick, chief executive of Publicis.Sapient in a statement.

The rise of new digital platforms has provided brands with a plethora of data about their campaigns and customers. However, it remains a daunting task for many marketers to draw connections across different data sources and use that information to improve the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. To better serve their clients, big ad holding companies have been ramping up their investments in the areas of data and technology.

“We believe that artificial intelligence is going to be a transformative technology both on the marketing industry as well as the other industries that Publicis.Sapient is focused on,” said Josh Sutton, the global head of Publicis.Sapient’s AI practice.

Lucid’s Cyc platform has been designed over the past 30 years to analyze vast data sets and reason like a human, meaning it can provide answers to why decisions are made and not just identify correlations within the data.

Among the AI practice’s focus areas will be applying causal reasoning AI technologies to marketers’ media buying decisions, Mr. Sutton said. Publicis.Sapient can, for example, determine from various data sets the granular details about what types of people have started to purchase products from a given brand in the past three years. It will then tap Lucid’s Cyc platform for insight into the reasons why those customers starting choosing that brand. As a result, the marketer can then use those insights to tweak the creative in its ads to better address those purchase decision triggers and optimize the placement of those messages, Mr. Sutton said. The partnership with Publicis.Sapient marks the first time Lucid will be developing marketing-specific products.

Publicis.Sapient’s new AI practice also aims to deepen the use of AI technologies to tackle business challenges within the financial services, health care and energy sectors, industries that Lucid has previously worked with. Lucid CEO Michael Stewart said the company initially began working with Publicis.Sapient because of the group’s client relationships in those sectors as well as its marketing services expertise.

Lucid’s past work includes creating a compliance investigation application that helped a global bank avoid potential regulatory penalties and building an application for a global oil company that increased yields on its deep-water platforms.

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